Government announcements are a ‘huge leap’ forward for Ireland’s biodiversity.
Recent announcements on enhanced protections for Ireland’s biodiversity by my Green Party colleague within the Department of Heritage, Minister Malcolm Noonan are significant and simply wouldn’t have happened without Greens in Government.
Many people will have noticed a sharp decline in our insects, our wildflowers and our wildlife over the last few decades. That is biodiversity loss and many of our precious native species of plants and animals are impacted; some under immediate threat of extinction. This is a matter of great urgency and we need to act both locally and globally to reverse the trends.
My colleague, Minister Malcolm Noonan, addressed the Cop15 summit in Montreal this week confirming Ireland’s support of negotiations towards a new set of global biodiversity goals to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. Back in Ireland, both he and the Government have acted on this commitment with significant announcements this week, including:
• The National Biodiversity Data Centre is to be restructured as a Company Limited by Guarantee, replacing the previous structure of a contract for services and thereby securing its future.
• The National Biodiversity Action Plan is to be placed on a statutory footing with stronger biodiversity responsibilities for public bodies.
• Newly protected marine sites and Government approval of the General Scheme of the Marine Protected Areas Bill.
Our ambition is that marine protected areas will account for 30% of our maritime area by 2030, and thanks to recent progress, we are on track to reach 10% by the middle of next year.
I am very proud to part of a Government stepping up to the mark on this issue. But remember, every single one of us can play a role in increasing our knowledge and data on species, reversing biodiversity decline and restoring lost habitat. And we can get great enjoyment from it too! If you have some downtime over Christmas I encourage you to take a look at the many resources and suggestions for taking action available on the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s website at https://biodiversityireland.ie/.