The sold-out two-day conference attracted over 500 delegates and 4,500 live streamers to Dublin Castle on February 20th and 21st, 2019 to discuss the future of biodiversity in Ireland. It featured a diverse selection of 89 speakers, from academic experts to farmers, business people and community conservationists, and covered three key themes of 'Engagement: Learning form Conservation Success', 'Planning for the Future' and 'Investing in Nature'.
The report includes videos, synopses and stats from speakers including President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, who famously quoted: “If we were coalminers, we would be up to our knees in dead canaries.”
The conference charter ‘Seeds for Nature’ includes a suite of commitments from 14 Government Departments, state agencies, businesses and NGOs to take action and support the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021.
Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe, Head of Science and Biodiversity at the NPWS, said: “Our first National Biodiversity Conference brought together people from all walks of life and energised and encouraged every one of us. President Michael D. Higgins’ inspirational words powerfully affirmed the need for protection and restoration, and the huge range of contributions from the podium, the floor and online urged us all, in our wide-ranging roles and lives, to do more and to do better, for nature and natural capital.”
Professor Jane Stout, Director of the IFNC and Professor in Botany at Trinity College Dublin, said: “Despite widespread concern about the current state of nature and the insufficient resources available to protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystems in Ireland, the first National Biodiversity Conference was filled with a sense of optimism.
"It showed that different sectors are in fact pulling in the same direction, demanding the transformative changes – the paradigm shifts – that we need in order to ensure nature is the first consideration, not the last, in our decision-making. And it demonstrated that we are further down this road than we might think: people do care. They are willing to conserve nature. People do value biodiversity.”
The conference report is available to download at www.biodiversityconference.ie