Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD launched ‘Actions For Nature’ – Ireland’s new National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin on January 25th, 2024.
Biodiversity is fundamental to societal wellbeing and economic development, and its decline – both globally and in Ireland – poses serious threats to people. This collaborative plan sets out how Ireland will reverse these declines up to 2030.
Speaking at the launch of the 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan, Minister Noonan said: “Nature is in trouble, but I believe that it can recover. In my time as Minister, I have visited projects and initiatives the length and breadth of the country; walked fields, hillsides, bogs, rivers, urban parks, community gardens, coastlines and hedgerows. I have met the most extraordinary people bringing passion, expertise and dedication to bear on the protection and restoration of habitats and wildlife. What they need more than anything is to be empowered to keep going, and do more.
I was determined that this National Biodiversity Action Plan would be an ‘impact plan’ and, combined with the people power I’ve encountered on my travels, the new statutory footing for the NBAP and the €3.15bn Climate and Nature Fund, I believe that it will be.
Taking an ‘all-of-Government, all-of-society’ approach, the NBAP aims to meet urgent conservation and restoration objectives across Ireland’s terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems and secure nature’s contributions to people, while enhancing the evidence base for action and strengthening Ireland’s efforts on international initiatives.
Underpinned by an unprecedented focus on accountability, resourcing and implementation, its 194 actions include commitments to:
• expand and enhance our network of National Parks,
• further strengthen action on wildlife crime,
• deliver on obligations to conserve our most precious habitats and species,
• strategically target efforts on invasive species,
• develop a national Nature Restoration Plan,
• increase collaboration on nature-friendly farming,
• review nature governance across the State, and
• explore the ways in which the rights of nature can be formally recognised.
This is Ireland’s fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan and the first to be published on a Statutory basis, under the Wildlife Amendment Act 2023. The legislation also requires selected public service bodies to integrate biodiversity into their plans, policies and programmes, and report to the Minister on progress.
The development of the National Biodiversity Action Plan has been led by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS ) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in collaboration with key stakeholders including Natural Capital Ireland and KPMG Ireland who consulted key stakeholders such as the National Biodiversity Forum and carried out a public consultation. NCI also facilitated the Government's National Biodiversity Conference in 2022 to discuss actions needed for nature and gather feedback on draft recommendations.
A collaborative approach is vital given the multi-faceted, multi-sectoral nature of the threats and pressures on the natural world: research has shown that agriculture, forestry, invasive species, resource extraction and development are having significant impacts on biodiversity in Ireland. Many of these issues were addressed in the landmark report by the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss.
Dr Deirdre Lynn, Assistant Director, Science Advice and Research, National Parks and Wildlife Service, who also sits on NCI's steering committee, led the development of the plan, and said:
“This Plan will provide us with the focus we need to step up action to conserve and restore biodiversity and contribute to our national, regional and global targets. Millions of years of evolution are at stake.”
Read the NBAP here: Ireland’s 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan 2023–2030