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  • Writer's pictureNCI Team

NCI call for the natural capital approach to Budget 2024 to account for nature

Natural Capital Ireland (NCI) has issued a pre-Budget submission to all relevant Government departments recommending that the natural capital accounting approach be used to ensure that Ireland’s natural resources and the valuable services they provide are taken into account.

white text on teal background, some leaves and flower illustrations at frame, text reads: "We need to get nature on the balance sheet"

NCI believes - and the science shows - that the natural capital method is vital to ensure a joined-up, integrated approach to environmental and economic decision-making across the various sectors.

We are a not-for-profit organisation made up of ecologists, natural scientists and economists, as well as various concerned groups and members of the public, leading the call for natural capital accounting methods to be integrated into Irish policy since 2014.

NCI’s Chair Fiona Ross stated: “There is a need for all Government departments to work together and invest in nature-based solutions to jointly tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity issues.

“Accounting for the nation’s natural assets and the ecosystem services they provide will have a huge impact on our health, our industry, our tourism. Ireland's economy relies to a great extent on our natural capital assets and we have an international reputation for our natural beauty and rich heritage.

Our businesses and our health are dependent on good water and air quality, on insects for pollination - we need to consider how these things interact and the natural capital accounting method will ensure these are built into all of our economic decisions.

“We need to get nature on the balance sheet urgently to ensure a sustainable economy and future.”

Natural Capital Ireland has given a briefing in Leinster House to raise awareness of the need for Ireland to accelerate the natural capital approach by investing in expertise in this area and coordinating data among the growing number of projects and initiatives already applying the framework to create accounts at various scales.

In the submission, Natural Capital Ireland recommends to the Government the following priorities for investment in Budget 2024:

  1. Invest in actions that support national assessments of ecosystem services and natural capital – including a network of experts in natural capital and ecosystem accounting for the island of Ireland, to ensure, in collaboration between relevant bodies, that appropriate guidance is provided to key sectors. It is vital to invest in Ireland’s nature data infrastructure to support this work.

  2. Develop central guidance through the Public Spending Code on valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services - building on the natural capital approach as piloted in Ireland by the EPA-funded INCASE project and as currently being developed for our National Accounts by the CSO’s Ecosystem Accounting Division.

  3. Support the work of Ireland’s recently established Business for Biodiversity Ireland Platform (BFBI) which will help the private sector transform to nature positive.

Read the full NCI Pre-Budget 2024 submission HERE.

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