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2nd October 2019 | Biodiversity, Environment, Press Releases

Biodiversity Data Centre needs long term funding security – Greens

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The Green Party is calling on the Government to secure the long term funding needs of the agency charged with mapping the status of Ireland’s biodiversity. The future of the National Biodiversity Data Centre based in Waterford, is in doubt due to lack of clarity around the renewal of staff contracts for 2020.

Green Party Spokesperson for Community Development and Local Government, Cllr Malcolm Noonan said:

“In light of our National Parliament declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency, we are calling on the Government and the Heritage Council to immediately secure the short term contracts of staff at the centre and to put in place a long term funding strategy to ensure that the vital tracking and recording of our flora and fauna can be used to inform public policy.”

Cllr Noonan said that the centre appeared to be working hand-to-mouth, with persistent doubt over it’s ongoing funding by the State at a time when information on biodiversity was vital to how the state responds to the crisis it now officially recognises as being an emergency.

“It is simply unacceptable in our view that the staff at the centre have three months left in their contracts with no certainty as to whether they can continue their vital work into 2020. At a time when Greta Thunberg is calling on global governments to follow the science on climate change and biodiversity loss; the very scientific agency who are providing us with vital evidence and leading citizen science movements across the country is itself threatened with extinction.”

He said that tracking the winners and losers in a changing climate, tracking and monitoring invasive species and general trends in flora and fauna distribution across the Island of Ireland are essential components of spatial planning, in informing policy and resourcing State agencies how to manage change.

Cllr Noonan said that the crisis was reflective of a wider indifference by the current Government towards nature, seen in the underfunding of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and that it needed to be addressed with a significant ramping up of resources to protect our deteriorating habitats.

“It is our understanding that The Heritage Council who are responsible for supporting the Biodiversity Data Centre; remain fully committed to its future but must stress to Minister Madigan that the practice of tendering short-term contracts for staff must end. The uncertainty around the future of the centre must end and in fact should have its funding increased significantly. Leo Varadkar cannot decry the inaction of other world leaders when it comes to the biodiversity crisis and then do nothing to put out the fire in his own backyard.”