The Green Party in government is driving unprecedented supports to address the biodiversity crisis in Ireland. These include significant funding and restructuring of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS); establishment of a Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity; and ambitious programmes for nature-friendly farming, afforestation and the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
The Green Party is working to reverse declines in habitat richness, increase biodiversity and support systemic changes to bring about long-term sustainability for future generations. In government we are working hard to achieve real impact in our work, particularly through the leadership of Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) plays a key role in the protection of Ireland’s biodiversity, working to secure the conservation of ecosystems, flora and fauna in Ireland. Green Party Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD has launched a Strategic Action Plan for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which sets out an ambitious timeline for a full organisational restructuring of the NPWS, and a substantial €55m additional investment in the organisation across three budgetary cycles, together with the early recruitment of 60 key staff for critically important roles.
We have a real opportunity now to bring all of society together to address the biodiversity emergency. The recovery of nature is as important for our future as climate action.
- Minister Malcolm Noonan
Farming with nature
Ireland is in a unique position to provide high quality, sustainable produce for ourselves and the rest of the world. If we focus on quality, ethics and reducing carbon emissions we can carve out new market shares and protect farmers and their families. We have put a renewed focus on biodiversity on the farm, and last year a large number of on farm biodiversity projects were funded, bringing farmers and communities together. Organic farming is also critical to the sustainability and future of farming in Ireland and can lead to higher revenue for farmers who are increasingly under pressure.
Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity
As part of the Programme for Government, the Green Party secured a commitment to hold a Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity, which began its work in April 2022. The Assembly will enable a national conversation on nature and biodiversity, its role in our lives, our landscapes and our economy, and support the development of the new National Biodiversity Action Plan, which is due to be published later in 2022 by Green Party Minister Malcolm Noonan TD.
The Assembly will look at the threats presented by biodiversity loss and the opportunities to reverse this loss; the main drivers of biodiversity loss, their impacts and the opportunity of addressing these drivers; and opportunities to improve the State's response to the challenge of biodiversity loss.
The first assembly was convened in April 2022 to examine how the State can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss, and to bring forward proposals in that regard. You can watch the stream of the inaugural meeting here.
Protecting native species
The Green Party is working to conserve our native and naturalised species and their natural habitats. In 2021, Green Party Ministers Pippa Hackett and Malcolm Noonan combined their respective Department resources to expand funding for the Curlew Conservation Programme and recruit an extra 30 contractors to work on preservation. In Ireland, the curlew is among our native species under critical threat of extinction, with a 97% decline of breeding curlew seen since the 1980s. By raising awareness of what is happening in our natural environment and taking the right actions, these trends can be reversed. The Curlew Conservation Programme tackles its decline by working collaboratively with farmers and communities to enhance the habitat and temporarily fence nests off from predators, among other actions.
Secure significant increase in funding for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in addition to new action plan and review.
Establish the Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity, along the lines of the Assembly on Climate Change.
Increase budget and support for nature-friendly farming and increase the level of organic farming from 2% to 7% of Irish farmland.
Develop a new National Biodiversity Action Plan, in line with EU and global ambitions for nature.
Increase the number of county Biodiversity Officers and work with Local Authorities to embed biodiversity in their work.
Ensure that Ireland benefits from a well-resourced National Biodiversity Data Centre.
Develop a new National Invasive Species Management Plan to tackle important conservation challenges.
Roll out European Innovation Partnership projects to deliver for nature across the country.
The health and wellbeing of the biosphere is integral to, and deeply interwoven with, human health and wellbeing. We wish to see Ireland blossom as a country with healthy soils, water and air, supporting a much richer bird, animal, plant and insect life.
To reach our climate targets, we need the highest standards of protection and development for Ireland’s forests as they have a significant role in creating a sustainable green economy in Ireland.