Green Party claim WWF Report is a call to action
The Green Party has today claimed that Ireland can halt and reverse a global trend in biodiversity loss but that it must be led by central and local government.
Speaking following the release of a World Wildlife Fund report highlighting staggering loss of vertebrates over the past forty years, Green Party Spokesperson for Rural, Community Affairs, and Local Government, Cllr Malcolm Noonan said that Ireland should take a lead in halting species loss by significantly ramping up habitat protection, minimising river and watercourse pollution, and by resourcing every local authority in the State to implement ambitious biodiversity plans through a dedicated biodiversity officer for each County.
“While the WWF Report is shocking, it is hardly surprising to those who work in conservation. It is our view that Ireland could drive an ambitious programme of habitat restoration and protection by resourcing State agencies but, in particular, local authorities to enable communities to take collective and collaborative action through movements such as Tidy Towns.”
Cllr Noonan also said that farm organisations need to step up and see the damage that intensive farming is having on our habitats. “It doesn’t need to be this way if sustainable farming practices are adopted and the heritage bill scrapped. In light of this report, we believe that the Heritage Bill should not be implemented given the threat to birds in particular.”
“While we wait for a global compact for biodiversity, similar in scale to the Paris Climate Agreement, there is much that we can do at home. Government and local authorities need to tap in to the deep interest that exists towards wildlife in Ireland, and to empower communities to take action.
“It will require significant additional resources to be directed towards local government, national parks and wildlife services, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, and to the Heritage Council if we are to ensure that we have a targeted action plan to reverse biodiversity loss. Not to do so would be grossly irresponsible given the economic and social value provided through ecosystem services, but also the need to provide safe spaces for wildlife to flourish in our towns, cities, countryside, and coastal areas. It is our view that action needs to be taken immediately via the establishment of a high-level working group and ringfencing of resources to implement plans. We have a short window of time to act, but act we must.”
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