May 4, 2022

Conference to address the biodiversity challenge in Ireland

The National Biodiversity Conference 2022 is critical for Ireland’s public consultation on the new National Biodiversity Action Plan. It offers a platform for diverse groups to collaborate and explore the challenges, solutions and creative ways to work together more effectively.

Biodiversity loss is an important issue impacting our natural world, societies and our economies. We are dependent on nature for our survival and our defence against climate change, but we have witnessed many irreversible changes worldwide. Ireland’s upcoming biodiversity plan will explore critical solutions to reverse these losses, encouraging protection and conservation for everyone from local authorities and businesses to the farming and forestry industries. 

With a climate and biodiversity emergency announced in the Dail back in 2019, we continue to lose biodiversity at an alarming rate. Many protected habitats in Ireland have deteriorated to poor condition, and 14% of examined species are considered endangered. The continued loss of biodiversity represents a significant threat to our environmental and natural heritage, our economy, society, health and quality of our life.

In response to the biodiversity emergency and to achieve its obligations within the global agreements on sustainability and conservation, Ireland is currently working on a new National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP). The first version of the plan will be available to the public in a few months, and the National Biodiversity Conference 2022 forms a critical part of the consultation process.

The conference will examine several objectives within the NBAP,  including: 

  • Creating a collaborative government and society-focused approach
  • Focusing on critical conservation goals
  • Securing nature and its contribution to our communities
  • Combining the relationship between biodiversity and climate action
  • Enhancing evidence-based action
  • Improving available partnerships between people and the planet

A series of follow up sessions will then explore how various parts of society and economic activities can work with the NBAP and other initiatives. Attendees will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the actions needed to achieve biodiversity goals.

The discussions on the state of nature in Ireland will start in June. Heritage Minister Malcolm Noonan explains that biodiversity loss represents a critical challenge, simply stating that humans are dependent on nature for survival. There have been mounting concerns over the management of Ireland’s native forests, rivers, lakes and peatlands, which are all vulnerable to rising pollution, over-grazing, pesticides and other processes. Many native bird species face significant threats, and bee populations have declined significantly.

Mr Noonan explained that the conference would support the progression of a new national biodiversity action plan. Noonan informed that the strategy would explore urgent solutions that could reverse and restore the losses and protect the species of Ireland.

Ecosystems manage the climate, and our water, produce oxygen and pollinate our crops. Our world, including Ireland, has witnessed irreversible changes, and nature represents one of the best lines of defence against climate change.

The Minister hopes that the conference will enable participation from farmers, foresters, scientists, community groups and the general public. Announcements for the upcoming conference came simultaneously with the launch of the Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss.