Nature and healthy ecosystems are the best “defence” against the impacts of climate change, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan has said.

In response to the recently published report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlining climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, Minister Noonan stated:

“Nature is our first and best line of defence against the catastrophic effects of climate change.”

The report, which is the second working group contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, stated “increasingly severe, interconnected and often irreversible” impacts of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity and human society.

Being fundamental to climate-resilient development, Minister Noonan said, the report highlighted the restoration of degraded ecosystems and safeguarding of biodiversity.

“We, as a species, rely on nature for our survival, but in the context of climate change this reliance is even more obvious, according to Minister Noonan.

“It’s imperative that we invest in the protection, conservation and restoration of ecosystems and in the communities that own, manage and treasure them.”

Healthy ecosystems are a key pillar of climate-resilient development, particularly because of their function to store and sequester carbon, the minister said.

Resilience to extreme weather events like floods and droughts can be improved through healthy ecosystems which also underpin food and water security, he added.

Strasbourg Declaration

A declaration was recently signed by ministers of EU member states to attest to the political commitment of addressing the biodiversity emergency. Minister Noonan commented:

“The ambition is high and the challenge is steep. It is our job to ensure that we bring people with us on this journey to restore nature, stabilise the climate and protect people.”

Minister Noonan attended the Natura 2000 ministerial conference in Strasbourg to mark 30 years of the protected area network under two directives of nature legislation on birds and habitats.

The Strasbourg Declaration sets out an overview of the shared positions and reaffirms the EU’s ambition to fight against pressures negatively impacting habitats and species.

Minister Noonan concluded that the adopted declaration reaffirms the shared commitment to realise the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and its goals for the protection and restoration of nature across member states.