Noonan welcomes independent review of biodiversity plan

Minister of State for heritage and electoral reform, Malcolm Noonan, has welcomed the publication of a new independent review of Ireland’s third National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021.

The review was conducted by the Biodiversity Forum – a group of biodiversity experts from across academia, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), public and private sectors.

Its role is to provide independent monitoring of progress of the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan, highlighting progress and bottlenecks, and providing progress reports to the minister.

Reflecting on the group’s findings regarding Ireland’s efforts over the 2017-2021 plan period, Minister Noonan said:

“This report offers an extensive and in-depth analysis of Ireland’s progress in implementing our capstone biodiversity policy from some of Ireland’s leading ecologists and biodiversity experts.

Its findings, while stark, outline the scale of the ambition and the strategic approach that is needed to deliver on our shared goals for nature.

“As my team in the National Parks and Wildlife Service [NPWS] works to develop the successor plan for 2022-2026, I pledge to consider the report’s findings carefully to ensure that the next National Biodiversity Action Plan is one that delivers real impact.”

Workshop

The report is an outcome of a workshop that the group undertook in late 2020, which was funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage as part of the 2019 ‘Seeds for Nature’ initiative in order to provide independent advice to government.

Minister Noonan committed to more than doubling funding to the Biodiversity Forum from €10,000 per annum to €25,000 per annum in order to further support its work.

Minister Noonan said: “Expert-led analysis and oversight is an important element of effective policy development.

“By supporting the Biodiversity Forum to continue and expand its work through this increased funding, I hope that my department will continue to benefit from its valuable insights.”

National Biodiversity Action Plan

The aim of the plan is “that biodiversity and ecosystems in Ireland are conserved and restored, delivering benefits essential for all sectors of society and that Ireland contributes to efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the EU and globally”.

Many of the targeted actions in the plan also contribute towards Ireland’s obligations under EU environmental directives.