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Displaying items by tag: biodiversity

Young people with an interest in biodiversity loss in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments have been invited to apply to join Ireland’s first national children and young people’s assembly dedicated to the issue.

The new Children and Young People’s Assembly aims to inform the national Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss which is sitting this year.

A total of 35 children and young people will be selected randomly across Ireland as assembly members, with applications to join closing on September 18th.

However, all young people aged up to 17 years are invited to submit their views and ideas on biodiversity loss on sea and land throughout the month of September on a new website cyp-biodiversity.ie

The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss comprises 99 randomly-selected adult members of the public, who are aged 18 and over, and an independent chairperson.

It has been tasked by the Oireachtas with examining how the State can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss.

It believes children and young people also have the right to have their say, as biodiversity loss poses a significant threat to children’s right to a healthy, safe environment.

The Children and Young People’s Assembly is being designed by an intergenerational group, comprising a young advisory team and an independent research consortium.

The young advisory team involves nine children and young people from across Ireland, aged between eight and 16 years.

The research consortium includes experts in children’s participation, deliberative democracy, and biodiversity from Dublin City University *(DCU), University College Cork (UCC), and “terre des homes”, an international organisation with a focus on children’s environmental rights.

Elsie (8), a young advisor from Co Tipperary has said she believes it is “important that children and young people like us can have our say because we don’t usually get to be involved in things that adults do and we have lots of interesting things to say.”

Amhairghin (15), a young advisor from Co Donegal and Co Down said that “diversity is the key to this process”.

“If we don’t have ideas coming from every aspect of life, we’ll be stuck with a rigid, one sided argument. It’s also really important that young people deliver these arguments as we are the future. It’s time that we saw the action that is needed,” she has said.

Dr Diarmuid Torney, research consortium lead and an associate professor at DCU’s School of Law and Government, said that Ireland has “developed a strong reputation over the past decade in the inclusion of the voices of the adult population in policymaking through citizens’ assemblies”.

“Through this project, we aim to build on this reputation by creating a robust process to include the voices of children and young people in decision-making on the critical topic of biodiversity loss,”he said.

Katie Reid, research consortium member and children’s environmental rights and participation officer with “terre des homes”, said she has supported children’s participation in Scotland’s Climate Assembly, which was the first citizens’ assembly to involve under 16-year-olds directly.

“I experienced how deliberative democratic processes can be enriched by taking an intergenerational approach that includes our youngest citizens’ views and ideas,” Reid said.

Dr Clodagh Harris, research consortium member and senior lecturer in UCC’s Department of Government and Politics, quoted a native American proverb – “ we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”.

“Decisions made (or not made) on biodiversity loss today will have irreversible consequences for children and young people. It is essential that their views are heard,” Harris noted.

Applications to become an assembly member can be submitted online here

The closing date for applications is Sunday, September 18th. Those randomly selected will need to be available to attend two assembly meetings, on October 7th to 9th in Glencree, Co Wicklow, and on October 21st to 23rd in Killarney, Co Kerry.

An open submissions portal has been created for other children and young people to contribute to the assembly, which will remain open until September 30th.

Submissions can be written, artwork, video clips or photographs, and a short explanatory film is on this link

Published in Marine Wildlife

Sailors, rowers, fishers, anglers and other marine users have been urged to participate in a public consultation for the fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP).

Submissions to the consultation at www.gov.ie/biodiversityplan should be lodged before November 9th, 2022.

The consultation is run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), a division of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

It follows a period of engagement with stakeholder groups, including government departments, agencies, businesses, and representatives of the Biodiversity Forum.

The National Biodiversity Conference, held in June of this year, also forms part of the consultation. At the event, a wide audience engaged in discussions on Ireland’s response to biodiversity loss, conservation and protection, according to the Department of Housing.

The draft objectives of the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) are to:

  • adopt a whole of Government, whole of society approach to biodiversity
  • meet urgent conservation and restoration needs
  • secure nature’s contribution to people
  • embed biodiversity at the heart of climate action
  • enhance the evidence base for action on biodiversity
  • strengthen Ireland’s contribution to international biodiversity

The draft NBAP is described as setting out a vision for an Ireland in 2050 “in which biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored, and sustainably used maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people”.

“The draft plan is informed by an extensive review of national, European, and international policies, strategies, legislation and science,” the Department of Housing states.

“ The NBAP will be Ireland’s main mechanism for engagement with ongoing policy developments at regional and global level including opportunities such as a new Global Biodiversity Framework, on the EU Biodiversity Strategy and Nature Restoration Law,” it states.

The final version of the Plan will be published in early 2023, to allow the recommendations of the ongoing Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss to be considered.

Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan said that the public consultation had been initiated “against a backdrop of unprecedented challenges for nature in Ireland and globally”.

“How we collectively and collaboratively address these challenges will define not just our ability to halt biodiversity loss, but how we as a species will survive and thrive into the future,” he said.

“We have a lot of positives to draw from and inspire us. The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss and the parallel Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss will help to inform us on the way forward, through new ideas, new ways of doing things and new ways of collaborating towards the conservation and restoration of nature in Ireland,” he said.

“The renewal of the National Parks and Wildlife Service through my action plan will strengthen our collective ability towards ensuring that the next NBAP is an all-of-government and all-of-society response to this great challenge. The recent second National Biodiversity Conference, which included a stirring address by An Taoiseach, inspired all in attendance towards this great collective action,” he said.

Noonan urged the public to have their say, stating that it was “ really important that the next National Biodiversity Action Plan be in itself a living document”.

“Yes, it must be actionable and impactful, but it must also reflect the different voices that will inform its content. I urge members of the public to have their say and engage with this public consultation,” Noonan said.

The draft Fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan can be found at www.gov.ie/biodiversityplan where members of the public can also make their submission to the public consultation.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Fishers, scientists and environmental activists have been urged to participate in the Government’s national biodiversity conference in Dublin in June.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan said the event at Dublin Castle from June 8th to 9th will see “national and international experts come together” as part of a public consultation on the national biodiversity action plan.

The new plan will be implemented over a period of five years, and the conference theme is “Act Now for Nature”.

Many of Ireland’s protected habitats are in poor condition, and 14% of assessed species are thought to be endangered.

“We need a diversity of voices to come together to discuss challenges, explore solutions and establish ways to collaborate more effectively on implementation,” Noonan said.

“I’d like to encourage everyone – farmers, foresters, fishers, scientists, community groups, local authorities, NGOs, State agencies, businesses, young people and everyone else besides – to get involved,” he said.

The event over two days on June 8th and 9th, in line with the latest Covid-19 guidelines, will also be streamed live online.

A number of satellite events will be held to highlight the importance of biodiversity in the days and weeks leading up to the event.

The draft goal of the next National Biodiversity Action Plan is that biodiversity is “effectively conserved and restored and the causes and key drivers of the biodiversity crisis are recognised and addressed”.

Tickets for the 2022 conference will be available at www.biodiversityconference.ie

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

There’s still time to make submissions in the public consultation on two Pathway Action Plans for the control of invasive species on Ireland’s waterways.

According to the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s Invasives.ie programme, the purpose of Pathway Action Plans (PAPs) is to raise public awareness as well as to set out actions to prevent unintentional introductions by minimising the contamination of goods, commodities, vehicles and equipment by invasive species, and ensuring appropriate checks at EU borders.

Currently two PAPs related to Ireland’s coastal areas and waterways are under development, one for angling and the other for recreational boating and watercraft.

Both plans aim to survey stakeholders on awareness of biosecurity measures, and engage on what actions can be employed to enhance protections against the spread of invasive species here.

In particular, the PAP for angling emphasises the promotion of ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ principles to control the cross-contamination of water sources.

And the PAP for recreational boating calls for boatyards and marinas to invest in the appropriate facilities to contain the runoff from wash-down procedures, especially when removing anti-foul.

Both draft plans can be downloaded from the Invasives.ie website. Comments on the PAPs must be submitted before Tuesday 1 February through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s dedicated consultation email address at [email protected]

Published in Irish Marinas

Enthusiasts of surfing, sea kayaking and coasteering are being asked to contribute to a project collecting data about Northern Ireland’s marine wildlife.

As the Coleraine Chronicle reports, National Museums NI’s Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) hopes that the North Coast’s surfing community in particular will join the effort to help full the gaps in marine science experts’ knowledge of NI’s coastal ecosystem.

“We are interested in just about every marine species,” says CEDaR marine biodiversity officer Justin Judge, “from the more charismatic animals like minke whales and dolphins, down to seaweed and inter-tidal invertebrates”

The Coleraine Chronicle has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the allocation of €185,000 for a project around Lough Sheelin by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) Farm and Community Biodiversity Initiative.

The State agency responsible for the protection, management, development and improvement of Ireland’s inland fisheries applied for funding to enhance biodiversity on seven rivers in the Lough Sheelin catchment area in counties Cavan and Meath.

Working in partnership with farmers and landowners along the rivers, IFI will begin works later this year that will help protect river banks from erosion by livestock, reduce water pollution and enhance biodiversity by pruning vegetation and trees in selected areas to allow more natural light to enter the river channel.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, explains: “When cattle enter a river to drink, they can damage the banks of the river, causing materials, such as sediment to enter the river. This can reduce the overall water quality in the river which will negatively impact the fish and their habitats.

“Thanks to funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, we can provide alternative sources of drinking water for livestock through ‘cattle drinkers,’ and we can install fencing which is set back from the river’s edge. This will mean that erosion and water quality issues in the Lough Sheelin Catchment area can be prevented and biodiversity can be enhanced.”

IFI is planning to install over 50 cattle drinkers and 5km of livestock fencing along the seven rivers at Finaway, Maghera, Drumone, Halfcarton, Pound, Mountnugent and Kildorrough.

The agency anticipates that these works will lead to the growth of vegetation on river banks, which would become a natural habitat for wildlife and could act as a buffer to prevent polluted water from the land entering the rivers.

In the longer term, IFI plans to carry out significant river habitat enhancement works as part of a five-year development plan, working closely with the Lough Sheelin Trout Preservation Association (LSTPA).

The Farm and Community Biodiversity Initiative works will be completed within the next 12 months. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, recently announced that IFI was successful in its application for €184,698 as part of an open call.

The ‘Riparian zone enhancement – Lough Sheelin Catchment project’ is an EIP being administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland. The project is funded by the EU Recovery Instrument Funding under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022.

Published in Angling

Offshore renewables must not be pursued at the cost of Ireland’s biodiversity, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

According to The Irish Times, members of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change heard statements from various environmental and conservation groups who explained how Ireland’s waters and coastal areas are under threat from the effects of climate change as well as pollution and invasive species.

Ellen MacMahon of the Sustainable Water Network noted the important role of wind energy in decarbonising the Irish economy.

But she added that “marine protected areas are often overlooked in the role they can play in addressing the twin climate and biodiversity emergencies”.

Her comments were echoed by Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who said offshore wind farms “cannot be considered in isolation” from their immediate environments and urged that such green energy projects are “not at further cost to Ireland’s already depleted marine habitats and species”.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Environment

A coalition of environmental groups says there are “key marine policy gaps” in the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

“Tangible and binding” actions must be taken to ensure the proposed biodiversity strategy ensures “the long-term health” of oceans, the group of environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) state. 

The group has recommended ten “actions” which it has forwarded to EU “decision-makers”, as in the European Commission, EU member state ministers and members of the European Parliament. 

The joint paper entitled Back to the Source - Saving Europe’s Biodiversity Starts in the Ocean, has been published by groups including BirdLife Europe, BLOOM, ClientEarth, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and the Greenpeace European Unit. 

Groups also involved include the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Mediterranean Association to Save Sea Turtles IFAW, Oceana in Europe, Our Fish, Sciaena, Seas At Risk, The Nature Conservancy, and WDC - Whale and Dolphin Conservation, 

The paper calls for existing enabling legislation to be implemented, noting the EU Birds and Habitats Directives require that marine protected areas (MPAs) be created and managed.

Under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, EU member states have a duty to ensure their seas are in “good environmental status” by 2020, it points out, while the Common Fisheries Policy is meant to follow an “ecosystem-based approach”,

The Deep-Sea Fisheries Regulation provides extra protection for vulnerable deep-sea marine ecosystems, while the Aarhus Convention provides for EU citizens to participate in environmental decisions that affect them.

Enforcement action to ensure these pieces of legislation are implemented in all member states “needs to be dramatically ramped up”, it says.

The paper also recommends developing an EU action plan to protect marine ecosystems and fisheries resources by including “precautionary buffers for climate change when setting fishing limits” 

It calls for a “clear and transparent set of environmental and social criteria for allocation of fishing quotas”, along with a “drastic improvement in the control of fishing activities, including a transition to mandatory remote electronic monitoring systems (REM) for all fleets”.

It calls for a focus on “robust long-term monitoring of sensitive species” and “application of measures to prevent and mitigate bycatch of sensitive species”.

It also calls for an end to what it describes as “destructive” practises including bottom trawling in all EU MPAs.

The group recommends ending other destructive practices such as hydrocarbon exploration in MPAs, and ensuring “at least 30% of EU oceans fully or highly protected, as recommended by science in the next decade;

It also recommends making a plan to restore EU marine biodiversity, by setting a restoration target of at least 15% of EU seas, and focusing on “those ecosystems with the most potential to capture and store carbon”

It calls for an end to “harmful subsidies” in the fishing sector, and says it has estimated that in 2018, the EU “handed out over two billion dollars in capacity-enhancing subsidies”.

Many of these subsidies go to “suppliers and vessel owners” while the income of fishing crews does not increase, it points out.

It says there should be a “coherence between EU commitments and its subsidies policies for the fishing sector”, such as the new European and Maritime Fisheries Fund and revised State Aid Guidelines 

It also calls for more “urgent and stringent measures” on noise pollution, stating that sudden noise sources include explosions, seismic airguns, pile driving and military exercises using sonar have a negative impact on marine life.

Sustainable fisheries partnership agreements for EU vessels fishing in distant waters should also be reviewed, it says so they “do not contribute to overfishing” and “do not negatively impact the economic activities of local coastal communities and artisanal fleets” 

It calls for work to “achieve a moratorium on deep-sea mining, including at the International Seabed Authority”, and the cessation of funding for the development of deep-sea mining technology.

The publication is available here

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The Irish Wildlife Trust has welcomed this week’s Budget announcements of new funding to address biodiversity issues.

These include a move to more than double the allocation to the previously “defunded and neglected” National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) from €13 million to €29 million.

“It is vital that this extra money is spent on actual conservation measures and not diverted to tourism infrastructure in national parks and nature reserves, which we have seen before,” the trust said.

According to the trust’s campaigns officer Pádraic Fogarty, there has been “a focus on biodiversity in this year’s Budget which we have never seen before”.

He added: “This can only help in bringing an end to the relentless downwards trajectory which we have witnessed in biodiversity in Ireland.

“We expect this will be the start of a longer-term recovery that includes the vital review of the NPWS, a new forestry programme, the ending of overfishing and the creation of marine protected areas as well as an agri-food strategy that is fit to deal with the climate and biodiversity crises.

“All of these have been promised by the new Government and are all essential in delivering the system-wide changes needed.”

Published in Budget

A new review of the state of the seas off Northern Ireland and the UK reveals a ‘mixed picture’ in terms of biodiversity, as BBC News reports.

While the UK Government’s marine strategy assessment had good things to say about reduced contaminants in seawater and seafood caught around UK shores, marine litter remains a problem, as does the impact of climate change.

It also noted that seabird populations are particularly at risk, and that more studies were needed to evaluate the health of the likes of whales and dolphins.

“Fifty per cent of biodiversity in Northern Ireland is actually below the sea,” said scientific officer Helen Hanratty who helped put the report together.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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