The Convention on Biological Diversity
As part of its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity [pdf 1mb], Ireland is currently in the process of implementing its second National Biodiversity Plan, Actions for Biodiversity 2011-2016 [pdf 3.2mb]. The Plan also builds on commitments under the EU Biodiversity Strategy [external website] to 2020.
"The EU’s long-term vision for its biodiversity is by 2050, EU biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides - its natural capital are protected, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity’s intrinsic value and for their essential contribution to human well-being and economic prosperity, so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided. The EU is committed to halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the EU by 2020, restore them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss."
These commitments reflect the importance of biodiversity to human society and our dependence on it, as well as its own intrinsic value, and the need to not only halt the loss of biodiversity but to reverse damage that has already been inflicted.
Ireland’s National Biodiversity Plan articulates a vision for Irish biodiversity
"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."
Meanwhile, the overarching target for the Plan is:
That biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems are reduced by 2016 and progress is made towards substantial recovery by 2020. An inter-departmental/ agency Steering Group, led by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as an inter-departmental/agency Biodiversity Working Group have been established to advance implementation of the plan. The Plan is available from the website of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The Heritage Council is also working with the Department and many Local Authorities to support the development and implementation of Local Biodiversity Action Plans. To date, over 25 Local Heritage Plans have been adopted and implementation commenced. In recent years, a specific funding stream was made available from the Heritage Council, supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, to the Local Authorities to support the development and implementation of these plans but due to budgetery constraints, this funding stream is not currently available. However, the implementation of biodiversity projects at the local level is also supported by the Heritage Council’s County Heritage Plan Programme.