Thursday, 26 May 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
173. Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the measures which are being taken by this Government to express concern regarding the threat of extinction to species of wild life, either through environmental factors such as global warming or as a result of war or conflict. [17785/05]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Roche): Ireland actively participates in action to protect biodiversity through its support for a number of important international conventions and processes and through the implementation of international, EU and national policies and measures.
At international level, my Department continues to support the development of EU and international policy to tackle threats to biodiversity. The primary international agreement relating to this area is the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims to secure a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 and which Ireland ratified in 1996. My Department participates at the conference of parties to this convention and at a number of associated working groups. Ireland represents the EU on the bureau of this biodiversity convention. My Department, together with the Department of Foreign Affairs, also provides voluntary financial contributions to enable representatives from developing country governments to participate in major meetings which deal with the conservation of global biodiversity.
Ireland has also ratified a number of other important conventions, which impact directly on protecting against threats to wildlife species. These include the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES; the Convention on Wetlands, RAMSAR; and the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
At EU level, an ambitious target has been set which aims to halt, as distinct from securing a significant reduction in, the loss of biodiversity by 2010. In this regard, a major EU stakeholders’ conference was held in May last year in Malahide, County Dublin, under our EU Presidency. Some 250 delegates and stakeholders from 25 member states and other European countries met to facilitate the completion of the review of the EU biodiversity strategy. The message from Malahide, which was adopted at this conference, was intended as a key step towards a communication on future EU priorities for biodiversity conservation and for meeting its 2010 target. It is expected that this communication will be completed by the European Commission later this year.
At national level, a national biodiversity plan was adopted by Government and published in April 2002. The plan details 91 actions aimed at halting biodiversity loss in Ireland and also explicitly commits Ireland to contributing to the conservation of biodiversity overseas. An interdepartmental steering group has been established, under the aegis of my Department, to assist in the implementation of the plan and to report to Government on progress with the plan. I intend that a comprehensive progress report on the national biodiversity plan will be published later this year.
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