The Irish Peatland Conservation Council welcomes the publication of the Citizen’s Assembly Final Report on Biodiversity Loss
14th April 2023
Ireland is the first country anywhere in the world to hold a National Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss and on the 5th of April 2023 the Assembly of 99 randomly selected citizens of Ireland and an independent chairperson published their findings and recommendations to the Government. Over many meetings the Assembly deliberated over the issues surrounding biodiversity in Ireland and also received expert advice and evidence from stakeholders, scientists and scholars. The Irish Peatland Conservation Council made a written submission and also presented to the Assembly the case for peatlands and how important they are in regards to Ireland’s biodiversity. The report includes 159 recommendations covering 86 sectoral specific recommendations and 73 high-level recommendations. The Citizen’s Assembly have expressed their disappointment at the State for failure to address the problem and failure to implement their own policies and laws effectively. The high number of recommendations made represents the level of engagement that the Assembly has had on the issue of the Biodiversity Loss.
It is refreshing to see that actions IPCC have seen as necessary for effective peatland conservation, such as the formal designation of the Raised Bog Natural Heritage Areas (NHA), cross-agency (national and international) coordination, adequate funding for restoration and management of protected sites, increasing educational awareness and integrating biodiversity management in to all Government agencies and State bodies have all been addressed by the report.
The Irish Peatland Conservation Council welcome these recommendations to the Government, and while we can’t go back and change anything, we can all look forward and see this as an opportunity to make the societal and national changes needed to reverse biodiversity loss and address our lost connection with the natural world we live in. We know what needs to be done. On a citizen level, we can all help peatlands and biodiversity by choosing peat-free in the garden today. On a Government level the State must fully finalise the NHA designations and protect those sites, only then can we say that we are actively working towards biodiversity loss reversal and supporting Ireland’s natural habitats.
We must ensure that the protected areas are actually protected and that everything is done to encourage the restoration of our environment, that the Citizen’s Assembly recommendations are worked through, implemented and that adequate supports are rolled out for all industries and stakeholders that are to be affected.
What we do now and how we do it could be replicated around the world, for the betterment of the natural wonders and future generations coming after us.