Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore, has called on the Government to follow Germany’s lead by signing up to the High-Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC), which is seeking to protect 30% of the world in the fight against species extinction.

HAC is an intergovernmental ‘coalition of the willing’ for ambitious global conservation, founded by France and Costa Rica. It is aiming to combat species extinction and put nature on a path to recovery by 2030. Germany has confirmed it will sign up to HAC at the One Planet Virtual Summit today.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson for Climate Action and Biodiversity, said:

“Ireland needs to be ambitious and should take the lead in the protection of our environment. We have been a laggard when it comes to environmental protection. For example, we have only six national parks, none of which are covered by a current management plan.

“There are also 630 sites that are Proposed Natural Heritage Areas. These were identified as areas of importance for the conservation of wildlife and habitat, but have not yet been formally and statutory designated – even though they were proposed 25 years ago.

“Another worrying statistic is that only 13% of land and 2.5% of marine environment in Ireland is currently protected. While the EU green deal also commits to a 30% protection of land and marine, this is on an EU basis and not necessarily applicable to each member state.

“The Government would send out a strong message of intent by joining HAC, which is aiming to prevent the collapse of the natural systems that provide our food, clean water, clean air and stable climate.”

January 11, 2021

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