The failure to convene a citizens’ assembly on biodiversity criticized
The government’s credibility in tackling the biodiversity crisis has been called into question by Climate Case Ireland (CCI) due to a two-year delay in creating a citizens’ assembly on how best to tackle it. the acceleration of species and habitat loss in Ireland.
In a letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday, the campaign group said there was “widespread disappointment” at the inability to announce a date for the assembly before the Dáil’s summer vacation this week. .
Last month, CCI and more than 20 civil society organizations wrote to the government asking it to “treat the biodiversity crisis as a real emergency” and set the date for the long-promised decision.
“The citizens’ assembly on the biodiversity crisis was promised over two years ago,” CCI’s Emer Slattery said in the letter, “yet the government has yet to set a date for its convening. Le Dáil declared the climate and biodiversity emergency on May 9, 2019 – so the pandemic cannot even be used as an excuse ”.
“Declaring an emergency and then delaying action for years is a declaration in itself. After living almost 18 months of Covid, we all know what emergency action looks like – it’s not it. “
Malcolm Noonan of the Green Party, Minister of State for Heritage, insisted in a recent tweet that the citizens’ assembly on biodiversity “was a key program for government engagement.”
However, he added that “work is underway via the United Nations Convention on Diversity [CBD] on a new global biodiversity framework which will define objectives and actions for the next decade ”.
It is expected to be presented for agreement at the CBD summit known as COP15 in China next October. “Our next national biodiversity action plan will be informed by these global goals. It should be released in 2022, ”he said.
CCI said the plan “should be generated by the people, and the way to do it is to convene the citizens’ assembly without further inexcusable delay.” This was to ensure that the opinions and concerns of the public were the basis of the policy, “not to be used as an automatic endorsement of a pre-established policy”.
At the very least, the assembly should be called immediately after the agreement on the global framework in October, he said; “The results of the citizens’ assembly should inform the new national action plan for biodiversity; Not the opposite”.
CCI also cited Chief Justice Frank Clarke’s observation in his Supreme Court ruling overturning the government’s national climate change mitigation plan as inadequate that the potential and precise type of a ‘right to Constitutional ‘environment’ could be the subject of a ‘subject of debate and approval’ and ‘express incorporation into our Constitution’ rather than relying on a decision of our courts.
The next citizens’ assembly would be the appropriate forum for this debate “and the consideration of the incorporation of a right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment into our Constitution, as has been done by over 100 countries in the world. world, ”said CCI. .
“The success of the plan for pollinators across Ireland is a testament to the public’s willingness to play their part in addressing the biodiversity emergency,” he concluded.
“While we can see the meaning of the global biodiversity framework informing citizens’ assembly discussions, delaying the creation of the assembly beyond the end of October would be a long-term existential crisis. “