Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan at the launch of Fair Seas’ Revitalising Our Seas report. 


Earlier this year, the Government published a draft version of Ireland’s 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP). The NBAP is the main mechanism by which Ireland implements the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) of which it is a signatory. 

The CBD’s principle aims are;

  • the conservation of biological diversity; 
  • the sustainable use of its components; 
  • and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. 

Fair Seas welcomed the opportunity to respond to the NBAP public consultation and agreed with Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan in his foreword that a successful plan ‘will set the national biodiversity agenda for the period 2023-2027 and aims to deliver the transformative changes required to the ways in which we value and protect nature’. 

Minister Noonan also states the plan is ‘set against a backdrop of unprecedented challenges for nature in Ireland and globally. How we collectively and collaboratively address these challenges will define not just our ability to halt biodiversity loss, but how we as a species will survive and thrive into the future’. As the old adage goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. And so it is with tackling biodiversity loss and decline, time is running out and we need urgent and ambitious action now.   

A Vision for Biodiversity 

Not forgetting the many ‘quick wins’ that the Government could proceed with to the direct and instantaneous benefit to biodiversity, recognition that restoring Ireland’s biodiversity is a long term project, is necessary among all stakeholders and society if we are to be successful in our goal. The plan’s vision for biodiversity in 2050 is where ‘Biodiversity in Ireland is valued, conserved, restored and sustainably used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people’.

SMART targets

However, Fair Seas are concerned that the Actions stated in the plan lack sufficient ambition or detail to drive and deliver such a vision of biodiversity. There is often an overly ‘process’ heavy focus of the Targets and Actions, whereas what is needed are ‘SMART’ targets. 

SMART targets are; 

  • Specific;
  • Measurable;
  • Achievable; 
  • Relevant; 
  • Timebound. 

Without these basic elements of work planning, Ireland risks being five more years down the road in 2027, but no further forward. 

Most importantly, however, is that whatever Actions we do take, they put nature on a positive trajectory across this Island. Put simply, we can’t afford for Ireland’s 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan to fail, for our most prized and beloved plants, animals and wildlife, the cost will be deadly.


You can read Fair Seas’ full response to the NBAP consultation here.


Keep up to date with Fairseas and MPA news and developments, by subscribing up to our newsletter here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

We also welcome you to join us in Cork on 8th June, where we are hosting our inaugural World Ocean Day conference. We are bringing ocean advocates, government, industry and key stakeholders together to map out the next steps for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Irish waters.

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