Green Party Minister Malcolm Noonan has said that the Irish Government will not be publishing a ‘National Biodiversity Action Plan’ until agreement on a global strategy is reached at the next UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD) in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.
The UN conference is set to take place from 11-24 October.
It was originally scheduled for October 2020 but was subsequently postponed several times.
However, on 18 March this year the CBD Secretariat updated parties that the meetings will take place this coming October.
This was prior to the publication of a significant bipartisan report from the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee, which cited “ample evidence” that “the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) scientists – aided by U.S. experts and Chinese and U.S. government funds – were working to modify coronaviruses to infect humans and such manipulation could be hidden.”
China has vigorously rejected the findings of the US Report.
Minister Noonan also said that Ireland’s Biodiversity Action Plan will be “informed by global objectives” and that following collaboration between his Department and the Department of the Taoiseach, as well as the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Action Plan will be published in 2022 after global targets and objectives have been agreed in China.
The delay has been heavily criticised by environmental campaign groups such as the Climate Case Ireland (CCI).
CCI have also accused the Minister and the Government of demonstrating an absence of political commitment by failing to provide a date for the establishment of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity, as outlined in the Programme for Government.
CCI claim that the delay in establishing the Citizen’ Assembly is inexplicable in light of the fact that the Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency on May 9th, 2019:
“While we can see the sense in the global biodiversity framework informing the citizens’ assembly’s discussions, to delay establishment of the assembly beyond the end of October would long-finger an existential crisis.”