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Renewing Climate and Biodiversity Ambition & Action on a Shared Island––new Council report No.156

There is a sense of urgency for increased climate and biodiversity ambition and action in advance of the UN COP 26 and COP 15 meetings on climate and biodiversity, respectively.  This new report from the National Economic and Social Council, Collaboration on Climate and Biodiversity: Shared Island as a Catalyst for Renewed Ambition & Action, shows that this ambition can be better achieved through collaboration and working in partnership on common climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals across the island of Ireland.

Forming part of a wider body of work on a Shared Island for the Department of the Taoiseach, this NESC report examines the particular challenges and opportunities of climate change and biodiversity loss across the island, drawing on an extensive consultation with stakeholders, north and south.

In this report, the Council has identified that there is a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities; and of the need to accept that strengthening cooperation takes time and requires public engagement and participation. It also points to the deep, shared experience that provides a solid foundation to deliver on this ambition.

To take these opportunities forward, the Council would welcome the development of a shared and inspiring vision for integrated climate and biodiversity action across the island, through a joint statement of common purpose.

The report also illustrates the shared opportunities that exist to develop a sustainable island such as the circular and bio-economy, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, marine and coastal climate adaptation and impact, and valuing networks for nature.

The Director of NESC, Dr Larry O’Connell said today that ‘the Council is of the firm view, that cooperation and collaboration can help to address our shared urgent environmental challenges, meeting our nationally- and internationally-agreed commitments, while also contributing to a thriving and prosperous island’.

A summary of submissions received is also available.

This report will be formally launched by NESC as part of an online event in a few weeks.


Note to Editors

For further information please contact Jeanne Moore / 018146366. 

NESC Work on Shared Island

This paper is published as part NESC’s ongoing Programme of Research on the Shared Island Initiative. NESC is undertaking this work at the request of the Department of the Taoiseach to produce a comprehensive report on the Shared Island in 2021.

The NESC research will contribute to building a shared knowledge base and understanding about possible ways in which greater co-operation can emerge across a number of economic, social and environmental areas in Ireland, North and South, and also between these islands East and West.   The research will not address the constitutional question, but will focus on sustainable economic, social and environmental development issues in line with NESC’s strategic remit.

About the National Economic and Social Council (NESC)

The National Economic & Social Council (NESC) was established in 1973.  NESC is an expert advisory and consultative body, focusing on strategic economic, social and environmental policies.  It analyses and reports to the Taoiseach on challenging policy issues and addresses the public system and the institutional challenges related to implementation, monitoring and learning.  It is chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach.  The members of the Council are appointed by the Taoiseach, for a three-year term.  They are representatives of business and employers’ organisations, trade unions, agricultural and farming organisations, community and voluntary organisations, and environmental organisations; as well as heads of Government departments and independent experts.  The Council has published 154 agreed reports on a wide range of policy issues, as well as research papers by its professional Secretariat and other experts.