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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Oct 2021 right left

    

World People Of Nature Day– Green Childhood

Friday 1st October
Online

Winter Migration Festival

Saturday 2nd October
Castle Espie
See event page

03
04

BITCI– The Sustainability Revolution

Tuesday 5th October
Online
Free

Natural Capital Finance & Investment Conference 2021

Wednesday 6th October
Online
Delegate places are £55 per person

Peatlands gathering 2021

Thursday 7th October
Online
Free

08
09
10

One World Festival

Monday 11th October
Mostly online

Do no harm to the environment: translating the EGD into Cohesion Policy 2021–2027

Tuesday 12th October
Online
Free

Rising seas and climate change with Dr Asha de Vos

Tuesday 12th October
Online
Free

Heritage on the Ground

Tuesday 12th October
Online
Free

Sustainable Peatlands: A Win for All

Wednesday 13th October
Online
Free

Natura 2000 logo for goods and services – supporting nature and people for a sustainable recovery

Wednesday 13th October
Online
Free

Floodplain Meadows Partnership Conference 2021

Wednesday 13th October
Online
0–£25

NI Waste Expo 2021

Thursday 14th October
Titanic Belfast
Non–qualified individuals are subject to a £250 attendance cost.

NorthernIreland2035– Common Purpose

Thursday 14th October
Online
Free

15

Cave Hill Fungal Foray

Saturday 16th October
Belfast Castle
Free

17

“The Climate Crisis is a Human Rights Crisis”

Monday 18th October
Online
Free

Nature Means Business Online Conference

Tuesday 19th October
Online
£5.98

Nature Means Business

Tuesday 19th October
Online
£5.98

Practicing Food Sovereignty in the Climate Emergency

Tuesday 19th October
Online
Free

Young Trustees in the Environmental Sector

Tuesday 19th October
Online
Free

Mapping a Just Energy Transition in NI

Wednesday 20th October
QUB Great Hall
Free

The Year of Youth Climate Action: COP26 and Your Role

Wednesday 20th October
Online
Free

Legislating for Climate Action on the Island of Ireland

Thursday 21st October
Online
Free

Belfast City Council ‘Go Social’ Virtual Bus Tour – Destination: North West

Thursday 21st October
Online
Free

22
23
24

Just Zero – a Virtual Conference on Financing the Just Transition

Monday 25th October
Online
Free

26

Agriculture and Climate Change: A Countryside COP event

Wednesday 27th October
Online
Free

Climate Resilience Heritage Summit

Wednesday 27th October
Online
Free

Nature Connection, Rewilding and Ecotherapy

Wednesday 27th October
22 University Square
Free

The Social Enterprise Rural Forum

Wednesday 27th October
Online
See ticket types

How can the island of Ireland best contribute to COP–26?

Thursday 28th October
Online
Free

29
30

UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) – Glasgow 2021

Sunday 31st October
Glasgow

      
 

NIEL statement on UN’s 5th GBO 24 September 2020

Call for NI and UK to be a global champion for wildlife as UN confirms failure to meet international nature targets

 

UN-GBO

Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) confirmed it will be writing to the First and Deputy First Ministers to call for Northern Ireland to strive to become a champion for nature, as the UN’s fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO)[i] confirmed that the international community has failed to meet its global biodiversity targets to reverse losses in wildlife and the natural environment, agreed in 2010 under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Also this week, the RSPB launched a campaign ‘Revive our World’ which pushes for legally binding targets to restore nature by 2030 and for a green recovery from the covid pandemic across the UK.  

In four separate letters, the Environment Links in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are calling on Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford and Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill to back calls for a global target to halt biodiversity losses by 2030. NIEL is calling on the NI Executive to commit to legal targets to reverse nature’s decline well ahead of international talks to agree future targets, which will take place in China in 2021 and to press ahead with efforts to meet international targets for terrestrial and marine conservation. Meeting those international targets would help to meet a number of the Executive’s commitments including the commitment in the Outcome Delivery Plan for 2018–19[ii] that

“We will also ensure that there are effective plans in place for the management and improvement of protected sites.”

Recent opinion polls have shown there is overwhelming support for change in Northern Ireland with 74% of respondents in a recent Lucid Talk poll saying they want new laws to protect nature after experiencing the COVID–19 emergency[iii]. However, even our protected areas are not helping biodiversity as they are meant to. As outlined in the NI Environmental Statistics Report 2020[iv] in 2019/20 less than 14% (13.71%) of all of our land based protected areas was under favourable management, though this is up from an incredibly low level of 0.18% reported in 2016/17[v]. The proportion of marine protected areas under favourable management in 2019/20 was also low at 4.5%[vi], the same level as reported in 2017/18[vii]. More needs to be done to protect our land and seas and NIEL and the NI Marine Task Force support the global campaign to protect 30% of the marine environment by 2030.      

The situation appears particularly bad as regards freshwater. According to WWF’s Living Planet report 2020[viii] while the living planet index of global biodiversity has declined by 68% from 1950 to 2016, the freshwater living planet index fell by an average of 84% during that time. At a local level, the problems are clear. According to the statistics on freshwater quality standards released in August 2020[ix], 95% of NI’s lakes are now failing Water Framework Directive quality standards with only one lake out of twenty one in Good condition in 2019 compared to five out of twenty one lakes in Good condition in 2015. This is poor but maybe not unexpected, given that in 2019, an official UK report[x] on Special Areas of Conservation in NI said that as regards freshwater pearl mussel,

the lack of juvenile recruitment and an ageing population will almost certainly lead to the future extinction of this species from NI, unless there is a fundamental improvement of their current habitat.

It is a shocking prospect that one of our most highly designated (but still not adequately protected) species is at risk of extinction because of a failure to keep our rivers suitably clean.

Craig McGuicken, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) encouraged the NI Executive to do all it can to protect our biodiversity and to develop our economy in line with the statement in the Programme For Government’s Outcome Delivery Plan for 2018–19 which said[xi] 

“Our health and wellbeing are directly affected by the quality of the environment around us and, therefore, it is vitally important that we take steps to protect and enrich our natural environment. Achieving economic growth at the expense of the environment, through degradation of finite resources by overuse or causing pollution is not sustainable.”

Malachy Campbell, Senior Policy Officer at NIEL said

We know there is huge public support for better environmental protection and for things to be done differently as we plan our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. We know that by working with nature we can not only better protect the environment but also save money in the long run. We also know that there is a real need for better protection and that our health and wellbeing could benefit from that. Amongst other things, NIEL is asking for a new environment bill and biodiversity strategy that will deliver all of those benefits as soon as possible and we would be happy to work with any and all of our Ministers and departments to help achieve that.”

[i] Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 Summary for Policymakers
https://www.cbd.int/gbo/gbo5/publication/gbo-5-spm-en.pdf

[ii] Outcomes Delivery Plan  
https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/execoffice/outcomes-delivery-plan-2018-19.pdf
(page 16)

[iii] https://community.rspb.org.uk/getinvolved/b/steppingupnorthernireland/posts/new-poll-shows-strong-public-support-for-a-green-recovery

[iv] DAERA Environmental Statistics Report 2020
https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/daera/ni-environmental-statistics-report-2020.pdf

[v] DAERA Environmental Statistics Report 2019
https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/daera/ni-environmental-statistics-report-2019_1.pdf

[vi] DAERA Environmental Statistics report 2020
https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/daera/ni-environmental-statistics-report-2020.pdf

[vii] DAERA Environmental Statistics Report 2019
https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/daera/ni-environmental-statistics-report-2019_1.pdf

[viii] WWF Living Planet Report
https://f.hubspotusercontent20.net/hubfs/4783129/LPR/PDFs/ENGLISH-SUMMARY.pdf

[ix] https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/daera/Water%20Framework%20Directive%20-%20Statistics%20report%20-Lake%20Quality%20Update%202020.pdf

[x] UK’s 2019 Article 17 report
https://jncc.gov.uk/our-work/article-17-habitats-directive-report-2019/

[xi] Outcomes Delivery Plan
https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/execoffice/outcomes-delivery-plan-2018-19.pdf
(page 15)