The People’s Plan for Nature launched

Downpatrick local says “No more harm to nature” after participating in pioneering citizens’ assembly

  • Claire from Downpatrick joined 100-strong assembly brought together to agree shared vision on how to renew and protect nature here at home
  • The People’s Plan for Nature sets out the public’s recommendations for reversing shocking declines in nature
  • Plan calls for access to nature as a human right, the urgent restoration of our rivers, transparency from supermarkets and a cross-party commitment to farming for nature
  • Innovative process also involved 30,000 contributions from the public
  • Assembly members say plan ‘must inject urgency’ into leaders and organisations at all levels
  • People encouraged to add their voice at

A local woman from Downpatrick has taken part in the first ever UK-wide citizens’ assembly for nature. Published today, the assembly has produced a number of recommendations for renewing and protecting our natural environment, calling for urgent and immediate action from every part of society.

Decades of damage have pushed wildlife and habitats to the brink. Thirty-eight million birds have vanished from our skies in the last 50 years, and 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the Second World War. Experts believe that only 5% of UK land is effectively protected for nature.

Now, the People’s Plan for Nature aims to turn the tide by challenging governments, businesses, charities, communities, and individuals with a public demand for immediate and sweeping change.

Claire from Downpatrick who took part across four weekends of activity said, “I’m not into nature for nature’s sake. I’m a doctor. I care about people. And the scientific information and the courses that I’ve done have shown me how important nature is for people’s health. I’d like to see nature improved so that it would improve our lives.”

Published today, the plan calls for a fundamental change in how we value nature in the UK, including making sure nature is included in all levels of decision-making. It says there must be ‘no more harm to nature’ and demands stronger legislation and clear targets.

Among the top calls to action are:

  • All commercial and policy decisions to take into account potential impacts on nature
  • An overhaul of current farming subsidy systems to prioritise sustainable and nature-friendly farming
  • Greater government accountability through a permanent Assembly for Nature made up of NGOs, industry and public expertise

The plan is the result of several months of discussions by members of the public via a unique citizen engagement process. It included an open call for ideas on how to save nature, which received 30,000 responses, and a citizens’ assembly made up of 100 people from all four nations of the UK and all walks of life. The assembly came together to review evidence on the state of nature and find common ground on the action needed to reverse the shocking declines.

The citizens’ assembly was run independently by Involve, an organisation that develops new ways to involve people in decisions that affect their lives, and the Sortition Foundation, who specialise in selecting participants to take part in these kinds of events. An independent panel with representatives drawn from different sectors provided input to ensure the process was fair, balanced and well-informed. It was convened by the National Trust, the RSPB and WWF to give the public a clear say on how to solve the nature crisis.

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