Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (511)

Thomas Pringle


511. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the instructions given to agriculture and food attachés to embassies that have such officials in respect of climate change commitments in the agrifood sector; and the job descriptions of each. [37597/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The role of the Agriculture Attaché is wide and varied and depends on the location of the posting.  The main functions of the post include gathering and dissemination of information, including in respect of climate change, in both directions to and from the host country and to and from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  Other functions include trade assistance, development and facilitation in co-operation with Team Ireland and representation of Ireland’s interests at EU and international level.  All Agriculture Attaché roles include the development of relationships at both political and official level to ensure the positive representation of Ireland’s interests overseas and my experience is that such contacts are crucial.

My Department, including our overseas Attachés, is acutely aware of challenges we face as a society regarding Climate Change and is actively engaged as part of the whole of Government approach in how we must go further in transitioning to a low-carbon, competitive, sustainable and climate resilient economy and society.

The recent All-of-Government Climate Plan to tackle Climate Change sets out over 180 actions to meet Ireland’s EU targets for 2030 (i.e. 30% reduction on GHG emissions based on 2005 levels) and sets an ambition of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while acknowledging the national policy position of an approach to carbon neutrality within the agriculture and land-use sector.

Our Agriculture Attachés have a unique opportunity in their roles to disseminate Irish Government Climate Change Policy while also acting as a conduit for the learning and exchanging of international best practice to inform and update our own approach.