I published Ireland’s first National Mitigation Plan in July 2017 which sets out the measures proposed by the key sectors concerned for enabling a low carbon transition.
Ireland’s first statutory National Adaptation Framework was approved by Government in December 2017 and was published and laid before the Oireachtas on 19 January 2018, in line with Section 6(5) of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 (the Climate Act). The Framework sets out the context to ensure Local Authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the key risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into all local, regional and national policy making.
Under the Framework, seven Government Departments (or Agencies, where appropriate) with responsibility for the twelve priority sectors identified in the Framework are required to prepare sectoral adaptation plans in line with the requirements of Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the Climate Act and the policies laid out in the Framework. The Framework does not identify specific locations or propose adaptation measures or projects in relation to sectors. Respecting the principle of subsidiarity, detailed adaptation measures will be developed across sectors and Local Government, in accordance with the Framework.
Under Section 6(1) of the Climate Act, within three months of the Framework being laid before the Oireachtas, the Government must then request relevant Ministers to submit to the Government their sectoral adaptation plans within a specified period. The specified period, or deadline, for submission of plans to Government has yet to be finalised and will need to balance the need for urgent action with the need to allow sectors sufficient time to prepare plans that are fully in line with the requirements of the Framework and the Climate Act, while also accounting for mandatory consultation and Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment processes. The deadline selected will not preclude sectors from completing sectoral plans before the chosen deadline, if they are in a position to do so, and indeed this is desirable to ensure plans are submitted to Government for approval as soon as is practical. I will be bringing a Memorandum to Government shortly so as initiate the process for the preparation of sectoral plans.
It should, however, also be noted that under the non-statutory 2012 National Climate Change Adaptation Framework which has now been superseded by the National Adaptation Framework, four draft sectoral plans covering five sectors have already been developed, including for flood risk management, agriculture and forestry, transport, and the electricity and gas networks. These plans will be reviewed and updated in line with the requirements of the new National Adaptation Framework.