Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ceisteanna (25)

Joan Burton


25. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to support nature and biodiversity on a cross-Government basis despite recently cutting funding for the National Biodiversity Data Centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16712/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is operated on contract under the aegis of  the Heritage Council and my Department supports it in two ways; through the annual funding of the Heritage Council and through project specific funding, which is being maintained at last year’s level, provided from the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department.  I have not cut funding for the Centre.

My Department collaborates closely with many Government Departments and agencies in relation to nature and biodiversity. The overarching strategy is set out in the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021. To further the implementation of the Plan, and to mainstream biodiversity within national policy, an interdepartmental Biodiversity Working Group was established in 2012 drawn from 18 Government Departments and Agencies. Members have responsibilities for sectors where activities can have a direct impact on biodiversity or where there are opportunities for changes in the management of environmental resources that can support biodiversity policy formation. These sectors include strategic and land use planning, agriculture and forestry, marine and freshwater fisheries, the management and monitoring of water and environmental quality, and the provision of transport and energy infrastructure. In addition, there are Government Departments or Agencies with responsibility for sectors where there are opportunities for synergies between biodiversity protection and community development, education or health.

This work of this  group is  reviewed by senior officials who meet periodically. 

My Department collaborates with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in regard to agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture and will be focusing on the next Common Agriculture Policy in the coming weeks and months.  Much of the biodiversity-related expenditure in the State is delivered through agri-environment schemes and the European Innovation Partnership operated by that Department.

At the recent National Biodiversity Conference I announced the "seeds for nature" a set of new commitments from Departments, agencies, State -owned companies and private business.