Mr Denis Naughten, T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment today (23 March) hosted a Ministerial-level meeting of the British-Irish Council environment work sector in Farmleigh House, Dublin.
The Council was established under the Good Friday Agreement and comprises representatives of the Irish and British Governments, the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
"Since its establishment" Minister Naughten noted, "the Council has acted as a unique forum for cooperation and exchange of information, and has led to a deepening and perhaps a much greater appreciation of the valuable relationships between these islands."
Today's meeting focussed primarily on how the administrations can work together on climate adaptation. They also received updates on established work areas related to Invasive Non-native Species (INNS), food waste and recycling.
"The adaptation debate was particularly timely from my perspective" Minister Naughten said "having just published Ireland's first statutory National Adaptation Framework. In preparing for today's meeting, all of the Administrations agreed, given our shared geographic location and climatic influences, that we face a number of shared climate change impacts, challenges and opportunities in the future. Our response is hugely important to the future health and wellbeing of our citizens, and the viability of our economies, and it is a matter of clear common sense for us to collaborate through the work of the British-Irish Council."
Following today's meeting, the adaptation agenda will be progressed at an official level and Ministers will review progress at a future meeting of the Council. Minister Naughten concluded "In that work, Ireland will be pressing the underlying theme of our National Adaptation Framework on the fundamental importance of climate-proofing everything we do. We have already put that principle into practice in very substantive terms, as evidenced by our recently published National Planning Framework and National Development Plan, both of which are strongly underpinned by climate considerations. It is impossible to understate the importance of integrating climate mitigation and adaptation into economic policy – the integration challenge is central to how we position and move our economies forward over the next decade or so."
In January, Minister Naughten hosted the Retail Action Group as they signed the Food Waste Charter which commits them to a common and long-term approach to tackling food waste in the sector. Leaders from five major Irish retailers Tesco, Musgrave, ALDI, Lidl and BWG Group agreed to make food waste prevention a priority and build awareness of the issue. The companies agreed a common methodology for the collection of food waste data within their businesses. This will provide a solid evidence base for prevention measures and monitoring progress in implementing change.
UK Environment Minister, Lord Gardiner said: "Everyone has their part to play to protect our environment, which is why it is so important that we continue to work together with partners across the UK and our closest neighbours to tackle these issues.
"Co-operation through forums like the British Irish Council means we can find solutions that are right for each area to accomplish our shared goals of making the best use of our resources and developing adaptation to climate change technologies, and to prepare better for the future."
The official communiqué from today's meeting is available on the British-Irish Council website at www.british-irishcouncil.org
Notes for Editors:
The British-Irish Council (BIC) was established under Strand Three of the Good Friday Agreement to promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of relations between the peoples of these islands. The Members of the BIC are the Irish and British Governments, together with the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and representatives of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
Today's meeting is the 15th meeting of Environment Ministers under the British-Irish Council.
As part of the agreed overall arrangements for the administration of the Council, the British Government takes the lead on environment issues and the meeting was chaired by Lord Gardiner.
Details of the Retail Action Group can be found here
List of Attendees:
The Irish Government was represented and hosted by Mr. Denis Naughten T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
The meeting was chaired by Lord Gardiner from the UK Government.
The Welsh Government was represented by Hannah Blythyn AM Minister for Environment.
The Isle of Man Government was represented by Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture.
The Government of Jersey was represented by Deputy Steve Luce, Minister for the Department of the Environment.
Senior officials observed on behalf of the Governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Guernsey.