Minister Eamon Ryan.

Green Ministers welcome Nature Restoration Law approval

Minister of State with responsibility for Nature, Malcolm Noonan and Minister for the Environment and Climate, Eamon Ryan recently welcomed the vote to approve the Nature Restoration Law in the EU Environment Council.

The Ministers called the outcome an historic vote for nature that now provides an opportunity to reverse biodiversity loss and restore nature, thereby strengthening food security, providing safe drinking water, reducing air pollution, and sustaining livelihoods and wellbeing for every European into the future.

The final compromise text proposed Regulation had been previously approved by the European Parliament in a plenary session in Luxembourg on February 27 and was adopted by qualified majority vote in the Council of Environment Ministers of the 27 Member States last week.

Minister for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan said:

“Today’s vote is extremely positive news. Not just for nature and wildlife across Europe, but for all of us as well. The future of human civilisation depends entirely on healthy, functioning ecosystems, but these life support systems are declining dangerously. We are in a biodiversity emergency. The Nature Restoration Law will bring unprecedented action and investment to this challenge, and not a minute too soon.

“We can be proud that Ireland has demonstrated real leadership on nature restoration throughout this process. Twelve of our thirteen MEPs voted in favour of the NRL in February, and they should be commended for that. The Government has also supported the Nature Restoration Law at every step, as has the Dáil - members voted 121 to 9 in favour of nature restoration last year.”

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, along with Minister Noonan, spearheaded an initiative in May signed by 11 Member States calling on other Member States to join them in adopting the Nature Restoration Law proposal.

Minister Ryan said: “This is an historic vote for nature and a huge opportunity to rebalance our ecosystems, strengthen our food security, improve our water and our air and ensure more secure livelihoods and wellbeing for millions of Europeans.

“Europe is the fastest warming continent and is facing unprecedented impacts from the intertwined nature and climate crises. This is a decisive step towards addressing the very real risks we are already seeing, from desertification to flooding.

“Large-scale restoration of nature has the potential to strengthen Europe and to provide additional income streams for farmers, foresters, fishers and other landowners. It will create jobs and stimulate downstream industries, such as eco-tourism, bringing real stimulus to rural economies. It’s already happening. Tens of thousands of farmers across the country are already taking part in schemes, projects and programmes to restore nature. I say it over and over again. Farmers are the frontline heroes in climate action. We want to work collaboratively, to restore nature and to ensure that farmers and rural communities are well rewarded and can thrive. This is what the NRL is all about.”

One of key tasks of the restoration planning process will be to identify the design, targets and incentive schemes to deliver restoration measures, including consideration of national and EU funding opportunities and a comprehensive assessment of funding needs. Completion of the plan will be aligned with the opening of the Government’s €3.15bn Climate and Nature Fund in 2026.

This fund is expected to play an important role in resourcing the measures in the National Restoration Plan.