BirdWatch Ireland: Trusting Ireland to spend on the environment

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From a BirdWatch Ireland and BirdLife Europe press release, 21/1/2013

Today BirdLife Europe together with BirdWatch Ireland launched its policy campaign entitled “Nature creates prosperity” (1), which targets the Irish Presidency of the European Council.

The report clarifies the urgency in moving away from economically ineffective and environmentally damaging subsidies in order to reorient spending towards the delivery of jobs and public goods. Any and all use of public money should ensure the delivery of a wide range of benefits for society, such as mitigating climate change and restoring ecosystems to support resilient communities, providing sustainable jobs and ensuring high quality of life.

In the coming months Ireland’s role will be significant in seeking agreement on the future of crucial policies, such as the EU Budget, Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy and must ensure the sustainability of the European project itself and, more fundamentally, the long term sustainability of our societies.

Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife Europe stated, “Shockingly, in many areas the obtuse resistance from vested interests seems at risk of carrying the day. There is a real risk that the budget deal will scrap vital environmental spending while safeguarding untargeted or even harmful spending. We fear that the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform will end up in just another green wash and that the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform might still be watered down.”

Nature provides a basis for our well-being and for long-term jobs. The EU Programme LIFE has proven to be a vital and very cost-effective funding instrument for the environmental. Apart from contributing to the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity and valuable ecosystem services, which are essential for long term economic development, LIFE provides jobs particularly in less developed areas.

Alan Lauder, Chief Executive of BirdWatch Ireland said, “The dramatic declines we are seeing in bird populations are signalling the lack of investment in nature over the last thirty years. Our environmental credibility is at stake and Ireland will need to up its game when leading on the discussions that determine whether or not the future for us as well as the rest of Europe will be a sustainable one.”