Peatlands were to the fore in Dublin as the government hosted an event attended by several European countries, which discussed the development of a European Peatlands Initiative (EPI). The aim of the event is to strengthen existing ties between countries whose joint aims are to create momentum for peatlands restoration, conservation, and sustainable management.
With a hope to launch the Initiative in 2024, participants at the Development Meeting, including the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection; the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, the Nature and Food Quality; UNEP Global Peatlands Initiative discussed the next steps for the EPI, which will grow and change over time according to the needs and challenges for Europe’s peatlands.
The meeting took place in the iconic Custom House and the Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, and the Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett, addressed participants.
The participants also took a visit to a blanket bog restoration project in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The project is a collaboration between Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Intel Corporation, and saw the re-wetting of 60 hectares of drained bog to increase water storage levels by 50-90 litres. This public-private project collaboration is one of the first of its kind in Ireland for water restoration and the protection of biodiversity.
The Development Meeting brought together policy makers, experts and high-profile speakers to discuss the tremendous efforts being carried out for peatlands across European countries. The protection, conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands is a key commitment of the Climate Action Plan.
Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, said, “I firmly believe that collaboration and dedication are key to advancing peatland conservation and restoration. The Dublin meeting is poised to become a pivotal milestone for the European Peatlands Initiative, marking the beginning of a transformative and inspiring new chapter in our shared commitment to a sustainable future.”
Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said, “it’s important for us to drive peatland conservation and preservation, as a shared effort with governments across Europe. The meeting in Dublin will serve as an important turning point for the European Peatlands Initiative as we move into the next phase of its creation.”
The Development Meeting marks a significant milestone for the European Peatlands Initiative as it transitions from the exploratory phase, conducted by Bax & Company on behalf of the Irish Government over the past year, which engaged over 150 participants across 15 countries, to the Preparatory Phase.
The initial common vision for the EPI will be sharpened and defined over the next year before the launch in 2024.