Ahead of the Finance Minister’s 2021/2022 budget consultation deadline, RSPB NI is calling on the Minister to show leadership to ensure that we keep pace and deliver a green and just recovery from the pandemic.
Despite the public’s growing appreciation and connection to nature, Northern Ireland has still not provided dedicated funding for a green recovery, unlike England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
With mounting evidence, including the recently published Dasgupta Review, demonstrating the critical importance of investing in nature-based projects to rebuild economies, livelihoods and wellbeing, it is vital for the Finance Minister to act now to help deliver the Green New Deal commitment included in the New Decade New Approach agreement.
RSPB NI’s five-point plan for a Green Recovery, which is supported by 31 other organisations, offers the Finance Minister the opportunity to create jobs, start to halt and reverse biodiversity declines, and begin a green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. It includes calls for the establishment of a Green Recovery Fund to deliver large-scale environmental and nature-based projects, as well as a Green Jobs Scheme.
With the budget consultation due to close on 25 February, the conservation charity is asking people to raise their voices for nature at this critical crossroads and to take part in its e-action requesting the establishment of a Green Recovery Fund for Northern Ireland.
John Martin, RSPB NI’s Head of Advocacy and Policy, said: “We recognise the unprecedented budgetary pressures arising from the pandemic and the need for funds to be allocated to deal with the health emergency. However, we need the Executive to recognise now is the time to act to address the greatest crises of our time: the climate and nature emergencies. This budget is critical as we have the opportunity to set out a pathway for delivering a green, just and resilient recovery from Covid-19. We’ve seen action from the rest of the UK, Ireland and across the world, it’s now our turn to make the right budgetary decisions to determine the scale of our response, which if left unchecked will have devastating economic impacts for Northern Ireland.”
“Right now, we aren’t protecting our precious natural wealth and assets in Northern Ireland. As we look ahead to recovery from the pandemic, we are asking those who have grown closer to nature, to join us in asking the Executive to support our call for a genuine green recovery. To revive our world, we must match attitude with action, so please raise your voice for nature by signing our e-action to kick-start a vital green recovery.”
The conservation charity has worked in partnership with other organisations, ranging from councils to landscape partnerships and heritage trusts, and has compiled a list of green recovery project ideas. The projects are framed around a number of opportunity areas: restoration of peatland, blue carbon, woodland and wet grassland habitats for nature and climate; health and well-being ranging from new/improved access to greenspace to creation and delivery of a health and environment plan; connecting and empowering communities; maximising green infrastructure and conservation action for Northern Ireland’s priority species.
The RSPB, as part of its Revive Our World campaign, is pushing for legally binding targets to restore nature by 2030 and for a green recovery from the pandemic. To raise your voice for nature and support the conservation charity’s call to the NI Finance Minister, visit www.rspb.org.uk/ni.
Last Updated: Monday 15 February 2021