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Welcoming the Report by the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss

The Constitutional Recognition of the Rights of Nature features in new report.
Welcoming the Report by the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss
Photo by Henrique Craveiro / Unsplash

By Lauren Barnard

Yesterday the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss published their latest report. We are really pleased to see that among the 150 recommendations, the Constitutional Recognition of Rights of Nature features. This follows a submission by a coalition including LFN's Claire Nevin about the importance of Rights of Nature in responding to the biodiversity crisis.

LFN’s Claire Nevin was one of the co-authors of a report submitted to the Assembly for consideration in September 2022, coordinated by the Environmental Justice Network Ireland (EJNI). This covered both the human right to a healthy environment and Rights of Nature, and invited the Assembly to recommend Rights of Nature as a necessary response to the biodiversity crisis. You can read more about the Assembly and LFN’s submissions here and here.

Yesterday, the report by the Citizens' Assembly was published with 150 recommendations which have the potential to “dramatically transform Ireland’s relationship with the natural environment.” The report makes clear the pressing need for the State to take prompt and decisive action to address biodiversity loss, and expresses clear disappointment that some necessary legal and regulatory measures have not been taken. The report was described by the Chair of the Assembly, Dr Ní Shúilleabháin, as “a call to action”.

Vitally, the report includes the recommendation that nature be given special protections, recognising the need to protect nature in order to protect humans. Recommendation 31 is for a referendum on a Constitutional amendment which includes “Substantive rights of nature, recognising nature as a holder of legal rights”, which had 75% of the Assembly’s support.

Ireland has an exciting Rights of Nature movement which has been growing over the last few years, with the Assembly’s recommendation adding to initiatives by local councils and campaigns in relation to rivers. We hope the Assembly’s call to recognise the Rights of Nature will be heard by Irish political actors and the society as a whole.

Read the full report from the Irish Citizens’ Assembly here.