Biodiversity Finance Ireland

‘Biodiversity Finance’ is represented by two projects: a National Biodiversity Expenditure Review and a Financial Needs Assessment/Resource Mobilisation Strategy. The former was completed in 2018 while the latter project is on-going. The studies have been/are being undertaken by Dr Craig Bullock, Dr Shane Mc Guinness and Dr Rachel Morrison of University College Dublin, with the financial support of the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH).

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra (Photo: Pippa Hyde)

Current project: Financial Needs Assessment

This project is on-going, 2019-2021, and builds on the preceding National Biodiversity Expenditure Review. The Financial Needs Assessment (FNA) will examine what expenditure is needed to meet the objectives of Ireland’s National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) which in, turn, is related to the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 and Ireland’s commitment to the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The FNA will be informed by an evaluation of existing policies, institutions and expenditure (PIR), based on consultation with officials, NGOs and expertise on-the ground. It will include both capital expenditure and on-going expenditure under different conservation headings and in relation to different protected habitats. The FNA will also extend to further actions, beyond the life of the current NBAP, to prevent future and reverse declines in biodiversity. It will be an important resource by which conservation managers can examine the cost-effectiveness of current expenditure so as to make the most effectively use of available resources.

Cladonia floerkeana “Devils Matchstick” (Photo: Kate Flood)

The FNA will be followed by a Strategic Financial Plan (SFP) and Resource Mobilisation Strategy (RMS), which will examine the sustainability of current expenditure and indicate what form future funding may take, where it will come from, and where this would be best directed. This includes the need for additional funding to reverse biodiversity decline. Options could include a continuation of State funding in its current form, but also the introduction of more ‘payments for ecosystem services’ or biodiversity offsets. It could also include opportunities for private green finance; e.g. finance linked to other social objectives such as the mitigation of climate change.