Working together for Biodiversity
Our new publication, Working Together for Biodiversity, explores what has been achieved through the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan in its first five years.
Pollinators are in decline, with one-third of our 98 wild bee species threatened with extinction from the island of Ireland. In publishing the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP) in September 2015, Ireland became one of the first countries in Europe to address this issue – in order to ensure the sustainability of our food, avoid additional economic impacts on agriculture, and protect the health of the environment. As a shared plan of action, it is about coming together to work strategically and cohesively, so that collectively we can reverse pollinator losses and help restore healthy populations. This voluntary Plan identified 81 actions, shared out between over 100 governmental and non-governmental organisations.
Our current landscape does not provide enough food or safe nesting sites for pollinators. A large focus of the Plan is to identify actions to improve the quality and amount of flower-rich habitat. Actions range from creating pollinator highways along our transport routes, to supporting pollinators on farmland, in gardens, businesses, and on public land. We have tried to ensure that everyone understands what pollinators need, and what simple, cost-effective and evidence-based actions they can take to help. All resources are freely available at www.pollinators.ie
The last five years have seen the delivery of all 81 actions in the 2015-2020 Plan. Across all sectors, the number of engaged individuals and organisations continues to increase. We are working with farmers to develop a framework by which all farms can become more pollinator-friendly; 55% of all Councils across the island have become partners; hundreds of local communities have embraced the initiative; and already 270 businesses have come on board and agreed to take actions.
The AIPP has also attracted international acclaim. Advice has been requested by over 10 countries, both within and outside Europe, interested in learning from the initiative and developing something similar. It has informed the development of pollinator strategies published in Scotland (2017), Norway (2018) and the Netherlands (2018). The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has been recommended as a template for the development of national pollinator strategies by EU Member States. We have made a hugely positive start.
However, we are only at the start of the journey and we have developed an even more ambitious plan for 2021-2025. As we look forward to the next five years, we need to engage more, monitor more, and manage more land for biodiversity. Thanks to everyone who has helped, the island has become more pollinator friendly. We need to continue and to give the insects themselves time to respond. The AIPP will ultimately only be a success if in 10, 20 or hundreds of years from now, this island is buzzing with bees and we have diverse, healthy wild pollinator populations, providing us with the services on which we are so dependent. If we manage this, we will also create a colourful and healthy environment for ourselves.
We thank every single person who has engaged with the Plan. It has shown – in every sector and in every corner of this island – people do care, and that we can come together to make changes for the better. Lots of small actions, taken together, make a big difference.
This booklet, published to mark the end of the first phase of the AIPP, celebrates those efforts and the positive changes already made. Undoubtedly, collating stories and examples of actions for this booklet has been the most difficult part of the entire initiative so far!
After much deliberation, 80 stories were chosen for inclusion in this new booklet, to illustrate some of the ways that people have helped pollinators since 2015.
There are hundreds’ more amazing conservation stories we could have told, and project examples we could have chosen. To those thousands of people, groups and organisations who should also be in this booklet, and got behind the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan with such energy and enthusiasm, we are very grateful to work together with all of you on helping biodiversity.
To find out more, see www.pollinators.ie
Some sample stories from Working Together for Biodiversity: