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Irish Peatlands central to a new EU-funded Climate Action Initiative

Today is World Wetlands Day, which aims to raise global awareness of the importance of wetlands, including peatlands, for people and our planet. The European Commission is to fund €10 million towards a project which will highlight the power of peatlands to effect significant climate action wins. Peatlands and People is a major national initiative which will contribute to the long term implementation of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.

Climate Change and Environment
Society
Food and Natural Resources

The project will engage people in Ireland and across the European Union with the benefits of peatlands restoration, in particular to realise the power of peatlands to effect positive climate action. The project follows closely after Bord na Móna commenced a major peatland rehabilitation initiative with the support of climate action funding from the Irish Government. Co-ordinated by Bord na Móna, together with National Parks and Wildlife Service (of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage), the Environmental Protection Agency, National University of Ireland Galway and ERINN Innovation, with additional co-financing from Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the project will work with peatlands in Ireland’s midlands and the communities around them to deliver capacity and support related to a low-carbon economy. The project will establish: A Peatlands Knowledge Centre of Excellence in Ireland that will explore and carry out best practices in peatland restoration and rehabilitation across multiple sites and design methodologies to monitor and analyse carbon fluxes. Over time the peatlands are expected to store more carbon and also support multiple ecosystem service benefits; A Just Transition Accelerator programme that will focus on low-carbon and circular economies to support the midlands region economically. It intends to provide a range of services for the development of new sustainable products, services, enterprises and value chains; An immersive People’s Discovery Attraction in the midlands that will be designed to introduce the importance of climate action and peatlands to citizens. Its long-term aim is to progress with the establishment of an educational space that cultivates curiosity and climate literacy, providing a forum for dialogue and discovery. Announcing the project, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD said: “Our peatlands are a precious resource in terms of storing carbon, restoring biodiversity and supporting local communities in new jobs taking care of our environment. I am delighted to welcome another major project just months after we announced Government support for the rehabilitation of a huge tract of Bord na Móna peatlands. The Peatlands Centre of Excellence, Just Transition Accelerator, and the new Discovery Attraction supported by this EU LIFE project put the spotlight and investment where it should be, on Peatlands AND People.” Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD said: “The restoration and rehabilitation of Ireland’s peatlands is a critically important aspect of our response to the climate and biodiversity emergency. When healthy, these unique and precious habitats are home to some of our most threatened species, and are among our best lines of defence against climate change: sequestering and storing carbon, reducing the impact of floods and filtering water. They are also places where people can experience the wonder of nature and nourish the deep connections that inspire us to protect it. I am proud that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will be an active partner in the Peatlands and People project, which closely aligns with Ireland’s national biodiversity objectives and will build on the extensive work the National Parks and Wildlife Service has undertaken to date to rehabilitate and restore these extraordinary habitats.” It will engage people in Ireland and across the European Union with the benefits of peatlands restoration, in particular to realise the power of peatlands to effect positive climate action. www.peatlandsandpeople.ie This project has received funding from the European Union’s LIFE Programme under Grant Agreement No. LIFE19 IPC/IE/000007 (LIFE IP Peatlands and People). This output reflects only the author’s view and the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Keywords

peatlands, ireland, climate action, just transition, peatlands and people, LIFE programme, LIFE integrated project