A potential referendum could also give citizens the rights to experience nature and a stable climate environment , Source: Depositphotos

Ireland could recognise Nature as having legal rights

Ireland could recognise Nature as having legal rights

Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss voted to create a constitutional amendment in the country to give Nature rights comparable to companies and citizens

On Sunday, the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss voted overwhelmingly to include nature and biodiversity in the country’s constitution. The proposed changes would require a referendum, but according to official sources, they would recognise nature as a holder of rights.

This would mean that ‘nature’ in Ireland could gain the right to ‘exist’, ‘flourish’ and ‘perpetuate’ as well as the right to restoration if degraded. Additionally, it would give ‘nature’ cause to be party to any administrative, legislative or other cases where its rights could be impacted.

For average citizens, if the amendment passes a referendum, this could mean that they have guaranteed access to nature. This could also confer the rights to a safe, clean and healthy environment, as well as the right to a stable climate.

Moreover, the new amendment would obligate the Irish government to take a very bold stance on climate change, among other issues like the loss of biospheres for animals and protecting habitats, establishing natural reserves and etc.

Biodiversity Emergency in Ireland

Ireland launched a number of Citizen Assemblies in 2022 with the aim of addressing key points of contention between legislators, experts and the public. Although they do not have direct legislative power, they can make concrete recommendations. One example is the Citizens’ Assembly in Dublin, which voted to create a directly elected mayoral position for the first time in the city.

The assembly is comprised of 100 people, drawn from randomly selected members of the public. Additionally, ex-political figures and lobbyists under Ireland’s 2015 lobbying laws are barred from participating in the assembly. The 99 members and 1 Chairperson were tasked with examining and improving Ireland’s response to biodiversity loss.

In 2019, the Irish parliament, the Dail, declared a National Climate and Biodiversity Emergency.  According to a report by the European Commission, 15% of species in Ireland have an “inadequate status” with another 15% identified as having a “bad status”.

Approximately one-third of the 98 wild bee species in the country are close to extinction while another 60% of birds, commonly occurring in Ireland, are now on the red or amber conservation lists.



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