Europe and Central Asia
19 Sep 2014

Ireland’s new Rural Development Programme comes as a lifeline for farmland birds

Curlew. Photo: Padraig Kavanagh
By Alessia Calderalo

Great news for BirdWatch Ireland! At the beginning of July, BirdLife Partner in this green island had the pleasure to receive an announcement from Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: farmers undertaking actions to conserve critically-threatened farmland birds will get priority access to substantial funding within Ireland’s new Rural Development Programme.

If properly implemented, this Programme offers hope of halting declines and restoring bird populations in parts of their range. Ireland’s biodiversity has been facing severe threats, as evidenced by declining populations of many farmland birds and losses in extent and quality of many semi-natural habitats in the mosaic of Ireland’s farmed landscapes. These measures are therefore a nice incentive for farmers to adopt in their everyday work some precautions towards a more respectful treatment of the nature.

The new Rural Development Programme for the period ranging from 2014 to 2020 was formally submitted to the European Commission at the beginning of July with the aim of giving a better protection to endangered species in Ireland - mainly, to corncrakes, grey partridges, hen Harriers, choughs and breeding waders such as Curlews, Lapwings and Redshanks-. Within this programme, these species will be given priority when it comes to implement protective measures, which will also have positive repercussions in the whole ecosystem.

In the meantime, BirdWatch Ireland will continue to work with fellow environmental NGOs and with officials in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as well as the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to ensure that the Rural Development Programme will deliver an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for rural Ireland.

For more information, please contact Dr. Alex Copland, Senior Conservation Officer at BirdWatch Ireland.


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