Environment Ireland Conference 2007

Date released: Aug 31 2007

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) two day conference, Environment Ireland 2007, opens next Monday 3rd September with a strong focus on looking ahead to Ireland’s environment in 2020 and influencing how we can achieve a good quality environment in Ireland through detailed planning now. 

A strong North –South focus is an important feature of the conference which will highlight existing areas of best practice as well as drawing attention to policy areas where possible all-island cooperation can be initiated or extended. The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss developments across the island in a wide range of areas from sustainability through to waste management, water resources and transport issues and to the increasingly urgent issue of climate change.

“This year the EPA set out its own long-term vision for Ireland’s environment to 2020 as well as actions the EPA will take to achieve this vision.  Our reflections resulted in the publication of the EPA’s strategy document 2020 Vision – Protecting and Improving Ireland’s Environment which sets goals for the environment in six key areas, says Dr Mary Kelly, Director General, EPA.  “Only by setting meaningful and specific objectives in these key areas can we plan to achieve the environmental protection that is necessary,” Dr Kelly continues .

Clean air, protected water resources and protected soil and biodiversity are fundamental rights of all Irish citizens. Limiting and adapting to climate change, sustainable use of resources and integration and enforcement are key actions that need to be pursued vigorously to ensure a sustainable society.  

“Climate change is now recognised globally as the primary environmental challenge, which threatens the basic components of life - such as health, access to water and use of land. Climate change is happening and it is therefore necessary to consider and develop actions which will allow us adapt to future climate conditions in order to avoid adverse impacts,” says Dr Kelly.

“Ireland’s water resources must be managed as a key national resource and protection of these resources is vital. Our priorities are to ensure that the contamination of drinking water is eliminated, discharges to surface and ground waters are controlled and that there is clear planning for sewage treatment and water provision,” says Dr Kelly.

Part of the EPA 2020 Vision is to engage with key organisations and individuals to achieve consensus on its 2020 Vision.  The key focus is to inform policy-makers, stakeholders and the public on environmental issues and solutions, and to promote good environmental behaviour and standards. 

“Only by transforming the EPA Vision for the environment into a vision shared by society as a whole will we be able to achieve the goals we have set out.  Environment Ireland 2007 is the perfect forum for the EPA to initiate engagement and discussion with stakeholders” says Dr Kelly.

“In the three years since this conference started it has become a useful and important forum for the discussion of issues of environmental interest and an opportunity to learn from each other in many areas,” adds Dr Kelly.

Environment Ireland runs this Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th September 2007 in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin. The conference programme is currently available on the EPA website at http://www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/other/events/occs/name,22916,en.html

and conference presentations will be available on-line on conclusion of the conference.