Biodiversity describes all the different kinds of animals, plants and microorganisms that live on Earth. Biodiversity is also vital for making sure humans have what they need to live and grow such as food, clean air and water, medicine, and materials for shelter. However, many parts of the world, including Ireland, are experiencing great loss of natural habitats, environments and wildlife.
About the Assembly
In Ireland, a citizens’ assembly for the adult population took place to discuss how to best protect Ireland’s biodiversity. 99 randomly selected adults (18 years old and above) met between May 2022 and January 2023 to learn about biodiversity loss in Ireland and to discuss what solutions can be taken forward.
But, children and young people also have the right to have their say. Many children and young people in Ireland have already been calling for urgent action to protect the natural environment.
Since 1992, Ireland has been making big steps to better protect and promote children’s rights. Biodiversity loss affects children’s rights to grow up in healthy, safe and clean environments so it’s very important that decisions being made involve children and young people.
In October 2022, Ireland held its first Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss. Over two weekends, the Assembly brought together 35 randomly selected members aged 7–17 from across Ireland to explore, discuss and create calls to action on how to protect and restore biodiversity in Ireland.
To make sure the Children and Young People’s Assembly was designed in a way that worked for children and young people, the project was created and facilitated by an intergenerational team consisting of a Young Advisory Team and an independent research consortium.
The Young Advisory Team comprised nine children and young people from across Ireland, aged 8-16. The research consortium included experts in children’s participation, deliberative democracy, and biodiversity from Dublin City University, University College Cork, and terre des hommes, an international organisation with a focus on children’s environmental rights.
The Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss was commissioned by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.