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Inaugural meeting of the Bioeconomy Implementation Group Ministers Creed and Naughten highlight bioeconomy opportunities for economic, environmental and social sustainability

Following on from the publication of the Government’s National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy in March,   the High-Level Bioeconomy Implementation Group, co-chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine and the Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment, has been established to address a number of key actions for the future success of the bioeconomy in Ireland.  This Implementation Group met for the first time last week.

The meeting focused on ensuring that all relevant parties, including Government Departments and State agencies, as well as commercial and community entities, work together to turn the Policy Statement vision into a reality of sustainable economic activity for the benefit of regional, local and rural development.

Minister Creed commented: “The Agri-food sector is central to the Irish Bioeconomy and for exploration of new opportunities to develop biobased products, sustainable production and processing and circular practices. The bioeconomy also offers a major opportunity to contribute to climate change mitigation and food security whilst delivering a host of other ecosystem services and management of natural capital.  All Government Departments and agencies have a role in facilitating this momentum by encouraging our sectors to grow their businesses and diversify their product base in a cross-sectoral manner.”

Minister Naughten added “A circular bioeconomy presents numerous opportunities across many sectors: providing real potential to contribute greatly to the ambitious objective of a decarbonised economy by 2050 through the use of biobased, renewable and sustainable resources;  and also presenting innovative ways to address bio-based waste and by-products through cascading use and circularity. Innovation in product development through applied technology and renewable biobased-resources will benefit resource efficiency, Ireland’s environment, and our natural capital and sustainable growth into the future.”

Notes for the Editor

  • The bioeconomy relates to the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste streams into value added products, such as food, and bio-energy.
  • The bioeconomy cuts across a range of sectors, including agriculture, the marine, forestry, water and waste management, energy, as well as biopharmaceuticals.
  • Government has established an Implementation Group comprising relevant Departments and agencies to progress the key actions identified in this Statement and the Group is to report back to Government within a year.

The Government published the first National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy March 12th.

Project Ireland 2040, the Government’s €116 billion development plan for the next decade, which is underpinned by a 20 year planning framework, highlights the potential of the bioeconomy in promoting the more efficient use of renewable resources while supporting economic development and employment in rural Ireland.

This National Policy Statement sets out a vision, common principles, strategic objectives, and a framework for implementation to deliver on this vision for the bioeconomy in Ireland.

The National Mitigation Plan, Action Plan for Jobs and Action Plan for Rural Development all contain commitments to the strategic development of Ireland’s bioeconomy.

Ireland has numerous renewable biological resources with the potential for the creation of high value products

List of Implementation Group Members: Department /Agency

  • Taoiseach
  • Business, Enterprise & Innovation
  • Housing, Planning & Local Government
  • Transport, Tourism & Sport
  • Rural & Community Development
  • Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht
  • Finance
  • Public Expenditure & Reform
  • Education & Skills
  • Teagasc
  • Marine Institute
  • EPA
  • Enterprise Ireland
  • Science Foundation Ireland
  • Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
  • Bord Iascaigh Mhara
  • National Economic and Social Council

The actions to be progressed by the Group over 2018 include:

  • Ensure that there is coherence between all sectoral strategies which impact on the bioeconomy in Ireland.
  • Establish a network comprised of representatives of commercial entities operating within the bioeconomy and relevant public bodies to inform the future development of the bioeconomy - this network may make additional recommendations to be followed up; (This could also include the sharing of best practice regarding applications for BBIJU, SC-2 and H2020 funding).
  • Encourage the translation of research into real world applications through promoting collaboration between research institutions (academia) and industry - through the use of pilots/demonstrations at the model demonstrator facilities (Lisheen site, the Marine Research Cluster in Connemara).
  • Assess the current legislative definition of waste and recommend whether a redesignation is necessary for residual waste flows to be successfully managed for use in the bioeconomy.
  • Ensure greater sectoral coherence within the bioeconomy through the development of risk assessment and management protocols regarding the use of by-products which encourages the piloting of opportunities.
  • Progress the leading value chain propositions identified in the Bio-Eire project by establishing the conditions required for their commercial viability and how these might be fulfilled.
  • Examine how greater primary producer, public and consumer awareness of the bioeconomy and its products could be built up - through knowledge transfer, advisory, sustainable business models, public procurement, consumer awareness campaigns and product labelling initiatives etc.

ENDS

 

Date Released: 30 May 2018