18th October

UNESCO 'biosphere status' for Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay has been awarded ‘biosphere designation’ by UNESCO in recognition of its unique ecological and cultural status. Designation had related to the North Bull Island only but is now extended to an area of approximately 300km2. Biospheres are recognised for their biological diversity and are managed to promote a balanced relationship between people and nature.

The award coincided with the launch of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership, established by Dublin City Council; Dublin Port Company; Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council; Fingal County Council and The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to protect and promote the Bay.Dublin Bay UNESCO recognition

Speaking at the launch, Dublin’s outgoing Lord Mayor Christy Burke said Dublin Bay was a unique and valuable resource.

“Achieving UNESCO Biosphere designation means our potential to develop the bay as an internationally significant destination has been considerably enhanced.”

Richard Burton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation also welcomed the announcement, saying it was a “great boost for the people of Dublin. “Dublin Bay is a hugely important asset for our city; a great amenity for the residents of Dublin as well as a significant draw for tourists. Properly protecting and developing the potential of the Bay can enhance the quality of life of people living in the city, as well as fostering jobs and economic growth throughout Dublin.”

Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn said designation was a “tremendous accolade. This also dovetails with Fáilte Ireland’s work to reposition Dublin as the ‘city by the sea’ – a must-visit destination that rivals other European capitals and indeed, due to its proximity to sea and countryside, can offer more than most.”

Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Barry Saul said the council was proud that some significant parts of the county were part of the Biosphere, such as Merrion Strand; the marsh at Booterstown and Dalkey Island - “one of the most unique, unspoiled and much loved heritage sites in the city”.

Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council noted that the achievement would not have been possible without the work and collaboration of all three Local Authorities.

The challenge facing the Dublin Bay Partnership is to promote the natural and cultural heritage of the Bay to a wider audience and to provide a means for communities to participate and contribute to achieving the ideals of a UNESCO biosphere on the themes of conservation, research and education, tourism and recreation and sustainable business.

Fact file

Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve encompasses over 300 km2 of marine and terrestrial habitat, including North Bull Island (a UNESCO Biosphere since 1981) and ecologically significant habitats such as the Tolka and Baldoyle Estuaries; Howth Head; Dalkey Island; Killiney Hill and Booterstown Marsh.

The Biosphere supports a variety of plants and wildlife including an internationally significant population of Brent geese that overwinters on North Bull Island. Extension to Dublin Bay reflects the Bay’s environmental; leisure; cultural and tourism significance. Leisure activities include walking, swimming, bird watching, boating/sailing, kite and wind surfing

Dublin Bay Partnership will promote and protect the Bay through:

• conservation – habitat management and monitoring

• learning – third level colleges, research institutes and the schools will be encouraged to study the habitat and Dublin Bay Partnership will share this knowledge with the wider public

• development - links with communities and businesses to promote sustainable development A wide diversity of mammals, birds, fish, insects and plants live and breed on the Bay’s coastal habitats. Over 300 plant species have been recorded on North Bull Island alone.

Ireland’s only other UNESCO Reserve is in Killarney National Park. A global network of 651 Biosphere Reserves are located in 120 countries.

Further information on www.dublinbaybiosphere.ie.

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