The Northern Ireland Marine Task Force (NIMTF), a coalition of non-government environmental organisations has responded to the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government’s consultation on the National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report. The consultation response specifically focused on question 7 of the consultation: ‘What measures do you think should be put in place to support optimal transboundary (including cross-border with Northern Ireland and with other parts of the UK) cooperation on marine planning?
NIMTF noted “transboundary cooperation is a critical component of Marine Spatial Planning” and highlighted that where these had not been previously taken into consideration sufficiently for example in the cases of the transboundary loughs (Carlingford and Foyle) this has led to environmental vulnerabilities. The use of existing cooperation mechanisms (both legislation and institutional structures) is important and by doing so, duplication of effort is minimised and momentum built upon. NIMTF suggested Legal instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the OSPAR Commission, transboundary stakeholder groups such as the Irish Seas Maritime Forum. They also stated that existing mechanisms for specifically relating to cooperation on the island of Ireland developed under the Good Friday Agreement such as the British – Irish Council and the North – South Ministerial Council should be utilised. The full response from the NIMTF can be accessed here.