All-Island Environmental Governance post-Brexit and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


I organised and spoke at this following event, organised in conjunction with Northern Ireland Environmental Link. Previously I had helped the NGOs design the project and reviewed the report prior to its publication. I also launched the NGO report in Cork the previous week.

Brexit has placed a spotlight on environmental governance in Northern Ireland, but also on the island of Ireland. As a single biogeographic unit, an all-island approach is required to address a range of environmental issues, including water quality, nature conservation, waste crime and air quality. This is facilitated by membership of the EU, with shared standards, regulatory procedures and governance mechanisms facilitating cooperation and coordination. Yet, this common approach is threatened by Brexit.

Brexit raises the possibility of substantive holes and incoherency in existing Northern Irish environmental law and policy, governance gaps with the loss of the EU institutions, and a risk of future stagnation or deterioration in environmental standards. However, it is also essential to consider the challenges posed by Brexit for all-island environmental governance and how these might be addressed. One document that might play a key role is the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, which includes relevant components on the environment and human rights.

The Environmental Pillar and the Northern Ireland Environment Link commissioned a report authored by Alison Hough, BL, into the potential for the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement to provide an all-island framework for environmental regulation post-Brexit. It explores the potential, under Strands 2 and 3 of the Agreement, to facilitate future cooperation, coordination and perhaps even shared law-making in the context where Northern Ireland is no longer part of the EU and with or without an operational Assembly.

This event will include an introduction into some of the challenges to all-island environmental governance, followed by a presentation of the report’s findings, with discussion regarding the potential for future all-island environmental cooperation.
Period18 Apr 2019
Event typeConference
LocationBelfast , United KingdomShow on map