With Irish environment minister Noel Dempsey representing Ireland and Sam Foster for Northern Ireland's devolved assembly, today's meeting focused on cooperation over environmental research and monitoring and on common water management problems.
Ministers agreed to strengthen existing north-south cooperation over water management by creating a working group to look at implementation of the EU's draft water framework directive. This will require coordinated management across river basins, several of which are shared by the north and south of Ireland.
They also agreed to create a joint register of environmental research projects and to work more closely to develop new technologies for environmental monitoring. "We don't want duplication of research," an Northern Ireland environment ministry official told ENDS Daily today. There are common problems, such as eutrophication, "and through joint research we can better qualify for EU funding".
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