Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) with special responsibility for horticulture, Pippa Hackett, this week attended a COP26 reception on climate change hosted by the British Ambassador to Ireland, HMA Paul Johnston.

Under the theme: 'Celebrating UK and Ireland Collaboration on Climate Action', the event highlighted the "strong" collaboration that already exists between Britain and Ireland in tackling shared common challenges and objectives.

DAFM said that it also provided an opportunity to explore the pathway to net zero from an agricultural perspective, and to look at how Ireland and the UK can work together in support of the COP26 goals.

COP26, is the UN's global climate summit which will take place in Glasgow in Scotland from October 31, to November 12.

The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Speaking at the British Embassy event, Minister Hackett said: “Climate change and biodiversity loss are the challenges of our lifetime and they will only be solved by countries working together in a collaborative way.

"Agriculture in Great Britain and Ireland faces many similar challenges, and we must work together, focusing on nature-based solutions to address these common challenges."

The event took place just days before the beginning of COP26 in Glasgow which junior minister will also attend.

British Embassy event on climate change

In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Johnston outlined the UK presidency goals for COP26 and potential for further UK-Ireland collaboration on climate action.

Minister Hackett set out Ireland’s perspective ahead of COP26, and her priorities for collaboration on her own portfolio of agriculture, land use and biodiversity.

“I was delighted to see that one of the UK themes for COP26 is around nature-based solutions," she said.

"Clearly this is an area that I am very passionate about and one I believe we can work closely on. We need to find ways to produce food, working with nature instead of against it.

"We also need to find ways to better protect and enhance our soils, as they are the very foundation that our food system is based upon,” she added.