This cross-border collaborative research project focused on how Ireland's shared island environment could be protected post-Brexit via the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. Building on earlier research by both the NGOs and academics that identified environmental governance as endangered by Brexit and needing urgent attention, this project focussed instead on identifying and evaluating potential mechanisms to address both existing and future environmental governance challenges. The GFA was identified as the key focus in light of its status as part of an international agreement binding the UK and Ireland; it encompassing environmental concerns; the role of the North-South Ministerial Council; its current use for instance regarding transboundary waters; and how much greater potential there is within the Agreement to be used more generally, including potentially regarding the environment. It had the potential to act as a ready-made tool, only needing greater development, implementation or enforcement.
The project combined a literature review with interviews with experts from across the island, to identify the specific environmental governance challenges and then identify and evaluate the viability of the various pathways within the GFA to address these challenges – resulting in a 60-page report and executive summary. At all stages, collaboration between academics and NGO partners was key.