10. Next Steps – The 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity
10.1 Completing the 2020 challenge
In response to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Scottish Government has placed restrictions on work and activities across many sectors, including the environment, to ensure the safety of the Scottish population. Without the ability to undertake field work, stakeholder engagement and other conservation activities, it is currently impossible to assess how many additional Route Map actions and other work required to deliver the outcomes of the 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity will be undertaken.
The benefits of previous conservation work and activity will be having a continued positive impact on biodiversity across Scotland, even though there are restrictions in what further work will be undertaken to the end of 2020.
Reporting from the Route Map to 2020 and the progress against the international biodiversity targets (Aichi targets) has identified actions required going forward (as listed below). These will inform and help prioritise work throughout the coming year and beyond, during which a new Global Biodiversity Framework will be under development. The Scottish Government will then need to reflect and respond to the new international biodiversity targets which are due to be agreed in 2021.
In the Route Map Progress Report 2017-19, a number of areas are identified where focused sustained effort is required:
- Increase the amount of native woodland in good condition (upwards of 46% as identified in the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland).
- Restore approximately 10,000 ha of native woodland into satisfactory condition in partnership with private woodland owners through deer management plans.
- Development of nature networks which support and link our most important nature sites.
These are all highly relevant to the nature-based solutions required as part of the response to the Climate Emergency and biodiversity crisis; carbon sequestration, ecosystem restoration and connectivity.
A further significant challenge for all involved in delivering the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is the need to better mainstream biodiversity action across all sections of public and private sectors, and to secure alternative funding to replace that lost from the UK exit from the EU. Unlocking private sector funding based on a nature-rich future for a just and net zero economy, as a part of the post COVID-19 recovery, has considerable potential.
10.2 Post 2020 for biodiversity in Scotland
The Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES Report 2019) provides clear evidence that transformative change is required if the biodiversity crisis is to be addressed and the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved. There are a number of clear attributes to this work:
- Focusing on the key drivers of biodiversity loss – both direct and indirect.
- Applying an ecosystem approach – working in more integrated ways towards shared goals.
- Mainstreaming biodiversity delivery – involving more sectors, organisations and individuals in developing a nature-rich Scotland.
- Developing nature-based solutions for a net-zero economy.
10.3 Scottish Biodiversity Programme
A Scottish Biodiversity Programme co-led by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has been established to oversee all of our activity on biodiversity. The programme brings together all the elements required to complete the current strategy, to raise our international profile with a view to influencing and shaping new international targets, and to prepare the way for the successful development and delivery of a future strategic framework for biodiversity. It will provide an overarching, common governance structure to our approach across all relevant work. This will ensure that resources are being directed effectively and that there is a common understanding of priorities and an agreed approach to delivering them. The Programme Board has established an Advisory Group and a Stakeholder Engagement Group which will bring together a wide range of interests.