How will the Environment Strategy be developed and how can you contribute?

No-one can be certain how future global trends and commitments – including in climate change, technology, consumer or land management behaviours, action to address social justice or trade agreements will influence the well-being of Scotland's environment or our collective use of resources. But we should be confident and ambitious about what we can achieve over the short-to medium-term and maintain our focus on the long-term global transformation we are committed to help deliver.

The Environment Strategy will help to coordinate action and guide future prioritisation across Scotland's existing environment policies, addressing biodiversity, land use, water, air, seas, climate change, the circular economy and people's connection with nature. It will provide a strategic statement of the ambition and high-level outcomes that these individual strategies work collectively to deliver.

The Strategy will remain guided by the four EU principles:

  • Polluter pays
  • Preventative action
  • Tackling pollution at source
  • Precautionary principle.

We will take a whole-of government approach to developing the Strategy, taking advantage of opportunities to collaborate across portfolios on mutual objectives. For example we will explore opportunities to strengthen our integrated approach to the sustainable management of our land and seas through our future policies on agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The Strategy will set out a shared vision of what we are collectively working to achieve through Scotland's environment and climate change policies and their contribution to social wellbeing and inclusive, sustainable economic growth. And it will set out the outcomes that will enable us to deliver this shared vision.

Box 2: Draft vision and outcomes

Our draft vision is for "one planet prosperity". This means protecting nature and living within the Earth's sustainable limits, while building a more prosperous, innovative and successful nation.

Draft outcomes

1. We are a climate leader and play our full role in limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C.

2. We are a zero waste, resource efficient nation.

3. Our biodiversity is protected and enhanced, supporting healthy ecosystems.

4. Our air, freshwater, seas and soils are of excellent quality.

5. Everyone can access, enjoy and connect with nature.

6. The global footprint of our consumption and production is sustainable.

The draft vision and outcomes set out for discussion in Box 2 have been developed through discussions and work with our public bodies. They are also presented in Annex A, with an overview of how they will help to deliver the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the National Outcomes and Purpose set out in the new National Performance Framework.

In working towards a final Environment Strategy, we want to create a collective statement of ambition for all those working to protect Scotland's environment and make our contribution to addressing global challenges. We would welcome your ideas to shape this.

The Strategy will also seek to identify the priorities towards which action and resources should be focused in the coming years to achieve our shared vision and outcomes, based on the latest evidence. To help inform this, we are publishing a series of draft knowledge accounts on a range of environmental themes. There is a wealth of evidence on Scotland's environment held by the Scottish Government, public bodies, research institutes and other organisations. The draft knowledge accounts bring that evidence together as the baseline evidence for informing the development of our Environment Strategy.

There are various ways of organising the evidence, however we have chosen a set of key themes identified through discussions with experts in our public bodies. In other areas – such as the marine environment and climate change – thorough descriptions of the evidence have already been set out[20].

Each account assesses our current position, identifies the factors which have influenced this position, highlights existing ambitions and the likely future drivers of change. In addition, the accounts summarise the evidence on the impact of current policy initiatives and identify the key gaps in the evidence base which need to be addressed.

These knowledge accounts should be seen as living documents. Further accounts will be developed over the coming months. We look forward to hearing your views and comments on them.

Your input through this online discussion over the summer will help to shape the development of the Strategy. We aim to publish a high-level document in late 2018 setting out our agreed shared vision, with a set of outcomes and high-level priorities to help guide decisions over the coming years. During 2019, we will develop a monitoring framework to track our progress in achieving the outcomes.

Questions:

1) What are your views on the following draft vision for Scotland's environment and climate change policies?

Our draft vision is for "one planet prosperity". This means protecting nature and living within the Earth's sustainable limits, while building a more prosperous, innovative and successful nation.

2) What are your views on the following draft outcomes that will help to achieve this vision?

1. We are a climate leader and play our full role in limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C.

2. We are a zero waste, resource efficient nation.

3. Our biodiversity is protected and enhanced, supporting healthy ecosystems.

4. Our air, freshwater, seas and soils are of excellent quality.

5. Everyone can access, enjoy and connect with nature.

6. The global footprint of our consumption and production is sustainable.

3) What are your views on the draft knowledge accounts which will be used to help identify priorities for action in the coming years? What additional sources of key evidence can you add?


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