Publication - FOI/EIR release

Agreement between Scottish Government and State Government of California: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Published:
14 Jan 2022
Agreement between Scottish Government and State Government of California: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100253062
Date received: 5 Nov 2021
Date responded: 30 Nov 2021
Information requested

an agreement signed this week by Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary in Scottish Government and Eleni Kounalakis on behalf of the State Government of California at COP 26 in Glasgow, ‘to protect biodiversity’.

The information I request is:

  • A copy of the agreement
  • The tangible benefits expected to accrue to the signatories from the agreement
  • Costs to Scottish Government associated with implementing the agreement
  • Estimated carbon footprint involved in Scottish Government implementing the agreement
  • A copy of any impact assessments done on the agreement
Response

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public
interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Attached is a copy of some of the information requested by way of webpage links and as a separate document attached.

The information you are seeking relates to the Edinburgh Declaration for subnational governments, cities and local authorities on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This is a multilateral global, political declaration of intent for sub-state level governments to demonstrate commitment to implementing the new global biodiversity framework and targets, rather than a bilateral agreement with California. These will be agreed at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s fifteenth Conference of the Parties (CBD COP15), in Kunming China, 25 April – 8 May 2022. The Scottish Government are leading this work on behalf of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and in partnership with other subnational governments, networks and other organisations, to represent the subnational constituency in the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The declaration demonstrates the willingness of subnational governments to take positive actions for biodiversity and will be presented at the COP15 meeting next spring. Further information can be found here: Global biodiversity framework: Edinburgh Process - information - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Some of the information you have requested, including a copy of the agreement, is available from: Edinburgh Declaration on post-2020 global biodiversity framework - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.

So far, over 200 sub-state governments have signed the declaration. The full list of signatories and endorsers can be seen here: Edinburgh Declaration on post-2020 global biodiversity framework - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

The Scottish Government does not hold any information in relation to your other requests:

  • The tangible benefits expected to accrue to the signatories from the agreement
  • Costs to Scottish Government associated with implementing the agreement
  • Estimated carbon footprint involved in Scottish Government implementing the agreement
  • A copy of any impact assessments done on the agreement

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because the information has not been collected. The Edinburgh Declaration is a political declaration, the outputs of which are to do with international recognition of the important role that sub-state actors play in delivering biodiversity outcomes. The benefits expected to accrue are not, therefore, limited to the signatories to the agreement. They are also either intangible or difficult to quantify precisely, and will, in any case, vary greatly depending on national circumstances. We do not hold any information relating to benefits to the signatories, costs, carbon footprint or impact assessments. There are no direct obligations on Scotland or any other signatory as a result of signing the Edinburgh Declaration over and above implementation of the CBD global biodiversity framework, which is already a national commitment. This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about benefits to the signatories, costs, carbon footprint or impact assessments, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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Edinburgh
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