Biodiversity strategy: consultation

Biodiversity is vital for us all and it is in crisis, globally and in Scotland, so we need to change the way we use natural resources. We are seeking views on how we should tackle the biodiversity crisis through a new biodiversity strategy which will drive this transformation.

5. The Conditions for Success

The new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy aims to establish a shared vision for biodiversity and a set of outcomes which will deliver that vision. It will provide a framework for ensuring alignment of key policies (for example between biodiversity, climate change and land use). It aims to drive coordinated action across key sectors.

A key part of the success of this strategy will be based on ensuring we correctly identify:

  • factors which have limited the success of previous strategies; and
  • an appropriate governance framework to ensure accountability for delivering the strategy.

In this way, we will give ourselves the best chance of delivering on our vision.

The Issues

Scotland published its first Biodiversity Strategy in 2004. However, the evidence tells us that, despite some isolated highlights, Scotland, in common with the rest of the UK and the world, has not done enough since 2004 to prevent the decline in biodiversity.

It is clear on reviewing the 2004 strategy that our vision for the future, analysis of the problem and priorities for action have not greatly changed in the last 15 years, nor have we developed fundamentally different or new means of addressing the problem. What we have come to understand is that key shortcomings relating to governance and accountability structures and mechanisms for mainstreaming biodiversity into all areas of policy, including economic policy making, have undermined our ambitions. As highlighted in the Environment Strategy, our role in tackling the climate and nature crises will rely on transformative economic and social change. Reversing biodiversity loss cannot be achieved through traditional conservation measures alone – these must be accompanied by a more fundamental, society-wide shift to sustainable consumption and production.

It is clear that progress in delivering the outcomes highlighted above will depend on key 'conditions for success' being in place. These include:

  • High Level Strategic Leadership;
  • Governance arrangements which:
    • ensure policy coherence and effectiveness, and alignment with other relevant strategies; and
    • are inclusive and engage and empower local and regional institutions;
  • Sufficient public and private responsible investment to deliver the desired outcomes;
  • A participatory and inclusive 'whole-of-society' approach that engages:
    • a wide range of delivery partners including especially local authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
    • local communities and communities of interest;
    • business, including especially land-based businesses;
    • the scientific community, academia; and
    • other stakeholders; and
  • Evidence supported by up-to-date information, particularly monitoring, to support the development of delivery policies and assess their effectiveness.

Proposed Outcomes

Strategic Leadership

  • Ministerial leadership of a high-level strategic forum will facilitate agreement around priorities, the content of delivery plans and troubleshoot issues;
  • Agreed priorities and outcomes contribute to coordinated messaging which helps achieve widespread public understanding and acceptance.

Governance Structures and Accountability

  • Inclusive, coordinated governance structures result in consensus on priorities, and buy-in among key decision makers;
  • Biodiversity values are mainstreamed into policies, regulations, planning, development processes, and accounting systems, at all levels of government and across all sectors of the economy;
  • A delivery model based on line of sight between governance of strategic outcomes and actions to deliver them, incorporating 'live' feedback on their impact;
  • The fitness for purpose of the legislative framework is regularly reviewed in order to ensure it is able to deliver the strategy's outcomes;
  • Statutory targets drive action across all areas of economy and society;
  • An independent body (to be determined) to monitor and report on progress.

Funding and Responsible Private Investment

  • Public investment leverages and works alongside increasing levels of responsible private investment in a values-led high integrity natural capital market;
  • Businesses assess and report on their dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, and eliminate negative impacts;
  • Just Transition principles are embedded to ensure that incentives to nature recovery and regeneration align with socio-economic and community priorities.

Public Engagement and Communications

  • Achieve widespread consensus on strategic outcomes by ensuring the links between biodiversity loss, climate change, and land and sea use are clearly established in the public imagination;
  • Regular and high quality outdoor learning in – and about – nature from 3-18 years has a key role to play in increasing climate-nature literacy, positive behaviours and an update in the career pathways that will be needed to deliver a nature rich Scotland;
  • Consumers have the information about alternatives they need to reduce the impacts of consumption on biodiversity through their choices;
  • Citizen science supports the breadth and depth of our evidence / knowledge infrastructure;
  • Local communities and communities of interest – representing a fully diverse range of groups – develop projects which regenerate biodiversity. Volunteering supports delivery of many of the projects at land and sea.

Evidence and Data

  • An improved monitoring framework and suite of indicators is in place on biodiversity and ecosystem health;
  • Effective monitoring supports the delivery of the statutory targets;
  • Harness technological innovation to enable different ways of assessing our biodiversity and support individuals to contribute;
  • Funding and other interventions are based on evidence of what works in conservation.


  • Have we captured the key enabling factors which are essential in order for our strategy to be successful?
  • Are there good examples of enabling conditions in other strategies we could learn from?


  • Can you set out how you think any of the proposals set out in the consultation might help to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations?
  • Can you provide any evidence which informed your conclusions?



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