A new international consensus is building around the urgent need to act decisively to address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change together. Just like climate change, the loss of species and degradation of our natural environment is an existential threat to humanity. And just like climate change, the action needed is both urgent and transformative. That’s why the Scottish Government is clear that this is an emergency that requires an emergency response.
This strategy sets out the framework for that response. It articulates a vision for a future where Scotland’s natural environment is restored and supporting thriving communities and wildlife alike, proposes outcomes and key actions that will set us on the path to deliver this vision, and establishes the architecture needed for the cross-government delivery and the deep collaboration we will need with partners, stakeholders and land managers. Tackling the nature emergency is a long-term endeavour, and it will not be achieved within the lifetime of any government or Parliamentary term. We are therefore putting in place a range of vital measures to ensure that this Strategy will continue to be relevant, and direct the delivery of the lasting outcomes for biodiversity that we need to see in Scotland, whatever the political complexion of future governments.
At the heart of this strategy is collaboration. No one can tackle the nature emergency alone, and I want to thank the many stakeholders, including farmers, other land managers, marine industries, their representatives, and individuals who have engaged with the development of this strategy. I look forward to working together and supporting each other to deliver the change we need to see.
The nature emergency is a global emergency and so this partnership needs to extend beyond our borders. That’s why I am committed to working with partners across the UK, EU and the world to support progress in protecting and restoring nature wherever it is.
At the time this is published, I am attending the CoP15 meeting of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada, representing Scotland at what I hope will be a pivotal moment in the global fightback against extinction and environmental degradation. Scotland is pushing for an ambitious outcome. The Scottish Government has led a process on behalf of the United Nations, securing the support of over 300 sub-national governments, countries, regions and cities and cities around the world for the Edinburgh Declaration. The Declaration calls for a high ambition outcome, and for the role of sub-national governments of countries, regions and cities in delivering for biodiversity to be recognised in the new global biodiversity framework.
This strategy remains a draft to ensure that the final version reflects any agreement made at COP15. A final version will be published alongside the delivery plan, which will build on the key actions presented here to provide a detailed action plan for the whole of government that will guide our work to tackle the nature emergency over the coming years.
Lorna Slater MSP
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity
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