We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. The facts are beyond doubt: nature is declining fast. It is estimated that 1 million species across the world are at threat of extinction. Here in Scotland, nearly half of our species have decreased in abundance and 11 per cent are under threat of extinction.
Nature has an intrinsic value, but its complex diversity and abundance of life is also central to our survival as a species. Our economy, jobs, health and wellbeing depend on it.
Restoring biodiversity is crucial in tackling the climate crisis, and tackling the climate crisis will be essential for restoring biodiversity. Across the world, ocean and land ecosystems remove about 50 per cent of the carbon emissions that are produced by us each year.
The Scottish Government is committed to restoring Scotland's natural environment and supporting thriving communities and wildlife alike. In December 2022 we published our draft Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, setting out our clear ambition for Scotland to be Nature Positive by 2030 and to have restored and regenerated biodiversity by 2045. The Strategy was published in draft form to allow us to incorporate the outcomes from COP15 and meet our international obligations.
We have begun to make significant progress in recent years, but it is clear that we need to go further and faster. The Biodiversity Strategy sets out our high-level ambition and will be supported by a series of 5 year rolling delivery plans. This consultation is seeking your views and input on the final version of the Strategy, and the first delivery plan, which sets out the key actions we need to take.
The Strategy will also be supported by a Natural Environment Bill which will set out the framework for statutory targets for nature restoration. These targets will demonstrate whether delivery actions have been effective and will hold the Scottish Government to account. Part B of this consultation is seeking your views on the framework for statutory targets, as well as other legislative proposals that will help to halt biodiversity decline. These proposals include changes to the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 in order to strengthen the leadership role of National Parks in tackling the interlinked crises of climate and biodiversity.
To reverse the biodiversity crisis, we will need high level strategic leadership, alongside responsible public and private investment to achieve our outcomes. This must include a whole-of-society approach which engages communities, business and decision makers alike.
We want to ensure that the development of these proposals is open, fair and transparent. This consultation is a chance to provide your views on the impact these proposals could have on you and your communities. Your input will pave the way for this critical action to deliver a restored and thriving natural environment in Scotland.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity
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