Draft Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Launched

A revised Scottish Biodiversity Strategy has been released today.

We welcome the recognition of the crisis  – “Tackling the Nature Emergency in Scotland” and the clear ambition for Scotland to be Nature Positive by 2030, and to have restored and regenerated biodiversity across the country by 2045.

Twenty-six priority actions to restore Scotland’s natural environment and halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030 are outlined.  Priority actions will focus on accelerating nature restoration, expanding and improving protected areas, supporting nature-friendly farming, fishing and forestry, recovering vulnerable species, and is based on the principle of tackling the nature and climate emergencies together. It is designed to deliver landscape-scale, transformative change – backed by evidence, supported by a delivery plan and a new investment plan – and underpinned by statutory targets which will hold future governments to account.

Speaking at the UN global biodiversity summit, COP15, in Montreal, Canada, Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said:

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 revised Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is still a draft to allow for any further amendments that may be required once the global framework for biodiversity is finalised following CoP15.

This version is significantly improved on the previous draft that was out for consultation in the summer especially regarding the programme of ecosystem restoration and species recovery, inclusion of key actions and outcomes for protected areas and recognition of diverse funding opportunities (developing a biodiversity investment plan) and reference to green jobs.

We are pleased to see the enabling Conditions for Success and identification of factors which have limited the success of previous strategies in particular the following lessons learned:

  • Systematically mainstream biodiversity across sectors and the wider policy landscape (e.g. energy, housing, industry, education, health and transport)
  • Ensure sufficient investment – and appropriately blend public and private funding
  • Strengthen accountability for delivery – including evidence-based monitoring frameworks and statutory targets to hold us to account.

There will be the opportunity for stakeholders to further consider the strategy alongside the consultation on the delivery plan which will be launched in spring 2023 with the final documents published in summer 2023.

We look forward to contributing to the delivery plans as part of the Scottish Biodiversity Programme – Stakeholder Engagement Group. We need SMART statutory targets on species recovery and ecosystem restoration to ensure the transformational change we need.

You can view CIEEM’s consultation response here.