Scotland's strategy to tackle the nature emergency.
Protection for Scotland's nature is set to be urgently scaled up, with 26 priority actions to restore Scotland's natural environment and halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030.
The Scottish Government's draft biodiversity strategy sets out a long-term ambition and vision for what good looks like for biodiversity in Scotland in 2045. 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.
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.
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.
We are already investing in our land and at seas through our 65 million Nature Restoration Fund, the expansion of our nature networks, the establishment of a new National Park and by highly protecting at least 10% of our seas. But we know we can do more.
The strategy sets out a nature positive vision for Scotland - one where biodiversity is regenerating and underpinning a healthy and thriving economy and society. A new investment plan, coupled with ambitious statutory targets, will be crucial to achieving that vision.
At the heart of this strategy is collaboration. No one can tackle the nature emergency alone, and we are committed to an inclusive approach that engages with and enlists communities, business, farmers, land managers, and decision makers alike. Our strategy will be closely linked to our Climate Change Plan, playing a key role in helping us meet our climate targets and achieve a Just Transition.
I am hopeful that COP15 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 from over 300 sub-national governments of countries, regions and cities around the world for the Edinburgh Declaration.
NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said:
To reach Scotland's target of restoring nature by 2045 across our land, rivers and seas, we must take ambitious action. NatureScot is already tackling the nature and climate change crises with large-scale work to establish nature networks, protect our vital habitat and species, and support skills and communities.
We hope that this national strategy for regenerated biodiversity will drive a sustainable economy, so Scotland can thrive in its stewardship of nature for future generations.
This strategy remains a draft to ensure that the final version reflects any agreement made at COP15. Following a period of consultation, a final version of the strategy will be published in 2023 alongside a detailed delivery plan.