RSPB Scotland welcomes this Statement of Intent as a clear signal towards progressive steps to tackle the biodiversity crisis that threatens our planet and our country post 2020.
The 2019 State of Nature Report, endorsed by the Scottish Government’s agency NatureScot, demonstrated that 1 in 9 of our wildlife species are at risk of national extinction, and that Scotland’s biodiversity is in ongoing decline, in terms of both abundance and distribution.
Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland said: “We will need to do more, and faster, to tackle this nature emergency. The commitments outlined today should help us to tackle this crisis – but they will only succeed in reversing the loss of nature through sustained political support, and an uplift in funding to underpin action on the ground.
“We commend the undertaking to extend the area of Scottish land under nature-protection to 30% or more. This is in line with progress at EU and global levels, now moving towards UN agreement next year. To deliver for biodiversity, this will need to be accompanied by changes to ensure that this land is not only protected, but also well managed for nature. In addition, the developing global target includes provision for 10% of land and seas to be ‘strictly protected’ – what this means for Scotland should be considered in developments under this commitment.
“We warmly welcome the commitment to work closely with stakeholders and devise innovative solutions and partnerships in developing Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy and Delivery Plan to 2030. We urge that this includes early effort to ensure that priorities and ambitions for biodiversity are aligned across government, NGOs and the whole environment sector in Scotland. This will ensure that bids to key funders are coordinated, and that efforts for biodiversity through development via the National Planning Framework 4 deliver maximum benefits for nature.
“The emphasis on locally based projects, operating at landscape-scales, is timely and progressive. The growth in landscape partnerships signals a new willingness to cooperate and develop synergies across ecosystems and should, we agree, be a key mechanism under the next strategy. The co-working ambition outlined above will be central to success.
“RSPB Scotland thanks the Cabinet Secretary for these new commitments and we offer our support and engagement to help use them to reverse biodiversity losses and deliver thriving species, habitats and ecosystems across Scotland.”