Scotland’s third annual Biodiversity Stakeholders’ Event was held at Battleby on 6 June. It focussed on our recently published Interim Report on progress on the international “Aichi Biodiversity Targets” – this report places us in the forefront of reporting internationally. The event provided a forum for sharing experiences, discussing ideas and identifying priorities as we plan ahead for actions up until 2020, and beyond. Alan Cameron, SNH Community Engagement Officer, tells us more.
The event was well-attended, and it was great to see people from across the biodiversity community. There were delegates from environmental NGOs such as the RSPB, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Buglife and Plantlife. There was also substantial representation from local authorities, including LBAP officers, Countryside Rangers and Planners. People also attended from research institutions and universities, from Scottish Government, and from agencies including SEPA and Forestry Commission Scotland.
Roseanna Cunningham, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Land Reform and Climate Change began the day by highlighting Scotland’s leading role in reporting on the Aichi Targets. A video of her presentation is available on YouTube.
The event included many great presentations and interesting workshop discussions. For example, Michael McLeod, Head of Conservation at Marine Scotland highlighted how Scotland is leading international efforts to protect biodiversity in the marine environment through identifying and safeguarding “Priority Marine Features” such as flame shell (Limaria hians) beds.
We also heard from Ellen Wilson about the considerable work undertaken by the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum review over the last few years to put in place the improved infrastructure that is needed to collect biodiversity records, manage the data effectively, and make biodiversity information available for everyone to use. Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, explained how recent reductions in the availability of funding for biodiversity are now endangering our ability to meet our international obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity. There were a number of other fascinating presentations; these are summarised in the event report.
Delegates attended workshops about Aichi Targets requiring an increase in effort over the next two years, such as loss of woodland habitat, sustainable agriculture, and how to fill gaps in data.
The afternoon session was chaired by journalist and President of Scottish Environment LINK Joyce MacMillan. Amongst the topics that delegates identified as priorities for further effort are developing our vision for protected areas, implementing a National Ecological Network, putting Green Infrastructure in place across urban Scotland, reinvigorating the Land Use Strategy, minimising the damage done by Brexit, developing a shared understanding of the “state of nature” and of the evidence for the impacts of different pressures on biodiversity, and finding better ways to take into account the impacts of our consumption and behaviour on biodiversity internationally.
Sally Thomas emphasised that the priorities for all biodiversity stakeholders as we approach 2020 must include working collaboratively to build the public, business and political support that will be needed to meet our new biodiversity targets to be set by the Parties to the CBD in Beijing in 2020, and must include working together to agree amongst ourselves on the evidence base behind our work towards new biodiversity targets that we will set for Scotland for 2030.
The Event web page provides links to the Event report and to various related resources, including the presentations.