Highland Council members agreed that the local authority will sign the Edinburgh Declaration and underline its commitment to tackling the climate and ecological emergency it announced in 2019.
The decision to sign the declaration was made by members at the inaugural meeting of the Climate Change Committee in Inverness.
The next step will see Highland Council Leader, Cllr Raymond Bremner and Chief Executive Officer, Donna Manson, sign the declaration on behalf of the local authority.
The Edinburgh Declaration sets out the aspirations and commitments of the members of the international community, the Scottish Government, Edinburgh Process Partners, and the wider subnational constituency of the Convention on Biological Diversity 1 (CBD) in delivering for nature over the coming decade.
In recognition of the key role that sub-national governments and Local Authorities play in delivering biodiversity protection the Edinburgh Declaration is open for signing by parties working at the local level.
Chair of the Climate Change Committee, Cllr Karl Rosie said:
“The agreement by members that the Council should sign the Edinburgh Declaration reinforces an existing commitment by this local authority to tackle the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.”
“It will also ensure the continued provision of the nature services on which we all depend, the delivery of net zero targets and allow us to tackle and adapt to a changing climate in accordance with the Council’s own declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency.”
Scotland is facing a twin reinforcing crises of climate change and biodiversity loss: a decline in biodiversity will exacerbate the climate crisis, and a changing climate will accelerate the rate of biodiversity loss.
On behalf of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Scottish Government has led a global partnership in the ‘Edinburgh Process’ – Consultation with sub-national governments, including regional, city and local authorities on their role in the post 2020 global biodiversity targets.
A key output of the Edinburgh Process is the Edinburgh Declaration, which demonstrates the commitment, and recognises the vital role, of sub-national authorities, cities and local authorities across the world in working to deliver for nature over the next decade.
Aberdeenshire Council became the first Scottish Council to sign the Declaration in November 2020 and were soon followed by several other local authorities.
To date 13 Scottish local authorities plus the two National Park authorities have become signatories.
In addition to the local authorities and national parks, other high-profile Scottish signatories include NatureScot, the Scottish Land Commission, CoSLA and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.