While COP27 focused on the climate crisis and reducing emissions, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, COP15, which begins in Montreal this week, will focus on tackling the worldwide decline in biodiversity.
Ahead of the conference Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater comments on her aspirations for COP15 and why it could be the world’s last chance to restore and protect nature.
Ms Slater said:
“Scotland was one of the first countries to declare a global climate emergency.
“But with a 24% decline in nature over the last 30 years, it is clear that we also face a nature emergency – here in Scotland and across the world.
“Tackling the nature emergency means protecting what we have left while doing more for nature.
“Together we must act at every level to restore vital biodiversity everywhere- from our gardens to our farms, our hillsides to our rivers and seas.
“In recent years the Scottish Government has begun to scale up investment and action to restore nature.
“We have, for example, created the £65 million Nature Restoration Fund, supported the reintroduction of beavers and committed to establishing a new National Park.
“But we know we need to do more, and will soon publish a new strategy for Scotland that will set out our plans to stop the decline in biodiversity by 2030 and restore it by 2045.
“Investing in landscape-scale change will be crucial to our success.
“That’s why we’ve committed to protecting 30% of our land and seas for nature by 2030 – the 30×30 target that I hope will be agreed by all countries at COP15.
“This is critical to both our nature and climate aspirations; nature-based solutions like peatland restoration and woodland creation make up 40% of Scotland’s net zero journey.
“A global emergency requires a global response, and I’m proud of the leadership role that Scotland is playing on the international stage.
“Nearly 300 governments, cities and local authorities across the world now support the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Declaration – a shared agreement to protect and preserve global biodiversity.
“I look forward to taking the Edinburgh Declaration to COP15, and representing the voices of subnational governments at the summit.
“Both domestically and internationally we have a way to go but I believe Scotland is at the forefront of tackling the nature and climate crises, and we have much to share with other nations.
“For my part I am determined to make sure that the nature emergency remains high on the global agenda, and is rightly recognised as part of the answer to many of the world’s challenges.
“COP15 may be the last chance for our countries’ leaders to stop nature loss once and for all – I truly hope they follow Scotland’s lead and seize that opportunity.”