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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00033: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 12 May 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to meet its 2020 Aichi biodiversity targets and what its position is on whether the targets will be met.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 24 May 2016

Scotland's biodiversity strategy, Scotland's Biodiversity: It's in Your Hands, was published in 2004 and sets out how the government will conserve biodiversity for the health, enjoyment and wellbeing of the people of Scotland now and in the future. Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy (SBS), the ‘2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity’ was launched in 2013 and focuses on our desired outcomes for 2020. It is Scotland's response to the European Biodiversity Strategy for 2020 and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity 'Aichi' targets. It shows how the Scottish Government, its public agencies, Scottish businesses and others can contribute to the strategy's aims as well as supporting sustainable economic growth. It has adopted an ‘ecosystems approach’ which focusses on the need to protect ecosystems in order to support nature, wellbeing and a thriving economy.

In order to streamline effort, Scotland’s Biodiversity - a Route Map to 2020 was published in June 2015 to guide work towards the 2020 Aichi targets. The route map brings together the key work needed to deliver on the SBS, grouped under ‘Six Big Steps for Nature.’ Each of these steps include a range of actions that that are practical, delivered in partnership with others, and focus on delivering real improvements to biodiversity on the ground. There are 12 priority projects; 64 route map actions and 8 areas of supporting work in the route map. Both planning and implementation of the work in the route map has been through a cooperative approach with the Scottish Government, its agencies, environmental non-government organisations and others with a key role or interest in looking after Scotland’s biodiversity. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has a role in leading the delivery of the route map.

In order to monitor progress towards the Aichi targets SNH provides a six monthly update on progress with the SBS and route map. The most recent of these was published in December 2015 and it provided a selection of achievements in the first six months of route map action presented as Route Map Highlights.

These were:

Peatland restoration, ongoing on 5,580 ha through 107 agreements with land owners/managers.

National Peatland Plan published in August 2015.

Forestry Grant Scheme launched – first awards in November 2015.

INNS control ongoing in native woods in the National Forest Estate.

Physical restoration work ongoing on 14 water bodies across 5 catchments.

The Natural Capital Asset Index update presented to the World Forum on Natural Capital in November 2015.

The Outdoor Learning Directory was officially launched in September 2015 to provide a portal to services supporting outdoor learning provided by Scottish Government agencies with an environment and heritage remit.

The latest NHS greenspace demonstration project at Ailsa and Ayr hospital was formally opened in October 2015.

Doubled the number of citizen science and action projects being advertised from 40 - 80.

Five estates joined the ‘Heads Up for Hen Harriers’ project.

Volunteers being recruited to help deliver the wild cat monitoring programme.

Environmental Cooperation Action Fund launched in October 2015.

Final plans for management of 11 Marine Protected Areas and 10 Special Areas of Conservation published.

A further report on progress will be prepared for June 2016. With the support of SNH, the Scottish Government is closely monitoring progress towards the 2020 Aichi targets.