30 by 30 and Nature Networks Opening Event (June 2022)

The beginning of a year’s process to create the frameworks and implementation plans for the 30x30 and Nature Networks projects kicked off with over 150 attendees from a broad spectrum of interests across Scotland and the UK attending the event.

The beginning of a year’s process to create the frameworks and implementation plans for the 30x30 and Nature Networks projects kicked off with over 150 attendees from a broad spectrum of interests across Scotland and the UK attending the event.

Recording of 30x30 and Nature Networks online opening event

If you would like to take part in the polls and questions during the video, please use this form. 

Event summary 

The event was opened by Donald Henderson, Deputy Director of Natural Resources Division in Scottish Government. Donald set the context for the beginning of this work within wider work to progress the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. 

Lorna Slater MSP and Minster for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity welcomed the attendees. Earlier this month countries came together to continue negotiations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework ahead of COP15 in December. Ms Slater highlighted the need for a new, ‘bigger, better, more joined-up,’ landscape scale approach to nature restoration. This would rely on the expertise, knowledge and advice of land owners, land stewards, and land users that will ultimately direct action on the ground. Ms Slater also introduced the co-design process that will be taken forward in both 30x30 and Nature Networks and thanked contributors as we move forward. 

Ben Ross, Head of Protected Areas, Innovation and Data at NatureScot then set the scene, covering the decline of nature and the current and future potential trajectories. He also set the 30x30 and Nature Network projects within the strategic landscape of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and Environment Strategy. 

Nature Networks, at their simplest level, are about connection. Connectivity being key to biodiversity thriving, especially in the face of pressures and rapid change e.g., climate. The enhanced ecosystem services provided by Nature Networks also providing additional benefits to people. The Nature Network project will develop a framework and toolbox for implementation in part learning from actions of projects already taking place on the ground. 

30x30 is, in short, protecting and managing 30% of land and sea, for nature, by 2030. This is not only about protected areas but also other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). This is a big task ahead as we currently have just over 17% of land protected for nature. The 30x30 project will develop the framework and implementation plan for achieving the target and meeting our international obligations. 

For both projects area-based conservation measures, be it protected areas, OECMs or additional approaches, such as Open Space Strategies and green networks, will all play a vital role. 

Nigel Dudley, Fellow of UNEP-WCMC gave us an overview of the 30x30 target and ask highlighting the new emphasis on effectiveness, interconnectivity, integration and equitable management. Nigel also highlighted the role of indigenous and local people and communities in achieving this target, as well as utilising additional benefits nature-rich areas can provide to encourage sustainable financing options. For more information from Nigel on 30x30 see Best Practice in Delivering the 30x30 Target. 

Dougie Peedle from Scottish Wildlife Trust representing Scottish Environment Link, gave us an introductory piece on Nature Networks. Dougie highlighted the benefits connectivity through Nature Networks could bring, not only to biodiversity but also to communities, wellbeing, economy, and our response to the climate emergency. In terms of the where; ‘here, there and everywhere’, encouraging us to look to good examples from other nations and projects already happening in Scotland, and the use of other policies such as the National Planning Framework. 

Panel Session (Isobel Mercer, Julie Dewar, Alastair Whyte, Michael Clarke, Karen Ramoo) 

Panel members were then invited to tell us what opportunities they saw in 30x30 and Nature Networks, and what key principle is needed going forward within the two projects. There were shared feeling that the projects presented an opportunity to be ambitious and dynamic in our approach to area-based conservation. To both strengthen and improve on what has gone before, and produce significant results for biodiversity and climate resilience as well as wider benefits for people and society. 

There was recognition these projects represent an opportunity for a step-change in Scotland’s approach to area-based conservation, allowing us to move to a landscape scale, or ecosystem-level approach. This much more integrated approach improving both existing protected areas as well as ensuring new areas will be more impactful. There is also the opportunity to simplify the area-based conservation policy landscape, creating policy coherence, as well as a time to investigate the funding models that are required for long-term change. Additionally, looking at lessons learnt from past initiatives and projects, to identify barriers that prevented or minimised their success, will be important in planning how we successfully move forward. 

Finally, across the panel, there was a clear acknowledgment that the process needed to continue to be inclusive, accessible to all, and focus on building supportive relationships. Collaboration being a clear principle moving forward, with an opportunity to identify the role of different sectors, and enabling people to work together. 

Finally, Ben Ross closed explaining the timeline for these two projects, including the co-design approach being taken and next steps, which will be explained further on our website in the coming week.

Poll Summaries 

Throughout the webinar, attendees were able to input their views and opinions on what was being discussed. A summary of responses is given below which we’ll use to help shape the way we work going forwards. If you watched the event and would also like to input to the same questions, please see this form.  

Do you understand the challenge? 

Result: Yes – 69%, Getting there – 31%, No – 0% 

Following on from talks outlining NatureScot’s approach to these two projects and more in depth talks on both 30x30 and Nature Networks it was really encouraging to see so many people felt they understood the challenge. We’ll look to use this same material when explaining the challenges to others going forward, building on it to try get us to 100% of people understanding the challenge.  

Can you see the opportunities? 

Result: Yes – 64%, Getting there – 29%, No – 7% 

Once again it was really encouraging to see how such a broad spectrum of participants could see very early on how these projects present opportunities to either themselves, their sector or Scotland as a whole. Working with smaller groups we’ll aim to explore these opportunities further through the co-design process. 

What opportunities can you see in 30x30 and Nature Networks? 

With 80 responses, two strong themes came through; the opportunity these projects present to create a simplified and more joined up approach to area-based conservation and, the need to ensure all those with an interest are given the ability to feed in to, and help shape, the outcomes of these projects.  

As well as ideas and hopes for new approaches, many also saw opportunities for existing groups and networks to be involved in the process. 

Word cloud with responses full description provided on page
Word cloud of opportunities responses
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Word cloud with responses to "What opportunities can you see in 30x30 and Nature Networks?". The largest words include opportunity, change, needs, and areas.

How would you like to input to the co-design process? 

As expected, with many people having moved to a hybrid way of working, there was a real mix in how people wished to continue to be involved in the co-design process going forward with calls for both virtual and in person workshops.  

Word cloud of responses - full description provided on page
Word cloud of co-design responses
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Word cloud of responses to "How would you like to input to the co-design process?". Largest words include workshops, person, input.

This opening event was just the beginning of the co-design approach to 30x30 and Nature Networks. Please keep an eye on the 30x30 and Nature Networks page to keep up with the next event.


Nature Networks

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