The Scottish Government and NatureScot recognise the importance of the natural environment to our prosperity as a nation and to people’s health and well-being, as well as our responsibility to address the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.
The link between biodiversity and climate change is now well established and well understood. Climate change is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss and destruction of ecosystems undermines nature's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and protect against extreme weather, thus accelerating climate change and increasing vulnerability to it.
Scottish Ministers have stated that the challenges facing biodiversity loss are as important as the challenge of combatting climate change. Influential publications such as The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystems (2019), the Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming’ report (2019), and the State of Nature Scotland report (2019) clearly identify the importance of investing in nature. For example, the restoration of peatland makes a significant contribution to reducing the impacts of climate change whilst at the same time achieving biodiversity improvements.
In addition, people’s wellbeing improves when they are able to live, work and play in nature-rich environments. The reports underpin new commitments by Scottish Government and have highlighted the need for more sectors of society to build in ways of carrying out their business that protect biodiversity. In the public sector, Scottish Government and public bodies need to work with our wider society to in order to raise people’s awareness and their ability to protect biodiversity. The reports have also led to increased collaboration with colleagues working on climate change.
The Programme Board is co-chaired by Kevin Quinlan (Director Environment and Forestry Directorate - Scottish Government) and Francesca Osowska (Chief Executive - NatureScot) and includes staff from both organisations as well as specialist advisors. In addition, a Programme Advisory Group provides expert technical advice and a Stakeholder Engagement Group brings together a wide range of interests, these groups provide a forum for open and constructive dialogue, sharing information, updating on progress and exchanging views to help develop the new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.