Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and COP 15

Find out about COP15 and the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy

A two-part strategy

The original strategy – Scotland’s Biodiversity: It’s in Your Hands – was published in 2004. In 2013, it was supplemented by the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity. The two documents together now constitute the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. The 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity sets out the major steps needed to improve the state of nature in Scotland. The work needed to deliver this is, however, complex and challenging.


Scotland’s 2020 Challenge aims to:

  • protect and restore biodiversity on land and in our seas, and to support healthy ecosystems
  • connect people with the natural world, for their health and well-being, and to involve them more in decision making
  • maximise the benefits for Scotland of a diverse natural environment and the services it provides, contributing to sustainable economic growth.

The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy indicators are used to see how well we are progressing with these aims.

Meeting the 2020 Challenge

To meet the 2020 Challenge, Scotland must focus on tackling the key pressures on biodiversity.

Scotland’s Biodiversity: A Route Map to 2020 was launched in 2015 to help direct priorities for action. It is not a catalogue of current and planned action. Instead it sets out six Big Steps for Nature, plus the various priority projects needed to achieve each big step.

NatureScot is tasked by the Scottish Government with leading the delivery of the Route Map and the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy working groups. Each working group is entrusted with a specific aspect of biodiversity conservation.

Ecosystem approach

The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy clearly identifies that biodiversity conservation calls for an ecosystem approach. Nature provides us with many ecosystem services, though they’re not always obvious to us. Adopting an ecosystem approach can help to secure these benefits for future generations. This requires the involvement of a wide range of organisations, government departments and businesses.

People are part of ecosystems

We benefit from the services they provide, from clean water, to the health benefits of a walk in the woods. Ecosystem health is a measure of the status of ecosystems. Find out about Ecosystem Health Indicators.

Future biodiversity work

The Scottish Biodiversity Programme has been created to coordinate all current and future biodiversity work between NatureScot and Scottish Government. You can find out more by reading our brief overview of the Programme, with more information to follow during 2020.

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