Scottish Parliament fails to declare a Nature Emergency - RSPB

Despite a wide-ranging debate showing the Scottish Parliament’s increasing concern for nature, it misses a vital opportunity to declare a Nature Emergency.

RSPB Scotland has described the outcome of this afternoon’s vote of the Scottish Parliament, as a ‘missed opportunity’ to declare a nature emergency in Scotland, given all the evidence that nature is facing a major collapse.

Today, MSPs in the Scottish Parliament decided to pass a motion, which noted the catastrophic collapse in biodiversity globally and in Scotland, but stopped short of declaring a nature emergency as was originally tabled by Mark Ruskell MSP, as the Scottish Government decided to remove reference to the nature emergency from the motion.

RSPB Scotland says that it is extremely concerning, given the scale and urgency of the nature emergency, that Scotland’s political parties failed to come together and reach agreement on this critical issue.

Aedán Smith, Head of Policy and Advocacy at RSPB Scotland, said: “Many people have turned to nature during this difficult year, whilst for others a lack of access to nature has made the challenges of COVID-19 even harder. We knew that nature was in trouble and needed our help long before this pandemic, but we also know that investing in nature’s recovery can tackle many other societal issues, such as creating long-term jobs, resilient, diverse economies and delivering improvements to quality of life, health and wellbeing.”

“It is disappointing that the Scottish Parliament missed this opportunity to declare a nature emergency and provide the momentum needed for urgent action to restore Scotland’s amazing nature. As a starting point, we hope that the parties can now come together to urgently agree ambitious nature recovery targets and create a clear, well-funded and robust plan of action for addressing the nature emergency.”

In 2019 a UN report found that nature is declining at an unprecedented rate across the world. Here in Scotland, the 2019 State of Nature Report found that 49% of species have declined and 1 in 9 species is at risk from extinction. The loss of nature is driven predominantly by: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive non-native species.

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Posted On: 19/11/2020

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