Scotland’s two National Parks have become the first in the UK to sign up to a new international commitment to reversing nature loss.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority and Cairngorms National Park Authority have officially become signatories of the Edinburgh Declaration.
The Declaration, which the Scottish Government published in August 2019, is a statement of intent outlining how subnational governments and local authorities will work together to take bold action on tackling loss of biodiversity.
The commitment demonstrates the two National Park Authorities’ ambitions around nature as leading environment bodies in Scotland. It commits to standing with other public bodies to deliver transformative actions on nature by increasing resources and building capacity for nature-based solutions, raising public awareness, working locally with partner bodies and private businesses, and aligning with national plans and strategies. Both Parks have ambitious plans for large scale expansion of native woodlands and restoring damaged peatlands, two actions that help tackle both the loss of nature and climate change.
Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change is a national and international imperative and must be central to our green recovery from Covid-19.
“The Scottish Government recognises the key role that peatland restoration and tree planting can play in this recovery and their ability to enhance biodiversity, sequester carbon and create good, green jobs in our communities. I am pleased to see that our National Parks already have ambitious plans to increase this work.
“The Edinburgh Declaration makes it clear that, together with governments, cities and local authorities across the world, the Scottish Government and partners such as our National Park authorities are ready to meet the challenge of delivering the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and play a strong role in its implementation.
“Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority Board agreed to sign up to the declaration and to use the commitment as a platform for building on the Authority’s Conservation and Land Management work and to create a stronger identity and common purpose for all those with a stake in nature in the National Park, through a shared ‘FutureNature’ routemap.
James Stuart, Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “At a time of global crises, the nature crisis can sometimes be blurred with the climate emergency but it’s important to recognise this global issue in its own right. The Edinburgh Declaration provides an opportunity to step up our ambitions and our commitment to tackling global biodiversity loss. We will use this as a platform to build on the successes we’ve had so far through our Wild Park programme and other nature conservation initiatives, and to work on a regional scale with partners, including communities and businesses, to achieve greater outcomes for this special place and precious natural resource.”
The Cairngorms National Park Authority is committed to tackling biodiversity loss through the Cairngorms Nature partnership, which delivers landscape scale conservation projects alongside priority species work through five year action plans. The key aim of Cairngorms Nature is to create more diversity and an even greater abundance of distinctive habitats and species in the National Park.
Xander McDade, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority explains: “Biodiversity loss in Scotland cannot be ignored and we all have a part to play in making the changes needed. The Edinburgh Declaration is an important milestone in the fight to make those changes. It will allow us to focus our work through Cairngorms Nature, as we partner with the landowners, communities and businesses of the National Park, to create a sustainable future for people and nature.”
Notes to editors
More information about the Edinburgh Declaration.
The Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority Board approved this report on the Edinburgh Declaration and ‘FutureNature’ proposal at a meeting on Monday 7th December 2020.