An international agreement to ensure action is taken at all levels to protect biodiversity is being supported by the Scottish Government.
A statement of intent, known as The Edinburgh Declaration, has been agreed between subnational, regional and local governments across the world calling on the Convention on Biodiversity to take bold action to halt biodiversity loss.
It also calls for greater prominence be given to the role subnational governments, cities and local authorities play in delivering a new global framework of targets, set to be agreed next year.
The Scottish Government said the Edinburgh Declaration is the result of a year-long international collaboration.
Due to the pandemic, Scotland’s commitment to host and lead an international workshop to drive the discussions moved to an online format over the summer.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives.
“But the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change have not gone away – far from it – and must be central to our green recovery.
“Whilst Scotland’s progress on the current internationally-agreed biodiversity targets compares favourably with the global picture, it is concerning that, at an international level, none of these targets have been fully met.
“It is my firm belief – one shared by all signatories of the Edinburgh Declaration – that State-led action alone is not sufficient to put us on a path to recovery, achieving what is required to protect biodiversity across the globe.
“The Edinburgh Declaration makes it clear that the Scottish Government, together with subnational governments, cities and local authorities across the world, stand ready to meet the challenge of delivering the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and play a stronger role in its implementation.”
The Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is provisionally due to take place in China from May 17-30 2021.
It is anticipated that a final agreement on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be agreed at COP 15 to support the CBD’s 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature”.
Francesca Osowska, chief executive of NatureScot, said: “The Edinburgh Declaration puts Scotland on the international stage, a clear sign of our intent to tackle biodiversity loss and protect nature.
“This isn’t just about conservation, enriching our nature is also part of the solution to the climate emergency and is a vital part of a green recovery from Covid-19.
“Global targets for nature and climate change aren’t just set by nation states – it also needs the world’s subnational governments, agencies – and all of us – to push for transformational change.”
The subnational governments which have signed the initial declaration are Scotland, Wales and Quebec.
The subnational networks to have signed are ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), Regions4 (Regions4 Sustainable Development) and GoLS (Group of leading Subnational Governments towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets).