Sharing Scotland’s Contribution on Biodiversity Beyond 2020

Scotland Europa is delighted to share this blog from Scottish Natural Heritage Chief Executive Francesca Osowska.  

At the beginning of November, I was invited by Scotland Europa to take part in their Scotland House Discussion series.  The title of the event was ‘Biodiversity Beyond 2020 – Scotland’s Contribution’.  This was a great opportunity to talk to a number of invited guests from a range of EU Institutions and organisations based in Brussels about the positive work Scottish Natural Heritage is doing to meet the challenges that we all face in terms of caring for our nature and landscapes, now and for the future. 

In my speech I highlighted a range of projects including, the Habitat Map of Scotland which is a ‘living atlas’ of nature, a map of our land and freshwater habitats classified to European standards. The Green Infrastructure Fund, our largest ever investment in urban green infrastructure, a 45 million Euro programme of work, supported in part by a 20 million Euro contribution from the European Regional Development Fund. Our ground breaking work on developing the concept of natural capital. Scotland was the first country to devise a Natural Capital Asset Index (NCAI) – which assesses the quality and quantity of land-based habitats in Scotland and their contributions to human wellbeing. The Dynamic Coast project, which involves mapping and categorising the resilience of Scotland’s natural coastal defences and estimating how future climate change may exacerbate erosion on our soft erodible coast.  This work has revolutionised our understanding of the threats posed by coastal erosion. 

Following my speech we had time for a discussion about the challenges facing us all with a lot of commonality across the countries represented. Scotland was complimented on its approach to biodiversity and to green infrastructure, “one of the best in the EU” according to a Commission official.

Whilst in Brussels I was also able to attend the European Environmental Bureau conference on future environmental policy.  One of the sessions was on biodiversity and there were fascinating discussions on how to grab the public attention: did we need to catastrophise?; what metrics would help? Some interesting food for thought. 

The aim of my visit to Brussels was to build on existing relationships and develop new ones to help us maintain profile and influence in Europe through the EU Exit period and beyond.  We fulfilled this aim with some very useful contacts made and some follow up conversations already started which will help us to develop our strategy for future European engagement. 

Thank you Scotland Europa.

Eleanor McKeegan - Scotland Europa - December 4, 2018