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Sea Scotland Conference

The 15th of June marked the start of the seventh edition of the Sea Scotland Conference, an annual conference series that aims to facilitate debate among the differing marine communities on the pivotal issues facing the marine environment here in Scotland. The theme of this year’s conference was “Scotland’s Place in the Global Ocean” which set out to explore how Scotland’s marine management compares to other maritime nations and to what extent can we learn from the successes made by other nations. Herein, I intend to shine light on certain presentations, discussions and workshops that were given in this year’s conference.

Figure 1: Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform – Mairi McAllan addressing the delegates via video message
Figure 1: Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform – Mairi McAllan addressing the delegates via video message

The first speaker, Daniela Diz, an associate professor working out of the Lyell Centre at Herriot Watt University, presented on the “Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF). This presentation set the scene for the conference and provided a global perspective to the challenges that humanity faces and of the solutions that are required to combat global biodiversity loss. Everything that was spoken thereafter was in part related to the strategic targets set out by this ambitious new framework. The implementation of this wide reaching framework intends to provide a pathway to combat the two most threatening global crises that we face today, the climate and the biodiversity crises. The framework has detailed 21 targets and 10 ‘milestones’ to be reached by 2030 in order for humanity to be ‘living in harmony with nature’ by 2050.

Three targets that closely aligned with the bulk of discussions over the ensuing days were:

· Target 3 “Ensure that at least 30 per cent globally of land areas and of sea areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and its contributions to people, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes”,

· Target 5 “Ensure that the harvesting, trade and use of wild species is sustainable, legal, and safe for human health” and lastly

· Target 20: “Ensure that relevant knowledge, including the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities with their free, prior, and informed consent, guides decision-making for the effective management of biodiversity, enabling monitoring, and by promoting awareness, education and research”.