Biodiversity policy in the UK: Four strategies, one objective

06 November 2012 | Article

Each of the four countries in the United Kingdom have developed their strategic thinking on biodiversity and produced their own strategies. Helpfully, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and DEFRA, the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, have produced the UK Biodiversity Framework which is designed to identify the activities needed to galvanise and complement country strategies, in pursuit of the Aichi targets agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya in 2011.

This is an important framework that is owned, governed and implemented by the four countries, assisted by DEFRA and JNCC in their UK co-ordination capacities. Although differing in details and approach, the four UK countries have published strategies which promote the same principles and address the same global targets: joining-up their approach to biodiversity across sectors; and identifying, valuing and protecting our ‘Natural Capital’.

In 2010, a review chaired by Professor Sir John Lawton produced ‘Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network’ also known as ‘the Lawton Report’. Together with the evidence provided in 2011 by the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, the first of its kind in the world, these set the stage for new legislation – a Natural Environment White Paper – ‘Natural Choice, Securing the Value of Nature’ which developed some of these ideas with some financial support.

So, evidence, policy and practice are coming together in the UK to produce some significant steps forward towards more cohesive, landscape-scale strategy and implementation as well as improved understanding of the need for the natural environment to feature in the green economy.

Links to country strategies:
England: Biodiversity 2020 – a strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services 
Scotland: Scotland’s Biodiversity strategy – it’s in your hands (2004) under review (2012)
Wales: Wales Biodiversity Partnership
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy