Orkney Islands Council Set to Sign The Global Biodiversity Framework : The Edinburgh Declaration

Despite an attempt to reject the proposal to sign the Edinburgh Declaration councillors on OIC’s Policy and Resources Committee voted 16 to 2 in favour of doing so.

The Edinburgh Declaration recognises the ‘need for transformative change across terrestrial and marine ecosystems’ and ‘the significant implications that the loss of biodiversity and climate change has on our livelihood and communities’.

Commenting on the decision by OIC, Scottish Green Party Councillor Steve Sankey said :

“I welcome this initiative from the Scottish Government called the Edinburgh Declaration.

“Two years ago Scottish Environment Link published a seminal report they called State of Nature Scotland 2019. It contained some shocking data. Half of our species in Scotland have declined since recording of them began, and 10% are at risk of extinction. That data alone means that this Declaration is worthy of signature.

“Closer to home in Orkney, I recently witnessed a devasting decade for our seabirds, with virtually no breeding success for Arctic terns – indeed the old blizzard of thousands of terns on the North Hill on Papay is now down to just snowflakes of 3 or 4 pairs. We’ve also lost 90% of our Kittiwakes. We know this because of the importance of our own OIC biological recording unit which plays a key role in Orkney.

“There are more positive stories, such that we in Orkney hold a fifth of breeding hen harriers in the UK, and we are now the epicentre of UK curlew breeding productivity a species which has declined by nearly half in the UK, and which of course is now under threat here from the arrival of non-native stoats. I’m therefore very pleased that OIC is a formal partner in the ONWP.

“Biodiversity also means business, and wildlife and scenery always feature as a priority in visitor surveys to Orkney, so it’s worth our while to look after it, because it underpins so many tourism jobs and a minimum of £50m into our economy, well at least in normal circumstances.”

The defeated Amendment not to sign was proposed by Councillor Tullock and seconded by Councillor Tierney.

Click on this link to find a list of the current signatories to The Edinburgh Declaration.

Arctic terns Dam of Hoxa image credit Bell

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