At the current scale we are witnessing, global biodiversity loss represents a grave threat to human populations. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) warns that without sufficient biodiversity, global food production will becoming increasingly volatile, consequently threatening global food security (FAO, 2019). Pollution, changes in land-use and climate change continue to ravage local habitats.
The most recent biodiversity indicators published by the Department for Environment, Rural and Agricultural Affairs (Defra) found that just over half of the long-term measures included within the government's Biodiversity 2020 Strategy demonstrated an 'improvement' in 2018 (Defra, 2019). The landmark Agriculture Bill 2017-19 is expected to deliver transformative change to the existing farming subsidy system. Farmers will begin to receive payment in exchange for producing 'public goods' under a revised Environmental Land Management System (Defra, 2018). The intended effect is to create a fairer balance between farming for food production and maintaining critical biodiversity. Additionally, an ongoing consultation by the Government seeks to determine whether the concept of 'biodiversity net gain' should be formally embedded within local planning permission authorisation processes.
Despite sustained engagement by policy-makers, progress towards securing UK biodiversity has fallen short of targets and ambitions. Ten measures within the 2020 strategy show a decline in the long-term with a further nine showing decline in the short-term (Defra, 2019). Critics argue that policy change has been, 'too slow, and limited to certain natural systems', precipitating the 'age of environmental breakdown' (IPPR, 2019).
This symposium therefore represents a unique and timely opportunity for national government, local authorities, environmental organisations, developers, third sector organisations and other key stakeholders to examine progress towards biodiversity targets. Delegates will also contribute to the development of innovative future strategies to promote and safeguard national biodiversity.
Speakers include Diana Pound CEnv, Managing Director at Dialogue Matters and a Highly Commended Finalist of the 2019 Environmental Professional of the Year Award and Richard Barnes, Lead Government Affairs Officer at the Woodland trust.
Examine progress made towards the Biodiversity 2020 targets and discuss remaining challenges in achieving strategic ambitions
Explore the potential impact of the Agriculture Bill 2017-19 and a new subsidy system on promoting national biodiversity
Assess key local measures and initiatives used to deliver national biodiversity targets
Explore methods that businesses may adopt to effectively integrate conservation into their practices and halt biodiversity loss
Generate priorities to build a stronger and more effective national biodiversity strategy post-2020
Explore ways to increase public awareness and engage communities on biodiversity programmes and initiatives
Contribute insights on how increased integration and collaboration between public bodies at the local level can support national biodiversity strategy
Share best practice and interact with colleagues on the progress, successes and challenges of promoting and protecting biodiversity at the national and local levels
To find out more and book your place, please click here