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International Year of Plant Health 2020

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th November 2019.

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Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

Finlay Carson is right that we are in a biodiversity emergency. I do not think that I need to explain to anybody in the chamber just what an emergency we are in and the situation that we face. As well as the “State of Nature 2019” report, we had the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report earlier this year that stated that around a million species are expected to become extinct if we do not take action now to tackle climate change and biodiversity.

The two are, of course, intrinsically linked. That is why we put such emphasis on tackling invasive non-native species—I note that I took a question from Finlay Carson on invasive non-native species in portfolio questions a couple of weeks ago. As he has said, the research element is vital—I was at Forest Research recently to hear about the work that it does. The work that is done by the Plant Health Centre and others, which I talked about in my statement today, is vital. We are leading the way with that work, which brings together the scientific community to look at our research needs, so that we can prioritise and continue to be the world leader that I believe we are.