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Is Scotland on target for 2030? More work needed to achieve sustainable development goals

More work is needed if Scotland is to achieve SDG targets
"The recent upsurge in interest in major action on climate change is very positive, but needs to be capitalised on with policy and consumer behaviour changes to match the rhetoric"

An independent report focussing on Scotland’s progress against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals has found that, despite some advances, the country is not on target to achieve a number of the goals and further action is therefore needed.

The report, produced by a partnership between the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and Oxfam, reflects that whilst there is clear policy and political commitment on all the Goals in Scotland, more needs to be done in some areas to meet the 2030 targets.

The James Hutton Institute was asked to examine Scotland’s progress with regard to Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Professor Derek Stewart, Hutton agri-food sector lead, said:

“Scotland is definitely on track to deliver on many of the SDG 12 targets such as sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, substantially reducing waste generation and food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

“However, Scotland’s national views on responsible production and consumption are not the same. The country is a land of dichotomies: fantastic produce, but terrible health related to multiple factors including dietary behaviours. It produces some of the world’s best shellfish, but more than 95% of it is exported to Mediterranean countries. Scotland’s most prolific crop, barley, besides being the base ingredient for whisky, also can be the basis of many very nutritious and health-promoting foods. However, besides soup very little is done with it.

“All that being said, there needs to be a solid political and governmental commitment to continued support for Scotland’s responsible production and consumption of food. This could take the form of both support mechanisms (funding, advice, knowledge hubs, demonstration platforms) and legislation against irresponsible behaviours. Food is a major industry in Scotland. The food industry, via the Scottish Government, support the industry group Scotland Food and Drink, and have realised that they need to pull together to realise their ambition to double the turnover in farming, fishing, and food and drink to £30 billion by 2030.

“This national approach is driven by the desire to be ‘champions of responsible and sustainable production’ and ‘change behaviours around food and drink consumption’. The James Hutton Institute has the pleasure of being part of this national process dealing with innovations to deliver these aims.”

Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the Institute, commented: "The recent upsurge in interest in major action on climate change is very positive, but needs to be capitalised on with policy and consumer behaviour changes to match the rhetoric. Reduction and mitigation measures are no longer the issue: it’s transformational changes that are needed.

"The SDGs are becoming more widely known now but the James Hutton Institute have had them into our strategic objectives since 2015, and have aligned all our work within them to help drive their delivery."

Other findings of the report suggest that the negative effects of slow progress on the Goals are felt disproportionately by low-income households. This undermines the cross-cutting commitment of all UN Sustainable Development Goals to ‘leave no-one behind’.

Similarly, the report argues that improving progress is not just up to the government, and that Scotland need action especially from business and the third sector, as well as individuals to deliver the goals; and that the participation of citizens, consumers, and communities, is important for progress on the SDGs.

The report On Target for 2030? An independent snapshot review of Scotland’s progress against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, can be downloaded from the UWS-Oxfam partnership website.

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Printed from /news/scotland-target-2030-more-work-needed-achieve-sustainable-development-goals on 16/04/24 05:57:23 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.