Contribution to international development report: 2017-2018

First ever Contribution to International Development Report takes a holistic look at a wide cross-section of Scottish Government international development activity, and presents it within the context of the UN Global Goals.


Part 1: Background to the Report

International development is a key part of Scotland's global contribution within the international community. It exemplifies Scotland's core values of fairness and equality and is about Scotland acting as a good global citizen.

This first ever Contribution to International Development Report was a Scottish Government Programme for Government commitment in 2017.

This Report therefore takes a holistic look at a wide cross-section of Scottish Government international development activity, and presents it within the context of the UN Global Goals. As this is the first ever such Report, it is expected that it will evolve over time, as the international development context changes, and in response to feedback from our partner countries and civil society in Scotland.

We also expect the Report to change over time as the new revised National Performance Framework ( NPF) beds in (see more under Part 3: Context of the Report). The revised NPF was launched on 11 June 2018 by the First Minister, providing the framework for the Scottish Government, in terms of our purpose, our values and the outcomes we seek. Collectively these set out the country we want to create, the Scotland we want to see. We will therefore be considering the interaction in future between our commitment to produce an annual international development report and reporting under the new NPF under which the Scottish Government pledges to be: "…open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally." The naming of this Report deliberately aligns with the language of that new National Outcome for the Scottish Government's international work, to ensure coherence with that wider framework.

Part 2: Content of the Report

This inaugural Report brings together, for the first time, the Scottish Government's overall contribution to international development, through the:

  • International Development Fund ( IDF): managed by the International Development Team, working to Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development.
  • Humanitarian Emergency Fund ( HEF): managed by the International Development Team, working to Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development.
  • Climate Justice Fund ( CJF): managed by the Climate Change Delivery Hub (Malawi Climate Challenge Fund and Climate Justice Innovation Fund) and the Water Industry Team (Water Futures Programme), both teams working to Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.
  • Policies and work of wider Ministerial portfolios which contribute to international development outcomes.

International Development Fund

International Development Fund ( IDF)

Under the Scottish Government's International Development Strategy (2016), the IDF is now split between three separate funding streams: Development Assistance; Capacity Strengthening; and Investment. All projects or initiatives funded under any one of these funding streams must contribute to achieve our Vision and implement our Priorities, as set out in the Strategy. We are clear that not only development assistance projects, but also capacity strengthening initiatives and any investment funding must contribute to sustainable development and the fight against poverty, injustice and inequality internationally.

Humanitarian Emergency Fund ( HEF)

Our £1 million HEF was established from April 2017. Its purpose is to provide immediate and effective assistance to reduce the threat to life and wellbeing of a large number of a population caused by disasters, disease or conflict.

Chapter Six sets out HEF spend and activity during 2017-18.

Climate Justice Fund ( CJF)

Climate justice recognises that the poor and vulnerable at home and overseas are the first to be affected by climate change, and will suffer the worst, yet have done little or nothing to cause the problem. We launched the CJF in 2012 to help tackle the effects of climate change in the poorest, most vulnerable countries, with a £3 million budget. In 2014, a further tranche of £3 million was added to the CJF to fund more projects. In 2015, at COP21 in Paris, we committed to providing £3 million per year from 2016 to 2021. The CJF is in addition to our annual £10 million IDF.

Climate Justice Fund

From 2017, £2 million of the CJF, managed by the Climate Change Delivery Hub, is being distributed via two new programmes: the Climate Challenge Programme Malawi ( CCPM), and the Climate Justice Innovation Fund ( CJIF).

The remaining £1 million of CJF spend is on the Water Futures Programme in Malawi, managed by the Water Industry Team, under the Scotland the Hydro Nation budget.

Chapters Seven and Eight set out CJF spend and its contribution to international development.

Part 3: Context of the Report

Scottish Government international development

Like all other parts of the UK, Scotland has always contributed through its taxpayers to the UK Government's international development work - delivered through the Department for International Development ( DFID) and other UK Government Departments such as Foreign & Commonwealth Office ( FCO) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). International relations are reserved to Westminster; however, with agreement of the UK Government, the Scottish Government established its international development footprint from 2005.

Our International Development work is funded from within the Scottish Government's own budget and, like any other part of that budget, is subject to Scottish Parliament approval and scrutiny. Our official development assistance ( ODA) spend is included by UK Government within its overall ODA return to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD), and is counted by the UK towards its commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income ( GNI) on ODA.

What we seek to capture in this Report, therefore, is that additional contribution which the Scottish Government makes to international development within that devolved constitutional context - whether through our three Funds ( IDF, CJF and the HEF), or through wider policy activity across our Ministerial portfolios.

The Scottish Government international development activities are mainly focused within our four partner countries, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, and Pakistan, to which Scotland has historical and contemporary connections. Dr Livingstone campaigned against slavery in Malawi and Zambia. There are strong contemporary links between Scotland and Pakistan, including the large Pakistani diaspora in Scotland, and the Scottish Government has been a development partner with Rwanda for a decade. Our humanitarian emergency assistance covers a wider geographic spread.

Commitment to Development Index

The Commitment to Development Index ( CDI), published annually by the Center for Global Development, ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit people living in poorer nations. It looks across a range of activity and policies of every country, including aid contributions, environmental policies, trade policies and migration policies.

The CDI appears to make the case that small countries can do international development well and can, overall, make a disproportionately positive contribution to international development. In the CDI 2017, Denmark ranks first, Sweden second and Finland third; France and Germany complete the top five, with the UK ranked jointly at seventh place with the Netherlands. In the devolved setting in terms of international development powers and budget, and without powers in relation to key policies such as security and migration, the Scottish Government commitment and contribution to international development cannot currently be benchmarked internationally.

However, we can still play our part globally and strive to be a good global citizen within the current constitutional settlement. The CDI illustrates the importance of policy coherence for development and the "Beyond Aid" agenda. Through this Report, therefore, we still aim to illustrate the areas where the Scottish Government is contributing to development outcomes, and to look ahead at areas where we might concentrate in future, working collaboratively with civil society.

Brexit Implications for International Development

Any report of activity during 2017-18 could not fail to also mention Brexit.

For our international development partner countries and other developing countries, there is a concern to ensure that low-income countries are not disadvantaged by new trade arrangements. This is a concern shared both by civil society in Scotland and by the Scottish Government.

Scotland's International Development Alliance, writing for the Scottish Centre on European Relations in December 2017, made the point that "Making sure free trade agreements with wealthier countries are proven to be 'policy coherent' and do not undermine developing country competitors presents a further opportunity and challenge. To do this, we must ensure that UK trade and investment policies are compatible with international commitments on the environment, climate change, human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals".

On 14 January 2018, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt pledged to use Britain's foreign aid as part of a "bold new Brexit-ready proposition to boost trade and investment with developing countries". Daily Telegraph article. In response to this, the then Scottish Government Minister for International Development and Europe, Dr Alasdair Allan wrote to Ms Mordaunt that:

"I was concerned to read that you intend to use UK aid to mitigate the negative impacts of Brexit on trade and investment with the UK's security and prosperity key factors in deciding how aid is spent. The reiteration that aid spend must be 'in the national interest' was particularly disappointing…

"I hope that aid spend by the UK Government, whether by DFID or via the increasing role of other UK departments, will clearly be designed to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries - not the UK's own national interest, now or post-Brexit."


The Scottish Government supports focussing UK aid on areas where development is most needed, and where it can be more effective, deliver greater impact and provides value for money - provided that this is by reference to the interests of the developing countries concerned and not by reference to the UK's national interest.

There is concern too in Scotland's international development sector about loss of EU funding. It will be important to secure continued access for organisations across the UK, including Scotland, to EU funding to deliver their vital work. As the Alliance has described it: "Uncertainty and Brexit seem synonymous. The simple fact is that, at this point, large amounts of funding for UK based NGOs are uncertain post Brexit."

The Alliance has also raised that, beyond funding, there are other less obvious impacts that many Scottish international NGOs are already starting to see as a result of the changing dynamic between ourselves and the rest of the EU. These include an apparent loss of trust and a resulting 'cooling' of what were once close relationships with European partners, who are all so deeply committed to international cooperation and collaboration for the world's poorest and most vulnerable.

More widely, we also share the concerns of Scotland's civil society about the potential negative impact of Brexit on societal attitudes here in Scotland. Any rise of xenophobia and intolerance of EU citizens and other nationalities must be challenged; and we reiterate our support for a spirit of internationalism and international solidarity to shine out from Scotland, with continued support for international development by the Scottish Government.

Scottish Government Revised National Performance Framework

Throughout 2017-18, the Scottish Government publicly reviewed its National Outcomes for Scotland - the NPF, which had since 2007 measured our national wellbeing beyond gross domestic product ( GDP). The NPF and the UN Global Goals share the same spirit of ambition and vision for a better world. Given this shared ambition and vision, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs) have now been embedded into the NPF National Outcomes in Scotland, a decision announced by First Minister in 2015.

The new revised NPF ( National Performance Framework) was launched on 11 June 2018 by the First Minister, following its approval by the Scottish Parliament. The revised NPF includes 11 National Outcomes that set out the kind of country we want to be, with 81 National Indicators that will be used to track and measure progress towards achieving them. Included is an international National Outcome, where the Scottish Government pledges to be: "…open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally". The international development indicator which sits underneath that National Outcome measures "Contribution of development support to other nations".

The new NPF provides a framework for making Scotland a more sustainable country, across the range of UN Global Goals. Indeed, the NPF is specifically aligned to, and is compatible with, the UN Global Goals. As a result, for example, the Scottish Government will now report the proportion of energy we generate from renewable sources. Scotland was one of the first countries to show political leadership in committing not just to the Global Goals, but to our intended method of domestic implementation, through the NPF.

Part 4: Key Cross-Cutting Themes of the Report

There are key themes that have been integral to both our approach to our international development work during 2017-18, as well as forming strands of work in themselves. These include: policy coherence for development; human rights; working collaboratively with civil society; and safeguarding.

Policy Coherence for Development: "Do No Harm" and Additional Value

The Scottish Government is committed to an international "do no harm" approach and to the Beyond Aid agenda. This means that we are taking a stepwise approach to eliminate policy incoherences and identify policies beyond international development policy that can contribute positively to development outcomes. Policy coherence for development ( PCD) is a simple but powerful premise that means no policy, be it for agriculture, trade, tax or migration, should detract from a country's international development goals or efforts. Ideally policies should support one-another in attaining these goals and in this way a country's "overall contribution to development" is assessed, not only through its aid budget but its wider policies and their impact on developing countries.

This Report documents the key areas of Scottish Government work across other Ministerial portfolios which are currently supporting international aims and contributing positively to development outcomes. We cover these at: Chapter Seven (Climate Change & Climate Justice Fund); Chapter Eight (Climate Justice Fund - Water Futures); Chapter Nine (Global Citizenship in NHSScotland); and Chapter Ten (Education Scotland).

In this inaugural Report, following initial discussions with civil society representatives with a particular interest in policy coherence, we also highlight the initial areas of Scottish Government policy identified by civil society and where we have agreed to work collaboratively on PCD as the start of a longer term partnership for positive development outcomes.

Human rights

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights treaties.

"We reaffirm the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other international instruments relating to human rights and international law. We emphasize the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, to respect, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other status." [ UN's "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", Para 19]

We have set out in our Strategy the approach we will take towards 2030 to help reduce global poverty and promote sustainable development, which cannot be achieved apart from action to raise human rights standards. We have committed that we will embed human rights in all our development work; our current projects are helping people in Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Pakistan to realise their rights to education, the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and a decent standard of living.

Although our projects are designed specifically to improve conditions for vulnerable people, within these communities we pay particular regard to the most vulnerable. Moreover, all of our development work will have at its core, and as a primary focus, the interests of our partner countries and their people - this remains key for issues like safeguarding.

Civil Society

The Scottish Government values the role civil society plays as an agent of effective change and accountability, in particular for the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

The Scottish Government will continue to collaborate with civil society organisations, with a view to promoting and protecting human rights, implementing and improving sustainable development, and maximising our funding. In particular, Chapter Eleven of this Report sets out the contribution of the four international development networking originations which we core fund under the IDF: the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Scotland's International Development Alliance, the Scotland Malawi Partnership ( SMP) and its sister organisation in Malawi, the Malawi Scotland Partnership ( MaSP).

Safeguarding the beneficiaries of our international development work

In the light of media reports in February 2018 of serious misconduct and sexual abuse by staff working in the international development sector, specifically in relation to vulnerable groups, we published our safeguarding policy in March 2018. This sets out our expectations on the standards from those we fund to provide services to those people and communities who look to our support at their time of greatest need.

We made clear that we expect our partner organisations wherever they are to monitor their work closely, and to be open, honest and transparent whenever there are any suggestions of abuse or malpractice. This is reflected in our grant conditions, which we also updated from 12 March 2018, to now make it explicit that partner organisations must have robust safeguarding policies in place (and have carried out due diligence on their in-country partner in that regard too), and notify any safeguarding incidents as well as any irregular financial activity. Any new funding will be subject to those new conditions.

Safeguarding will continue to form an integral part of our international development work in the years ahead, and we will continue to work with regulatory authorities, with Scotland's International Development Alliance and with UK DFID on this important issue. Towards that, we are currently working in collaboration with Scotland's International Development Alliance towards the development of a Safeguarding Support Package for international development organisations in Scotland. It is envisaged that the Package will form a suite of tools including templates, guidance and access to training and advice, owned and managed by the Alliance, with support from the Scottish Government.


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