Coronavirus (COVID-19): international development review - principles

International development principles.

Read the summary report on the review of Scottish Government’s International Development Programme in light of COVID-19 

Context and application

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a re-fresh of the Scottish Government’s approach to International Development. Coupled with that, the demand for change by the Black Lives Matter movement has raised serious questions to which all Governments should consider their response. This refresh of the Scottish Government’s International Development offer is to ensure our programme is future-proofed against an ever-changing global outlook. 

Vision (2016 ID Strategy)

The Scottish Government’s vision remains that through embedding the UN Global Goals, Scotland will contribute to sustainable development and the fight against poverty, injustice and inequality internationally.

Overarching ethos:

International Solidarity in an interdependent world means embedding a human rights approach in all our work. We speak out with clarity of purpose and compassion, in support of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Our programmes support: 

Partner-country led development

We recognise that countries prioritise their own needs and lead their own development, therefore we fund work that is aligned with national / local plans and other in-country development partners. In supporting partner-countries we make sure we have sufficient expertise and skills to form a partnership and add value, and also support them to move beyond aid to sustainable development, including adapting to the global climate emergency. 


We recognise the enduring and intersectional inequalities that exist and we ensure reducing inequalities is central to how we work. We oppose racism in all its forms and aspire to be anti-racist in our work. We prioritise the rights of women and girls, their advancement and equality.

Amplify global-south voices

We encourage advocacy by and in support of the global south including the poorest and those living in vulnerable situations. 

Inclusion and diversity

We question whose expertise we value, who we listen to and who holds the levers of power. We support new and innovative ways to break down barriers, to harness a diverse range of new voices and new ideas to drive change. 

Collaboration and partnerships

We build partnerships with a shared ethos and vision that benefit from expertise across partner countries to foster joint learning and co-create solutions to further our commitment in our 2016 International Development Strategy to the “Beyond Aid agenda”. 

Innovative, adapting and sustainable

We design programmes that are: flexible, resourceful and capable of responding to changing circumstances; are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, with interventions that consider long-term aims, and take account of risk. Recognising that we are facing a global climate emergency, we will support increasing resilience to climate change and to transition to becoming, as appropriate, net-zero economies in a way that is fair, just and leaves no one behind. 

Embrace technology

We support innovation to progress human health, wellbeing and environmental sustainability, such as improved access to digital services and using technology to reduce the need to travel, while acknowledging that technology can be a barrier to participation for some people in the global south.

Accountable, transparent and safe

The Scottish Government and our delivery partners are transparent and accountable to local communities and the general public in our partner countries and in Scotland; we ensure, that all of our work has appropriate safeguarding policies and practices in place. 

The Principles are available in Bemba, Chichewa and Kinyarwanda

Back to top