Correspondence relating to International Development: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. The agreement with the UK government, or formal arrangement documentation from the UK government, which allowed and continues to allow the Scottish Government to establish its International Development Footprint from 2005 together with any amendments to such an agreement or arrangement.

2.  A copy of the Global Goals Partnership Agreement with the President of Malawi signed by the First Minister on behalf of both governments on 23 April 2018.

3.  The budget, for the latest budget year, for the International Development department of the Scottish Government.


1. Attached is a copy of the letter, dated 23 May 2005, from the Secretary of State for International Development (UK Government) to the Scottish Government (formerly Scottish Executive), in which the UK Government agrees (in respect of the Scotland Act) to the Scottish Government establishing an international development footprint. The letter refers to the relevant policy document which is also attached for your information.

As indicated in the letter, the two Governments agreed to work together on international development, with the Scottish Government being recognised as assisting the UK Government in doing so. The two Governments have continued to do so over the last 15 years, with Ministerial and official level meetings in relation to international development work, including the Scottish Government programme, as it has evolved.

Some key examples are outlined below, for your information, of previous and ongoing areas of discussion and cooperation, which show the consistent and continuing approach of the Scottish Minsters (for the purposes of the Scotland Act) in assisting UK Government Ministers, with their agreement, on international development matters.

Scottish Government programme development
When the Scottish Government undertook its consultation which led to its 2016 International Development Strategy, as part of that a consultative meeting was held with the then Department for International Development (DFID). In the most recent review by the Scottish Government of its approach to international development, in light of Covid-19, and as a part of the wider review process, the UK Government was again formally invited to discuss that review.

UK Government/Scottish Government cooperation on Safeguarding in international development
The Scottish Government has worked collaboratively with UKG on safeguarding issues in the international development sector, including agreeing to the request from DFID to the Scottish Government as a recognised donor sign up to their scheme of Donor Commitments to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the international aid sector. 

UK Government inclusion of Scottish Government international development spend as part of overall UK ODA
Scottish Government Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend is included by the 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 (this commitment will reduce to spend 0.5% of GNI in 2021-22).

The UKG publishes the overall UK Statistics on International Development Spend each year, clearly showing a separate budget line for its inclusion of Scottish Government spend within that ODA return. For example, recent DFID - Statistics on International Development – Final UK Aid Spend 2019 (published September 2020) where the Scottish Government is identified by the UK Government as a donor and contributor to overall UK ODA (page 10).

2. This information is available online on the Scottish Government website - see Global Goals Partnership Agreement - Scotland and Malawi . Please find attached the PDF version of the Agreement.

3. Attached is the budget spend for the last full financial year of the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund, April 2019 - March 2020 and the provisional budget spend for the current financial year (April 2020 to date). This has recently been published online within the Scottish Government’s Contribution to International Development Report for 2019-20 (page 44).

For your information, below are the already published Scottish Government Contribution to International Development Reports for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

First Scottish Government Contribution to International Development Report (published September 2018).
Second Scottish Government Contribution to International Development Report (published September 2019).

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FOI - 202100143658 - Information released


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