Costs incurred of Scottish MSPs and officials travelling to COP 28 in Dubai: FOI release

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

Information requested

I would like details of which politicians and officials were funded to travel to the COP28 conference in Dubai

Furthermore i would like to see the breakdown of the publicly incurred costs for individuals:

1. Travel, broken down by transport type, i.e. Aircraft, taxi etc.

2. Hotel fees, broken down by nights spent and in what standard of hotel

3. Expenses incurred, for whatever reason, that were paid for through the public purse.

4. Any miscellaneous expenses not covered above.


Humza Yousaf, First Minister and Màiri McAllan MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition were the Scottish Ministers who attended COP28.

Two members of SCS attended COP28; Jemima Gordon-Duff – Deputy Director for International Climate Change and Richard Rollison – Director for International Trade and Investment.

The remainder of official names who attended COP28 cannot be disclosed, under section 38(1)(b) of FOI(S)A.

In terms of Special Advisors, Colin McAlister (Chief of Staff to the First Minister), Emily Mackintosh (Special Advisor to the First Minister), and Leanne Dobson (Special Advisor to the First Minister), attended COP28.

An exemption under section 27(1) of FOI(S)A applies to the remainder of information you have asked for, as information on COP28 will be announced within a proactive release, which the Scottish Government aims to release within 12 weeks from the date of your request.

Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some the information you have requested because it is personal data of third parties, e.g. names/contact details of individuals and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Section 27(1) – Information intended for future publication

An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested because we aim to publish that information within 12 weeks from the date your request was received. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until then, rather than release some information before the planned publication date.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release due to public interest in COP28 and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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