International development is a key part of Scotland's global contribution within the international community. It encompasses our core values, historical and contemporary, of fairness and equality. It is about Scotland acting as a good global citizen. We are the inheritors of that tradition; it is who we are today; and it is who we want our next generation to be.
I believe that we have a distinctive development contribution to make, through focusing Scotland's expertise, being innovative and employing our unique partnership approach, for global good.
Like millions of others around the world, I am proud of Scotland.
I am proud of its rich history of looking outwards, and its ethos of "the Common Weal", sharing wealth for common good. Scotland also has a strong history of valuing universal free education and health. The foundations for our core values today were equally laid down by philosophers like Adam Smith, who said in the Wealth of Nations: "no society can be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable" . We hear a clear echo of our traditional values in the social, economic and environmental elements of the UN Global Goals.
I am proud too that today we remain a nation that believes in equality and fairness, where visitors are welcomed and we create sustainable opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish. Our values continue to provide a voice for humanity, tolerance, compassion and progressiveness, as part of an interlinked, global community. As the First Minister said in announcing Scotland's commitment to the Global Goals: "Scotland cannot act with credibility overseas if we are blind to inequality here at home. And our ambitions for a Fairer Scotland are undermined without global action to tackle poverty, promote prosperity and to tackle climate change."
In the same way that we are the inheritors of a tradition of global citizenship, I want to inspire our communities and young people to realise their own role and to be a force for good in the wider world. Education is a key component of this. So too is the example we set our young people - I am continually humbled that the people of Scotland continue to give generously to charity, even in times of economic difficulty, and for that too we should rightly be proud.
Scotland can play a unique role in finding solutions to the common challenges facing our world, through sharing our expertise in areas such as human rights, health, education, social enterprise, renewable energy, climate change, and water management as part of our Hydro Nation programme.
As a small country, we are also better able to take advantage of informal networks and opportunities for collaboration, and to share learning. This enables collective action and a partnership approach - the network of connections Scotland and Malawi have built up since the time of David Livingstone is an excellent example of this and an invaluable tool for development. This partnership approach to international development has attracted attention globally and is, we believe, unprecedented in world terms.
Collaboration in terms of the strong cross-party support for international development in the Scottish Parliament has also been a feature underpinning the Scottish Government's international development work since 2005. I would like to take this opportunity to recognise and thank Parliamentarians across all Scottish political parties, as well as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, for that support and collaborative approach to date.
Partnership and collaboration will continue to be the foundation for our future development work as we build upon our existing bilateral partnerships with Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Pakistan, working across borders to address the shared challenges our world faces, in pursuit of the Global Goals.
But we should also continue to aim higher. It is recognised that small countries like Scotland can, overall, have a disproportionally positive impact on developing countries. Scotland has a key role in providing ethical leadership on issues such as equality, sustainable development, climate justice and fair trade. The Beyond Aid agenda is a key part of this.
We share a duty - individually and collectively - to consider in our everyday decisions and behaviours the impact of our choices for sustainable development, in Scotland and on developing countries. Let us all, make good, fair and equitable choices for global good.
Dr Alasdair Allan MSP
Minister for International Development and Europe