Programme for Government 2017 to 2018

Sets out the actions we will take in the forthcoming year.

Chapter 4: A Confident, Outward Looking Nation

Scotland is an outward looking nation, with much to offer as a good global citizen.

From our support for Climate Justice to being one of the first developed nations to commit to delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we will continue to play our part in meeting the global challenges of the day.

We will also continue our work to secure strategic partnerships for Scotland around the world. By building on trading relationships, sharing the skills and expertise of our colleges and universities, exchanging cultural and ancestral connections and exchanging policy ideas to address shared challenges, we can ensure Scotland remains a valued and well-connected nation not just in Europe, but around the rest of the world.

We are recognised around the world as a nation with a vibrant and thriving culture. In the coming year, we will develop a Culture Strategy for Scotland based around the principles of access, equity and excellence. It is an opportunity to show culture's importance to Scotland's future and will reflect our belief that the right to creative expression, to participate and earn a living from creative and cultural pursuits and be paid fairly for that work, should be widely recognised across society.


We will complete our new Culture Strategy for Scotland, considering what is working well, and ways to address challenges. The strategy will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take part in or contribute to cultural life in Scotland and that the inequalities experienced in the sector itself, and in participation, are tackled.

The development of the strategy is drawing on a broad range of expertise, views and experience. The current engagement phase of the strategy will be followed by formal on-line consultation in 2018.

Culture for all

Ensuring everyone can access culture includes opening up cultural experiences to our children and young people. This year:

  • we will establish with partners a Cultural Youth Experience Fund to enhance existing opportunities
  • every primary school in Scotland will have an opportunity to experience Scotland's excellent and diverse cultural places and activities
  • the Youth Music Initiative will support young musicians and ensure that our young people have the opportunity to experience music tuition by the time they leave primary school
  • we will continue to ensure free access for all to Scotland's national museums and galleries

We will support:

  • the touring and sharing of items from the national collections around Scotland, including The Monarch of the Glen, saved for the nation in 2017
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council and the National Museum of Scotland in their joint work to ensure that there is long-term display of a significant part of the Galloway Hoard in Galloway

We continue to invest in Scotland's culture and heritage infrastructure, including:

  • the V&A Museum of Design in Dundee, opening in 2018
  • proposals for the further development of the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian
  • the first phase of the development of the National Collections facility at Granton
  • the redevelopment of the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre
  • the Burrell Renaissance project
  • a new home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels
  • proposals to redevelop the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow
  • a new performance venue in Edinburgh as part of the City Deal, to enhance its status as an International Festival City and as a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

We will support Historic Environment Scotland and partners to develop a long‑term Infrastructure Investment Plan for preserving, understanding and celebrating our built heritage.


Alongside investment in school libraries, we will pilot a single library card that could be used at any council library across Scotland.

We are investing in the National Libraries Strategy. This will include supporting initiatives like coding clubs and WWI history projects. We are also working with partners to ensure that every child in Scotland receives a library membership and will launch a targeted programme with local authority partners in late 2017.

Major events

Year of Young People

Our series of themed years will have a particular resonance in 2018 - the Year of Young People. This is a global first, which will aim to inspire Scotland through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to our communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.

Major sporting events

We are the principal funder of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. This is a new event, which brings together the existing European Championships of seven high profile Olympic sports to create a spectacular sporting opportunity. It will give Glasgow and Scotland another chance to shine on a world stage. This inaugural edition will be staged jointly with Berlin. The event is a key legacy of the Commonwealth Games, and we are working in partnership with ‎stakeholders to deliver a further legacy from the 2018 Championships, focusing on sports, physical activity, and future event delivery, with a programme based around Community Sports Hubs and a cultural programme. The Championships will be aligned with the Year of Young People programme, with a particular focus on youth volunteering opportunities.

We will continue our support of The Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open, and a world‑class annual golf programme in Scotland, the Home of Golf.

Scotland's Winter Festivals

Working with partners, including BEMIS Scotland and the Fair Saturday Foundation, we will continue to promote social inclusion and enhance community engagement, participation and sharing during the Winter Festivals, by supporting a programme of events across Scotland for St Andrew's Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night.

Edinburgh Festivals

This year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festivals. We are providing £2.3 million this year to enhance the Expo fund to support excellent projects that promote Scotland's culture and creativity internationally.

And, as announced in August, we are establishing a fund to provide £1 million in each of the next five years for Edinburgh's Festivals to maintain its status as the world's foremost festival city.

International and European relations

In addition to the work we are undertaking to support trade, tourism and international connections through the establishment of Trade Envoys and the expansion of our Hub programme, we are carrying out a broad range of activity to improve and develop our international relationships across the whole of Government. This includes:

  • publishing a refreshed International Framework and Policy Statement
  • updating Scotland's Engagement Strategy with China to identify where Scottish skills and expertise can maximise opportunities and increase co-operation between Scotland and China's business and academic communities
  • implementing the USA and Canada country engagement plans, including:
    • visits by Ministers and senior figures with a particular focus on increasing exports, securing inward investment, building innovation and developing research partnerships
    • expanding and enhancing our presence in Canada
  • deepening our engagement with Japan and improving the existing links for business, education, culture and research
  • refreshing our Nordic‑Baltic Policy Statement and continuing to support the Nordic Horizons group which promotes policy exchange between Nordic countries and Scotland
  • sending a high level delegation to the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland in October 2017 to engage on climate change and sustainable economic development and hosting a follow‑up Arctic Circle Forum in Scotland to develop partnerships between Scottish organisations and international partnerships on economic issues
  • taking part in the Social Enterprise World Forum in New Zealand in September 2017 and then welcoming social enterprises from around the world to the Social Enterprise World Forum in Scotland in 2018

International development and humanitarian aid

Our 'Global Citizenship: Scotland's International Development Strategy', published in December 2016, provides the framework for Scotland's contribution to the fight against global poverty, inequality and injustice and promotes sustainable development.

We are committed to the Beyond Aid agenda, not only within our international development work, but more widely within government and across the public sector.

This year, our work includes:

  • publishing the first Development Impact Report on our international development programme and other policies' contribution to development
  • maintaining an increased International Development Fund of £10 million a year. This targets support in Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Pakistan. We are also maintaining our Small Grants Scheme to help smaller agencies contribute to the UN Global Goals in other developing countries
  • continuing to work towards the renewal of our historic partnership agreement with the Government of Malawi which is based on 150 years of shared history and friendship and promotes the enduring values of tolerance, fairness and equality and the sharing of experiences and skills for mutual benefit
  • implementing the £1 million per year Humanitarian Emergency Fund announced in April 2017
  • continuing funding of Scotland's Development Education Centres to inspire communities and young people to be good global citizens
  • training at least 50 women every year from international conflict zones in prevention and resolution of conflict. This year, we are expanding our programme to include South Asia, South and Central America and sub‑Saharan Africa
  • publishing a refreshed version of our New Scots Strategy for integrating refugees
  • supporting work, under our Scotland the Hydro Nation programme, to map, maintain and improve all of the water and waste water infrastructure in Malawi to assist the Government of Malawi to provide access to clean drinking water and sanitation for all by 2030

A national baseline assessment has been completed to identify good practice and gaps in information, advice and support for businesses. The assessment will underpin the development of a National Action Plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Scotland. We will engage with businesses to ensure that the guidance and support provided to them meets both our human rights obligations and their business needs.

Responding to global challenges

Scotland makes a strong contribution to global challenges such as taking action on climate change, meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and responding to the needs of refugees.

Since 2015, COSLA's figures show that Scotland has opened its doors to 1,850 Syrian refugees, some 22% of all those coming to the UK under the resettlement programme. We are proud of Scotland's response to the refugee crisis and the work of local authorities, organisations and communities to provide support and welcome. We remain firmly committed to assisting those fleeing war, torture and persecution and we will continue to demand a more humane and responsive approach to asylum. Although immigration and asylum policy remain reserved matters, we will continue to work with our partners to do all that we can to support the integration from day one of those coming to Scotland.

We are continuing to deliver the First Minister's pledge to the Paris climate conference to provide £3 million each year through our climate justice programmes, including our new Climate Challenge Programme Malawi and new Climate Justice Innovation Fund. Between 2012 and 2021 the Climate Justice Fund will provide £21 million to some of the world's poorest people. This funding is additional to our International Development Fund and is contributing to our development goals. Earlier this year, Scotland signed a letter of co‑operation with the State of California to provide practical support to the Under 2 Coalition of high ambition states, regions and cities worldwide which now covers over a billion people and a third of the global economy.

We continue to recognise the importance of international emissions trading schemes that allow businesses to determine cost effective routes to decarbonise, and will support efforts to create a global carbon market under the Paris Agreement.

We have chosen to give strong political support to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and will further embed them, along with human rights, in our proposed National Performance Framework too.


Email: Gavin Henderson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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