Scotland's Global Affairs Framework

The Global Affairs Framework sets out the values and principles underpinning the Scottish Government’s international work and the basis on which the Scottish Government will prioritise its international activity.

6. The role of our international network

Scotland embraces opportunities to strengthen our international relationships. Our network of overseas offices is vital to promoting Scotland’s international profile, and protecting and enhancing Scotland’s interests in the EU and beyond. We will continue to invest in international relationships, enhance our communications activity, and unlock new economic and trading opportunities.

Scotland’s overseas network comprises (as at May 2022) Scottish Government Offices in Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, London, Ottawa, Paris and Washington DC, and more than 30 Scottish Development International trade and investment offices in around 20 countries.

The Scottish Government is committed to further strengthening Scotland’s international relationships, presence and voice. We will strengthen our office in Brussels and establish new Scottish Government offices in Copenhagen in 2022 and Warsaw within the lifetime of this parliament.

We have a strong focus on our nearest neighbours in Europe and North America, including the Arctic. Through our network we will contribute to Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19, to reducing child poverty and to transforming Scotland’s economy by promoting Scotland’s economic interests and fostering educational, research, cultural and policy exchange.

We will also build our links with China, Japan, India and Pakistan, and explore new opportunities in Asia as part of a broader review of Scotland’s global reach and presence. This will include an increased focus in the Global South, including across Africa, Asia and South America, as we strengthen our relationships with emerging markets and developing countries.

We will use our growing International Development Fund and enhanced Climate Justice Fund to work with partners in the Global South. And we will develop a new Scottish International Education Strategy to promote Scotland’s excellent higher education offer globally and support Scotland as a study destination for international students.

The work of all of the offices includes promoting and securing research and innovation capability, partnerships and funding. This contributes to collaborative work which seeks fair solutions to global challenges, including a just transition to net zero and tackling inequality.

Our international offices will promote cooperation in areas of devolved responsibility at the national and sub-national level. Through them we will agree memorandums of understanding and other instruments where these are necessary or helpful in advancing cooperation.

By developing relationships with international media and making effective use of social media channels we will raise awareness of Scotland’s strengths and opportunities and promote Scotland’s reputation.

But Scotland’s international network extends much further. A wide range of partners support our efforts across trade, investment and people-to-people links. They include:

  • a growing network of GlobalScots
  • country, regional and sector-specific trade envoys
  • public and private sector bodies, such as Creative Scotland, Universities Scotland or the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, with their own international connections.

By continuing to engage with the Scottish diaspora around the world – not just those with a heritage link to Scotland but those who work or study internationally, alumni from our institutions and others with an affinity to Scotland – we will support and expand this global community. These connections raise our profile and reputation. They encourage individuals and companies to visit, study, live, work and invest in Scotland.



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