Scotland's International Strategy

This strategy sets out our approach to international engagement and delivery to the end of the current parliamentary term.

Joint Ministerial Foreword

In what can seem increasingly turbulent times, it is more important than ever for Scotland to engage with our fellow Europeans and the wider world on our common priorities, standing up for our values, contributing internationally as a good global citizen, and working to benefit those who call Scotland home.

From the tragic events unfolding in Gaza following Hamas’s appalling attack on Israel, to the climate crisis, to Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, we have all been affected by a wide range of global challenges and events, either directly or indirectly. This is why we need to remain engaged internationally, actively promoting Scotland’s interests and working with our key partners to deliver on our priorities. Our international work provides us with the opportunity to help deliver on Scotland’s domestic objectives and the First Minister’s three missions of equality, opportunity, and community. We cannot truly and effectively deliver our domestic priorities and these missions without acknowledging and playing our part in addressing the range of global challenges that contribute to them, as well as contributing internationally in return in a spirit of global solidarity.

We want to build on Scotland’s strengths and seize opportunities to deliver tangible benefits to the people of Scotland through our international work. To do this, we will build on our ‘Team Scotland’ approach, working in tandem with key partners including our enterprise agencies, Creative Scotland, VisitScotland, our universities, GlobalScots, trade and investment envoys and cultural organisations.

Our international development work and our responses to humanitarian emergencies are a key part of Scotland’s contribution to the global community, and we continue to place a great deal of importance on being a good global citizen.

This is why we are now publishing our international strategy to guide our approach to international engagement and delivery to the end of the current parliamentary term. This document looks across the wide range of Scottish Government responsibilities and priorities, ensuring that we will be as effective as possible in delivering on key policies such as our forthcoming international education and international culture strategies, and our biodiversity strategy, among others. Engaging internationally also allows us to drive forward recent recommendations from the Scottish Government’s Investor Panel.

The strategy focuses on three themes: (1) economy, trade and investment; (2) climate change, biodiversity and renewable energy; and (3) reputation, influence and relationships. By being clear and precise in where we focus our efforts, we can ensure that our international work makes a substantial, positive impact not only on the lives of people in Scotland, but also those on whom our international development engagement is focused.

The values, priorities and actions outlined in this strategy will apply regardless of Scotland’s constitutional position, but the contribution that Scotland could make, and the benefits it could receive, would be significantly enhanced with the powers of independence.

Scotland needs to work to deepen ties with key partners, increase economic opportunities and build on our excellent networks for both Scotland’s benefit and that of our international partners. In doing so, we will remain committed to our core values of fairness, equality and inclusion in everything we do.

Angus Robertson MSP Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture

Neil Gray MSP Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy



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