Scottish Government to review approach International Development

Scottish Government to review approach International Development

In last month’s 2020-2021 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government announced it is undertaking a review of its international development programme in light of the massive impacts of COVID-19 here in Scotland and in its partner countries.

This announcement came alongside a welcome commitment to ring-fence £2 million of the International Development Fund this year to contribute to COVID-19 efforts in its partner countries – Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Pakistan.

The review, set be complete by the end of the year, has the stated aim of ensuring that going forward their work focuses on areas that they can make the biggest contribution and difference in their partner countries against the backdrop of the new reality of COVID-19.

On a new dedicated government webpage, they detail the scope of the review which will focus on programme themes, programme design (how best to deliver needs-led development, take account of inequality issues and ensure as much money reaches partner countries a possible) and future-proofing (considering how the programme responds to the converging crises of COVID-19 and climate change, and ensures better policy coherence).

The review will also consider “the balance of spend in future between Scotland and our partner countries” set against a set of key principles that will underpin their future approach.

This review and the new draft principles are undoubtedly timely, as the devastating global impacts of COVID-19 emphasise the need to do better in our collective approach to global sustainable development.

As part of the review process, the Scottish Government has said it will seek the views of its partner countries, academics and the wider sector to ensure a renewed focus on needs-led international development. However, many organisations have voiced concerns about a lack of formal channels for civil society to engage with the review.

The longstanding relationships between civil society organisations in Scotland and in partner countries are crucial at this time, and the role of Scottish civil society in promoting the value of needs-led international development across the world should not be under-estimated, especially when it comes to promoting active global citizenship here in Scotland, a critical part of building international solidarity in this ever more interdependent world.

Later today, Tuesday 6 October, MSPs will debate the review in the Scottish Parliament. Why not ask your MSP to participate? Find out who your local MSP is here.

You can also watch the debate live on Scottish Parliament TV.