We welcome the continued strong commitment from the Scottish Government to international development and to renewing the people-to-people and government-to-government partnership with Malawi.
The Draft Scottish Budget 2017-18 presented to the Scottish Parliament stated that:
“The First Minister has made clear that tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland is one of this Government's central aims and the Scottish Government is clear that inequality and poverty is not restricted to our borders - it is a global issue that needs a global response.
“Scotland has always been an outward-looking nation, embracing the world beyond our borders and making a contribution to the international community. International development is of course a key tenet of that, making distinctive contributions in addressing global challenges such as climate change, tackling inequality and promoting human rights, and sharing our knowledge, skills and technical expertise for the global good.”
The budget continues:
“In 2017-18 we will:
- continue to take action to help tackle poverty and inequalities in relation to some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people in areas of Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Pakistan, through an increased £10 million per annum International Development Fund (IDF);
- launch and manage a new £1 million per annum humanitarian aid fund from spring 2017, enabling us to continue to respond to the increasing number of rapidly emerging international humanitarian crises;
- renew 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;
- fund training for women from International Conflict Zones to give them the skills and confidence to maximise their contribution to building a safer world by involvement in UN peace processes; and
- strengthen and deepen our engagement with the US, Canada, Japan, China, India and Pakistan, with a focus on education, business and culture.”
The increase to the annual international development budget to £10m, the humanitarian aid fund and the renewal of the Malawi Cooperation Agreement were all key SNP manifesto commitments, also included within the First Ministers Programme for Government. We welcome these commitments being included in the Draft Scottish Budget 2017-18.
The SMP and our members look forward to continuing to work closely with the Scottish Government as the civic and governmental relationship with Malawi further strengthens.
We also applaud the all-party support international development and the relationship with Malawi continues to enjoy in the Scottish Parliament: this is something Scots can rightly take significant pride in.