Scotland and International Development

CPGphotoThe most recent Cross Party Group on International Development was held on the 24 September and a thought provoking and interesting discussion was led by Gillian Wilson, Chief Executive, of NIDOS. 

NIDOS are a network of international development organisations, based in Scotland, and they work toward reducing global poverty and tackling inequality.

NIDOS are currently working on a report which focuses on the importance of shaping a coherent policy on international development in Scotland.  The report shall highlight that, irrespective of whether or not Scotland decides to remain within the United Kingdom, following the referendum in 2014, Scotland’s commitment to tackling global poverty should be a key priority. NIDOS is currently putting together a report to look at what can be delivered by government departments on issues such as procurement to achieve that end.   I am proud of the Scottish Parliament’s commitment to international development and the partnerships that have been formed since devolution in 1999; however, I am keen that we continue to build on this and I know we have the ability and determination to help tackle global poverty.  If you would like to view a copy of the presentation from the meeting, you can do so by clicking here.

The report should be available by late October 2013.

The presentation also focused on the need for a coherent policy approach considering that the Millennium Development Goals are due to expire in 2015.  NIDOS’s report is timely given that discussion on post 2015 development framework that will succeed these goals has started.  The presentation highlighted that there is a fundamental need to not just focus on the service delivery of the goals, but for the framework to consider key areas when developing the agenda; including economic change, social inclusion,  environmental and other sustainability issues. 

My suggestion was that NIDOS members should consider using their report to engage with the European elections.   Given the significance of the EU in trade and climate negotiations and domestic policy framework on issues such as procurement I believe it is an opportunity that NIDOS members cannot afford to ignore.

I was delighted that the Cross Party Group also had the opportunity to welcome six Commonwealth Professional Fellows, from Kenya, Malawi and Ghana, who are currently visiting Edinburgh for an intensive course on “Bioenergy & Climate Change” at the University of Edinburgh.  The Fellows made a fantastic contribution to the debate, giving an insight into how international development and key issues such as Climate Change are dealt with and viewed by citizens in their home countries.  I would like to thank Dr Colin Pritchard for inviting his students to the meeting and I am delighted that the University has such important links with our partners in Africa.

I would also like to thank my colleague Alison Johnstone MSP for addressing the meeting and giving a moving tribute to one of our members, John Blair Fish, who sadly passed away on the 4th of September.  John was an active member of the cross party group and a dedicated activist.  He was a member of the World Development Movement’s Council and was also on the Scottish Steering Group.  John will be sadly missed and I know I speak on behalf of the group when I say that he shall be remembered for all his hard work and passion.

If you would like any further information on the recent meeting or for more details of the International Development Cross Party Group, please do not hesitate to contact me.