MSPs from parties across the Scottish Parliament used the 16th January debate on the International Policy Framework and Priorities 2018 to celebrate and support the Scottish Government’s continuing work with Malawi and Scotland’s wider civic links. There were a total of 24 references to Malawi during the debate led by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.
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Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con), said:
“I very much support the Scottish Government’s global citizenship strategy for international development and believe that the focus on delivering support through the international development fund to our four partner countries— Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Pakistan—is the right approach. The funding model that is used for the international development fund, which, rather than providing direct funding to foreign Governments, supports grass-roots development organisations, will give the people of Scotland greater confidence that their money, having been directed at organisations and individuals across the world, will be well spent.
“I am a co-convener of the cross-party group on Malawi and it is encouraging to see the establishment of an investment initiative for Malawi of £1 million, which has been match funded by the private sector. Such schemes are important in the development of sustainable economic growth because they help to ensure that our partner countries make the transition from receiving international aid to becoming more selfreliant. It is important that we support countries to stand on their own two feet.
“It is incredibly fitting that Malawi is one of our four partner countries, given the long tradition of links between Scotland and Malawi, which date back more than 150 years. The sheer number of partnerships between the two nations is staggering. According to the University of Edinburgh, 4 million Malawians and more than 300,000 Scots benefit annually from those partnerships. Rather than being about one country simply funding another, those civic links are about working together. It is important that we do that.
“Last year, I welcomed the introduction of an annual £1 million humanitarian emergency fund, which started during the current financial year. It is encouraging that the fund has been welcomed by a wide range of organisations. The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund has praised the model’s inclusion of a panel of non-governmental organisations in an advisory capacity. Humanitarian crises are unanticipated and unpredictable, and that dedicated fund will help suffering people across the world.
“I very much support Scotland’s aim to continue to be a good global citizen. The international development work of the Scottish Government and many civic partnerships in assisting our partner countries is vital in ensuring that we achieve that objective. Working together makes a difference not just in the present but in the future. We must work for the future of our international colleagues and partners throughout the world.”
Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP), said:
“I will focus my comments on Inverclyde and Malawi. I joined the cross-party group on Malawi on winning the Greenock and Inverclyde constituency in 2016. In my local authority area, there are 13 partnerships between Inverclyde and Malawi, via the Inverclyde schools Malawi partnership, incorporating 15 local schools. The partnership assists 6,000 local pupils and 16,000 Malawian pupils to learn about each other’s countries and cultures. In addition, that local partnership allows schools to support the aims of Education Scotland’s international engagement strategy. The 13 partnerships also act as a vehicle to support delivery of a number of national strategies, including curriculum for excellence, learning for sustainability, international engagement, the Scotland Malawi Partnership, global citizenship, language learning in Scotland and rights-respecting schools.
"Clearly Scotland has long had an international outlook on life, and colleagues in Parliament have spoken on many occasions of their constituency links with Malawi in particular. I am happy to do the same today for my constituency.
“Some colleagues have spoken about aspects of business and trade, which are crucial and are part of the third of the four strategic international objectives, but I will not touch on that today because others have done so. I want to highlight an aspect of the strategy that relates to Inverclyde, because strategies can sometimes come across as being esoteric, or as being things that people do not really engage with. However, a partnership in a local authority area, such Inverclyde’s partnership with Malawi, can highlight how important the international perspective is. It brings it down to ground level, where people can understand and engage with it, and can then learn and prosper as individuals.
“The Inverclyde schools Malawi partnership has been in existence now for more than 10 years. I want to commend everyone who has been involved with it for their dedication to the work that they have undertaken during that time. In particular, I want to thank John and Anna McIndoe for their tremendous work. The partnership is an example of Scotland’s wider international outlook. Between 2015 and 2018, the Scottish Government is funding 20 projects in Malawi—that funding is worth more than £9.2 million—and there is the new £3.2 million Malawi climate challenge programme, which was launched to coincide with the 23rd conference of the parties to the UN Framework on Climate Change, or COP23, in Bonn in November 2017, as part of the £3.6 million package to further support developing countries in accessing clean water and sanitation, and in boosting agricultural production and adaptation.”
Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab), said:
“While in Government, we set up the partnership with Malawi, along with introducing the international development fund. I am pleased to see those two achievements continuing under the current Government. Ahead of the election, we pledged to increase the fund in real terms over the parliamentary session. I hope that, in her closing remarks, the cabinet secretary can commit to the fund and aim to increase it, to ensure that we can continue to help those who are most in need outwith Scotland.”