MSPs from each party applaud Hydro Nation Malawi work

27 Oct 2017

On the 26th October the Scottish Parliament debated the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation work. 

Claudia Beamish MSP (South Scotland) (Lab) successfully proposed an amendment to the motion to formally recognise support for the government’s work with Malawi, adding:

“…reiterates the importance the Hydro Nation’s support through the targeted Climate Justice Fund to water-scarce nations such as Malawi...”

Through the debate there was strong cross-party support celebrating the impact that the Scottish Government’s hydro nation and Climate Justice Fund work is having in Malawi.  Every political party in Holyrood gave speeches welcoming the hydro nation commitment to Malawi.

The Scotland Malawi Partnership joins Roseanna Cunningham MSP (SNP), Donald Cameron MSP (Scottish Conservatives), Claudia Beamish MSP (Scottish Labour), Peter Chapman MSP (Scottish Conservatives), Mark Ruskell MSP (Scottish Greens) and Liam McArthur MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrats) in commending the Scottish Government’s work in this area.

Read the debate: HERE >>

Watch the debate: HERE >>

We especially welcome the support Donald Cameron MSP gave SMP member ‘Brewgooder’, and Liam McArthur’s support for SMP members the University of Strathclyde and Tearfund Scotland.



Opening the debate, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said:

“I must make special mention of Malawi, a country with which we enjoy a special relationship. We are committed to supporting Malawi through hydro nation’s contribution to the climate justice fund, with the aim of making the sustainable development goal 6 a reality. The programme has already delivered access to clean and safe water to more than 33,000 people, improved water resource management skills for more than 6,000 people, and resulted in more than 4,000 people using new irrigation techniques and conservation agriculture practices. We are building on those successes by extending the scope to include water pump technology enhancement trials, which will increase efficiency, and we are working with major United Kingdom retailers to secure in-country water sustainability for key export products such as tea and coffee.”

Donald Cameron MSP (Highlands and Islands) (Con) said:

“I am also proud of the fact that, as we continue to build our own water industry and economy, we are sharing those practices internationally, in particular with developing countries such as Malawi—which I will come back to later—to help them develop a thriving water economy.”

“…We strongly welcome the work that is being done by the programme to support other countries to develop similar water programmes. I am encouraged by the strength of our continued relationship with Malawi and the manner in which that long-standing and historic connection has allowed us to share ideas, create new success stories for each other, and cement the positive impact that multination partnerships have on that state and its citizens. The report notes many positive steps in that relationship and how we are helping Malawi to develop its water economy, ensuring that its citizens can have the kind of access to water that we often take for granted.”

“…Of course, the drive to improve global water access and treatment does not only involve the efforts of the Scottish or UK Governments, because our people have played a strong part in supporting water development abroad. Across Scotland, there are many individuals, small businesses, and charities that have set out to go further and support people whom the state has not yet been able to help. The Edinburgh-based beer firm Brewgooder is one good example of that. It was set up with a mission to donate 100 per cent of its profits to clean water charities and set a target of ensuring that 1 million people can get access to drinking water. So far, since 2016, it has helped 33,000 people and supported 60 different projects in Malawi, and I am sure that everyone in the chamber wishes it the best of luck as it strives to meet its overarching target.”

Claudia Beamish MSP (South Scotland) (Lab) said:

“In the context of sustainable development goal 6, to which the cabinet secretary has already referred, the Parliament of course recognises the daily and pervasive challenge of water safety and scarcity that many countries around the world face. The hydro nation’s targeted support through the climate justice fund is so important for the empowerment of communities in nations such as Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda. The cabinet secretary also highlighted the work that is being done in India. I know from having been on the cross-party group on Malawi until recently that policy coherence across the portfolios is really important in what the Scottish Government is doing in that regard.”

“…I move amendment S5M-08378.3, to insert at end:

“reiterates the importance the Hydro Nation’s support through the targeted Climate Justice Fund to water-scarce nations such as Malawi; calls on the Scottish Government to address the devolved barriers to the development of new hydro schemes, and recognises the value that excellent water resources add to Scotland's tourism and food and drink industries.”

Peter Chapman MSP (North East Scotland) (Con) said:

“I am proud to see that Scotland and the United Kingdom are doing so much internationally to share our knowledge and to help nations all over the world to access clean drinking water and better sanitation—something that we take for granted living in such a water-rich country. Hydro nation contributes to the climate justice fund, which supports work in Malawi, and is a good example of Scotland helping internationally. The UK Government’s Department for International Development is committed to matching the success of the 2011 to 2015 programme by helping at least another 60 million people to get access to clean water and sanitation by 2020. I am pleased to see that the first students who are participating in the hydro nation scholar programme are approaching the completion of their PhD studies. I wish them success for their futures and I hope that they can use their expertise to help with Scotland’s hydro nation future.”

Mark Ruskell MSP (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green) said:

“I welcome the hydro nation debate. It has been particularly heartening to hear about the international development work that has been taking place. I went to Malawi a number of years ago and met people who are directly impacted by the issue. Whether people have access to irrigation and sanitation is hugely important and can be the difference between life and death.”

Liam McArthur MSP (Orkney Islands) (Lib Dem) said:

“I will concentrate on international activity. As the co-convener of the cross-party group on Malawi, I was delighted to see Claudia Beamish’s amendment highlighting the climate justice fund and the work that is being done specifically in relation to Malawi. I will talk about a couple of projects, one of which was alluded to by the cabinet secretary in her opening remarks.

“I pay tribute to the University of Strathclyde, which is heavily involved in a wide range of projects in Malawi. One is to widen access to safe drinking water, and has been enabled through the climate justice fund water futures programme. Professor Kalin challenged his students to come up with a device that could be retrofitted to the almost ubiquitous hand pumps in Malawi. Benjamin McIntosh-Michaelis and his colleagues rose to that challenge. The Afridev Hi-Lift now provides the ability to deliver water well beyond the pump, to premises such as clinics, in a way that was not possible before, when water had to be delivered by hand, usually by women and children, and often over very large distances. I have failed to do the project justice, but there is more information in a recent article in The Scotsman from last month, courtesy of David Hope-Jones, who provides the secretariat to the cross-party group on Malawi.”

“The other project is by Tearfund Scotland; it is also supported through the climate justice fund. It deals with food security and the availability of clean and safe water, through better management of water resources. One of the initiatives in that project is being delivered in Salima district, where the community is taking back control. I received earlier this week from Charlie Bevan, who works for Tearfund Scotland, an email that brought home the significant impact that the project is having on that community by delivering safe and clean water.”

“We are undoubtedly a hydro nation. Exploiting that is a logical step for us to take because it plays to our strengths. That is not just to the benefit of Scots; it is—as the two projects that I mentioned, and others, demonstrate—to the real and tangible benefit of citizens across the world, in some of its most impoverished nations.”

Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, the Minister for International Development and Europe, said:

“…while we are enjoying access to excellent-quality drinking water and high standards of sanitation, many, many millions around the world are not so fortunate. Last year, I had the very humbling experience of meeting women in a Malawian village who pointed out the effects of what they themselves recognised as climate change. They explained the practical consequence of that for them, which was that they each had to walk several more miles a day just to get water.

“I am proud that Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to publicly commit to the new sustainable development goals in September 2015, and it is heartening to see hydro nation’s direct contribution to the achievement of those goals in Malawi and other parts of the world. I am pleased that the Labour amendment, which the Government is happy to support, mentions Malawi, not only because of our on-going relationship with that country but because of hydro nation’s contribution to the climate justice fund, which has already ensured access to clean water for more than 30,000 people and supported many more.”