Malawi and Scotland: Together for Sustainable Development

28 Sep 2018

Over 300 people attended a major high-level national conference to celebrate the friendship between our two nations and discuss the next chapter in the bilateral relationship.

Malawi and Scotland: Together for Sustainable Development’ took place on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th September 2018 in Lilongwe. 


In April 2018, during a visit of H.E. President Arthur Peter Mutharika to Scotland, an updated cooperation agreement, the ‘Global Goals Partnership Agreement’, was signed between the two Governments.

This agreement set out how the two governments will work together in the coming years to support the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The conference, ‘Malawi and Scotland: Together for Sustainable Development’, was set up to bring together, and listen to, a range of key stakeholders across civil society, government and parliament and explore how best to implement the Global Goals Partnership Agreement.                                         

It was very much be a working conference and concluded with a conference statement which looks to set out a road map for the delivery of the Global Goals Partnership Agreement, with a particular focus on the role civil society will have. 

To help inform this discussion, we sought the active input of as many Scots and Malawians working together.

The Aims:

The conference had five strategic objectives:

  1. UNITE: Convene Malawian and Scottish representatives and key stakeholders from across government, parliament and civil society to advance understanding of, and commitment to, the nation-to-nation and people-to-people friendship amongst these representatives and stakeholders and the general public in both countries. 

  2. LISTEN: Listen to a range of voices across Malawian and Scottish society to better understand and communicate the distinctive features of the bilateral relationship.

  3. LEARN: Provide a forum to capture learning on how this people-to-people model has developed and the impact it has had since 2005, sharing good practice and identifying opportunities to address gaps in the bilateral relationship’s contribution to the development challenges facing Malawi.

  4. ENVISION: Create vision and purpose to drive collaborative multi-sectoral working to contribute, from 2018 to 2030, to the attainment of the Global Goals.

  5. PLAN: Advance concrete recommendations as to how the people-to-people engagement between Malawi and Scotland will work to fulfil the Malawi Scotland Global Goals Partnership Agreement (GGPA) of 2018 across the six strands: Health, Education, Civic Governance, Sustainable Economic Development, Renewable Energy, and Water & Climate.


The first day of the conference was structured around the six strands of the new Partnership Agreement, and the conference had a specific focus on three core priority areas: the Sustainable Development Goals, safeguarding, and youth participation.

Ahead of the conference , we asked those who could not attend in person to submit their reflections, experience and ideas on the bilateral relationship through an online interface and these comments were sent to the relevant Lead Scottish Contributor for that Strand/Working Group and included within discussions.

Liam McArthur MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrat Party), Alexander Stewart MSP (Scottish Conservative Party) and Patrick Grady MP (Scottish National Party) also sent a pre-recorded message to share their thoughts on the partnership between Scotland and Malawi.