Scottish Government concludes International Development Review

03 March 2021

On the 3rd March the Scottish Government (SG) officially published the results of its International Development Review, which was launched in September 2020. Learn more here.

On the 3rd March the Scottish Government (SG) officially published the results of its International Development Review, which was launched in September 2020.

Read the Results of the Review

Read the SG’s announcement in response to a Parliamentary Question (GIPQ)

Read the SG’s news piece on the announcement

Read the SG’s new International Development Principles

Book your place at the Malawi Roundtable meeting 17th March (10am UK time / midday Malawi time)

This page summarises what we see as some of the key points coming out from the review.

The Scottish Government is hosting a number of roundtable meetings to discuss the outcomes of the review with stakeholders, including one on the 17th March (10am UK time / midday Malawi time) for those working with Malawi, and another on the 23rd March (12.15 UK time / 14.15 Malawi time) for those with general or multi-country interest. Click these links to book your place.

As always, we are keen to listen to members this week on their views regarding what has been announced. If you are a member of the SMP, please email any comments or reflections you have about the results of the review, or any questions you would like asked to the SG, to david[at]

As we have in the past, we will then look to publish a short response to the SG policy statement, including the views of members.

There is certainly much which we welcome as a network and there are no doubt areas where it would be good to learn more. We look forward to working with the SG in the coming period on this and we welcome the SG’s strong commitment to sector dialogue.

Key headlines from the ID Review:

The SG has identified four key cross-cutting changes implemented in its International Development Fund (IDF) Programme as a result of the review:

  • Build Back Fairer and Stronger – In an evolution of the SG’s funding, they will restructure their current funding streams to focus on sustainable economic recovery and institutional resilience within the key priority areas highlighted by their partner-countries, together with a new Equalities Programme.
  • Global South Programme Panel – The SG will establish a panel of ‘experts by experience’ who principally work and reside in the global south along with representatives of their partner countries’ diaspora who reside here in Scotland. This panel will be overseen on the part of the Scottish Government at Ministerial level and will help the SG ensure that global south voices continue to be heard beyond this Review.

  • Updating SG Funding Criteria – The SG will adjust their funding criteria to enable more partner-country based organisations to apply direct for funding, by removing the current requirement that Scottish Government international development funding only ever be accessed via a Scotland based organisation.
  • Focusing the SG’s Offer – The SG will further refocus its international development offer, taking account of the constitutional and financial arrangement within which they currently operate and addressing the ongoing concern that they are trying to do too much given the available resources. In pausing and reflecting on where they can best contribute to our partner countries as they build back fairer and stronger from COVID-19, the SG wants to ensure a focused approach that best matches needs and asks. The SG will refine the thematic focus of their programme in Rwanda and Zambia, but the six strands for cooperation with Malawi will remain unchanged (health; education; civic governance; sustainable economic development; renewable energy; and water and climate).

Other key points to note include:

  • More partner country organisations will be the lead partner in projects funded by the SG.
  • The SG will end the existing Small Grants Programme, which had been an SNP manifesto commitment to continue in the last Holyrood election.
  • There will be a strong focus on institutional capacity building, with the work with the Malawian College of Medicine given a more prominent and lasting role.
  • The SG will support peer-peer working, with exchanges of knowledge and expertise for mutual learning, including in health.
  • There will be more of a focus on promoting equality of women and girls and supporting their rights.
  • The commitment to Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) will continue, with the previously announced Ministerial Working Group soon meeting.

Read our response to the review here.