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Scottish Government Publishes White Paper: Future of Scotland

Yesterday, the Scottish Government published its White Paper on independence: “Scotland’s Future” – to read the document please read here and for the section on International relations go here.

The White Paper outlines an approach by the Scottish Government for: ‘Delivering a coherent approach to international development across all Scottish Government policies - crucially trade, environment, defence and finance’ with several key propositions that will guide their approach to international development. These include: 

More and better aid: commitment to a 0.7 per cent target, with an aspiration towards one per cent over time, with plans to legislate for 0.7 per cent target and commitment to good quality aid.

Debt relief: consideration of "unjust" debts; ensuring that Scottish export policies do not create new unjust debts; and establishing Scotland as an international centre for debt arbitration.

Gender equality: putting gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of development work.

Do No Harm: ensuring that other Scottish Government policies do no harm to developing countries, do not undermine international development aims and ideally contribute to international development success - through a rigorous approach to policy coherence for development.

The paper commits to an international development programme that would be delivered as part of an integrated approach to international relations where commercial or other considerations, including military considerations, do not influence the approach improperly.

NIDOS strongly welcomes the focus on a policy coherent approach and these specific commitments and proposals to strengthening Scotland’s international development policies and programmes. While we welcome a ‘do no harm’ approach we would recommend that the approach is also proactive in ensuring added value to aid programmes, through policy coherence in other areas of government policy.

In our recently published report ‘Scotland’s place in building a just world’ these and other proposals for a pro-development, policy coherent approach are detailed.  Our report proposes this approach to strengthening Scotland’s engagement in international relations and international development, whatever the outcome of the referendum.  It also details areas where the Scottish Government could, under current constitutional arrangements, act to strengthen both our aid programme and ensure that other Scottish Government policies could add value to tackling poverty and inequality globally.