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How much will an independent Scotland spend on international development?

This is currently decided at Westminster and Scotland contributes to this spending through taxation. In an independent Scotland it will be decided by governments elected by the people of Scotland.

The current Scottish Government is committed to spending 0.7 per cent Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance. The current Scottish Government also proposes to bring forward legislation to enshrine this as a binding target. Over the longer-term, we would work towards spending 1 per cent of GNI on aid.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How could an independent Scotland afford that level of funding for international development? Is this an affordable commitment?

This is one of the immediate priorities of the current Scottish Government for the first budget of an independent Scotland – the budget priorities of the current Government, and the proposed actions to raise revenue and reduce spending to support these priorities, are set out in Part 2 of this document. To put it in context, meeting our international aid obligation of 0.7 per cent of GNI will amount to just 70p out of every £100 of GNI. As well as the existing £9 million Scottish Government aid budget, Scottish taxes currently contribute to the UK international aid budget. The Westminster Government has committed to meet the target of 0.7 per cent of GNI within this financial year.

The 0.7 per cent target is calculated as a percentage of a country’s GNI, therefore the size of the country is not relevant – the target is to spend an appropriate share of that GNI. As a country’s economy becomes richer or poorer, so its contribution rises or falls.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What impact will independence have on existing Department for International Development programmes?

The Scottish Government intends to work with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to ensure that there is a smooth transition phase for programmes on the ground in developing countries. There will be continued funding support, where appropriate, to those DFID programmes which span the independence period to avoid any disruption to those programmes and their recipients. International Development is just one of the areas where future Scottish and Westminster governments can choose to work together to complement each other’s activity. Scotland is likely to also be a significant donor to multilateral organisations reflecting similar priorities as the UK in this area.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How can the Scottish Government justify spending money on international development – why aren’t we spending this money at home?

In 2012, an estimated 6.6 million children under the age of five – 18,000 a day – died from mostly preventable diseases. This huge preventable loss of life remains an urgent global problem which must be taken seriously.

Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and one of the purposes of independence is to make sure that wealth works better for the people who live here. However, we also recognise our wider international responsibilities and believe that investment in development internationally is the right thing to do.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

At the moment, the Scottish Government’s international development funding goes directly to Scottish-based organisations and not directly to governments. Will this change if Scotland becomes independent?

It is the view of the current Scottish Government that funding through civil society should remain a dominant feature of future Scottish development programmes.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

To which countries would an independent Scotland provide international development funding?

These would be decisions for governments elected by the people of Scotland.

The current Scottish Government would consider this as we approach independence, with the Human Development Index as a central criterion in that decision-making process. We expect a geographically focussed aid policy in line with developing best practice and will develop open and objective criteria for the selection of partner countries. Ultimately, these decisions will be for the government of the day, but we hope to secure a degree of consensus regarding the criteria used to select partner countries to ensure stable and effective long-term partnerships with a small number of countries.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will an independent Scotland focus on gender equality as part of international development?

Women and girls make up the majority of the world’s poor and bear a disproportionate share of the burden of poverty and responsibility for caring for others. This Government is doing everything we can to promote equality in Scotland and we would want an independent Scotland’s international policies to do the same.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will the focus on gender equality work in practice?

Gender equality and the empowerment of women are United Nations Millennium Development Goals in their own right. They are also critical to the delivery of other key development goals including in education and health. It would therefore be right for an independent Scotland to put gender equality at the heart of its development work.

The present Scottish Government would ensure that policies put in place will be in line with international commitments and recognised good practice on gender equality.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will Scottish people know that money being spent overseas by the Scottish Government is making an impact?

Scottish Governments will report to the Scottish Parliament regularly on Scotland’s development impact.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will we know that the ‘Do No Harm’ approach is being implemented?

To provide policy coherence and as an expression of the values driving our foreign policy, we propose that Scottish Government policies, on all issues, will do no harm to developing countries, will not undermine our international development aims and will ideally contribute to international development success. This Government is committed to reporting to the Scottish Parliament on a regular basis on Scotland’s development impact, including on our commitment to deliver a ‘Do No Harm’ approach.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.