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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 26 October 2021

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Sir David Amess MP, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Urgent Question, Retail Sector, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage, Mental Health Needs and Substance Use, Committee Announcement (Climate Justice), Committee Announcement (Supply Chains), Business Motion, Decision Time, UK Malnutrition Awareness Week 2021 (Older People)


Contents


Committee Announcement (Climate Justice)

I call Clare Adamson, convener of the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee, to make an announcement on climate justice.

18:12  

As part of its external affairs remit, the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee took a decision to look at climate impact on the Scottish Government’s partner countries for international development, specifically the climate justice fund impact, in the run-up to the 26th United Nations climate change conference of the parties—COP26—in Glasgow.

The committee held a one-off round-table discussion, taking evidence from a number of stakeholders, including Oxfam Scotland and the Corra Foundation. We were delighted to be joined by Baseflow, a Malawian organisation that is working to improve the sustainability of groundwater sources in rural communities.

I am speaking today on behalf of the committee to inform the Parliament of a number of important themes that emerged from the evidence sessions. We examined the matter in five ways: the part that Scotland can play in promoting global climate governance; where climate justice fits in the context of our international development commitments; how we measure up against the principles of climate justice; the impact of the pandemic and the post-Covid recovery on our approach; and what climate justice looks like locally and globally.

The witnesses who spoke to us were insightful and incisive in their contributions. Oxfam sees COP26 as an opportunity to inspire global climate action, and the charity called for the Scottish Government to use its role in the under2 coalition and on the wellbeing economy Governments forums to demonstrate credible climate justice examples. Professor Tahseen Jafry of Glasgow Caledonian University’s centre for climate justice told us that dialogue is taking place far and wide, from the islands of the South Pacific to Inuit communities in Canada, and she suggested that we must now move from discussing the idea of climate justice to “tangible, meaningful and measurable” work.

Christian Aid Scotland believes climate justice to be the best way to implement international development and a way to meet the objectives set out in Scotland. Muthi Nhlema from Baseflow, as our only witness from the global south, gave some very practical examples of outcomes. What we can do to tackle those issues might seem just a drop in the ocean, but he said that a drop in the ocean can start a tidal wave and detailed how a small additional investment from the Scottish and US Governments leveraged an existing project that the Scottish Government had developed in partnership with Malawi. Following the catastrophic floods in Malawi in 2019, they were able to use a database to identify the water points most at risk for the population. Around 150,000 people were at risk of contracting waterborne disease, but that was prevented by using the database. He said that Scotland had played its part in supporting the generation of assets and that it was now up to Malawi to increase the impact.

The Corra Foundation called for a focus on inclusion, sustainability and partnership that is locally led by organisations. All our witnesses urged that we amplify the voices of the global south during COP26.

This was a short but important piece of work by the committee and it is important to highlight it today in the context of COP26. I commend the account of the evidence session to members.