EU-Scottish Aid summit in Edinburgh

27 November 2005
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith will host a conference of Scottish International Development Organisations on Thursday to discuss Scottish access to EU international development funding.

The conference, which will be held at the European Parliament offices in Edinburgh has been arranged in conjunction with NIDOS (Network of International Development Organisations Scotland) and will be addressed by the European Commission, Scottish development organisations involved in Europe and other MEPs.

Speaking ahead of the conference Mr Smith said

"Scottish development organisations do some fantastic work around the world, but they continually face funding problems. "The European Union provides major support for aid and development projects but I hear consistently from Scottish groups that it is too hard for them to access, or they find problems with it being paid on time.

"One organisation I have worked with had severe problems and faced closure as a result of problems with EU funds. What I want to do at this conference is find out what the problems are and see if we can go back to Brussels and make changes to the funding regime. I also wanted to bring the development organisations face to face with the Commission and the Parliament to push their case and development issues that matter to them. Europe is busy producing a new policy on development issues, this is Scotland's chance to have a say.

"While the UK has the presidency of the EU, while so much global attention is on issues of international development and when Scotland has recently signed an accord to support Malawi, it is important that Scottish organisations have every chance to be heard and to be in a position where they can work to their full potential around the world."

"Scotland has so much to contribute to international development and we are currently let down by our position in the UK. An independent Scotland would be able to meet the UN target of 0.7% GDP on international development that has been met by our Scandinavian and European neighbours. Until we get to that point we must seek to do everything we can with the expertise that we have. I hope this session will help Scottish organisations work with Europe to reach our full potential in international development."

A spokesperson for NIDOS added

"It is an ideal opportunity for the NIDOS membership to interact directly from key figures from the EU and the countries in which we work. Not only does it come during the UK Presidency and in the context of the Make Poverty History campaign, but later this month is the Ministerial meeting on the EU's Development Policy, the EU-Africa strategy, and the financing of development co-operation. In addition, the 10th session of the ACP (African/Caribbean/ Pacific)-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly will take place here in Edinburgh from 19 to 24 November 2005. This will be a useful and timely learning session for the NIDOS membership."

Note to Editors

Members of the Press are welcome to attend

Agenda

9:00-10:30 Jeremy Nagoda - DG AID, European Commission
10:30-12:00 - Interactive session with Scottish MEPs chaired by Alyn Smith
12:45-2:30 - Panel discussions with Mercy Corps, Trade Africa 2000, BOND EU policy team.
2:30 - Opportunities from the UK Presidency, chaired by Oxfam Scotland.

NIDOS (The Network of International Development Organisations in Scotland) is a network of 56 Scottish-based organisations which promotes the sharing of expertise, and the exchange of experience and information for more effective working in International Development. www.nidos.org.uk