We have more global impact when we work together. As part of the UK, Scotland is helping tackle issues like climate change, poverty, and conflict.
Using the UK’s Global Influence
The UK is working with international partners to advance the prosperity, sustainability and security of the world for generations to come. The combined strength and global influence of the UK allows it to make a real difference on the world stage. This work includes 1,000 diplomatic and international development experts based in Scotland at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) headquarters in East Kilbride. In 2022, the UK Government published a parliamentary report showing the scale of its work to promote Scotland abroad.
- Standing with Ukraine
- Support for British people living, travelling and working around the world
- The United Nations
- International development
- Climate and environmental action
- Trading relationships
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an unprovoked attack against a sovereign democratic state. The UK and its international partners have condemned the Russian government’s actions, which are a violation of international law and the UN Charter.
Together with its allies, the UK has introduced the largest and most severe package of sanctions ever imposed on Russia or any major economy.
The UK’s military and economic support to Ukraine has reached £9.3 billion, this includes, £4.1 billion in fiscal support and £640 million in bilateral assistance. The UK announced a further £127 million of humanitarian support at the Ukraine Recovery Conference, this adds to the £220 million of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and the region that the UK provided in 2022-23. The priority for this funding is to support the most vulnerable people, including women and children, the elderly and disabled.
The UK has also set up visa support for Ukrainian nationals with over 234,000 visas issued so far. This includes the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme which both help Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK. If you want to offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine you could become a sponsor as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
The FCDO employs more than 16,000 staff worldwide, and operates 280 diplomatic posts in 178 countries and territories. Each of these embassies, high commissions and consulates represents the values and interests of Scotland and the whole UK. People with a UK passport are guaranteed help and support from this network, which includes high-quality, accessible consular services and support for incidents affecting British people overseas.
These diplomatic posts can respond rapidly to overseas crises and help coordinate action by the UK Government and its partners.
This map shows many of the UK’s diplomatic posts across the globe:
The UK is one of the founding members of the United Nations (UN), an organisation that addresses the biggest issues facing humanity. Using its global influence at the UN, the UK promotes better governance, human rights and gender equality. It also encourages action on terrorism, climate change and humanitarian and health emergencies.
Furthermore, the UK is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, where it supports international peace and security.
The UK is helping millions of people in low- and middle-income countries to improve their lives. This is possible because the UK has the resources and expertise to deliver the high-impact long-term programmes that work best.
Scotland plays an important role in the UK’s Strategy for International Development. For instance, UK Aid Match has worked with Scottish charities like The HALO Trust, EMMS International, Mary’s Meals, and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) to support their incredible work.
One of the UK’s top priorities is supporting women and girls worldwide. It aims to deliver empowerment, education and an end to gender-based violence. Example programmes include the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI), Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH), and the Girls Education Challenge.
Leading the world in tackling climate change and preventing biodiversity loss are top priorities for the UK. The country was the first major economy to set a Net Zero carbon commitment in law. It has also pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
Furthermore, the UK has doubled its International Climate Finance (ICF) contribution to at least £11.6 billion between 2021-2026. This will include investing at least £3 billion to protect and restore nature.
The UK was granted the presidency for the United Nations 26th climate change summit known as COP26. The country used its global influence and leadership to encourage the world to go further and faster on climate action. This culminated in a conference held in Glasgow which brought together tens of thousands of delegates. The Glasgow Climate Pacts delivered renewed commitments for tackling climate change. As a result, over 90% of the global economy was covered by a net-zero target, up from 30% two years before.
The UK is also fighting the illegal wildlife trade. This is organised crime that endangers some of the world’s most iconic species. For example, each year 20,000 African elephants are poached for their ivory. In response the UK has brought in one of the toughest ivory bans in the world.
Elsewhere, the UK’s Blue Belt programme has enhanced marine protection across more than 4.3 million square kilometers of marine environment. It is also leading an international push to protect at least 30% of land and ocean by 2030. This will help restore ecosystems, drive species population recovery and halt extinctions by 2050.
The UK Government has a trade and investment hub in Scotland to help businesses thrive and grow internationally. Furthermore, UK Export Finance (UKEF) have appointed a specialist to focus on supporting Scotland’s renewable exports and energy transition.
There were 130 new inward investment projects in Scotland in 2022-2023, and as a result 3,428 jobs were created. Many of these projects were supported by the UK Government or one of its partners. Over the past 3 years there have been 341 foreign direct investment projects in Scotland, creating more than 11,000 new jobs.
At the same time, the UK is negotiating and signing new free trade agreements worldwide. These will open up new markets for Scotland’s exporters and bring in further investment.