Yousaf pledges £24m to aid agencies for countries worst hit by climate crisis

Humza Yousaf has confirmed funding for three aid agencies (Paul Ellis/PA)
Humza Yousaf has confirmed funding for three aid agencies (Paul Ellis/PA)

Countries worst affected by the climate crisis will be supported by up to £24 million in Scottish Government funding, the First Minister has announced.

Humza Yousaf made the pledge as he welcomed US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry to Scotland to speak at an event in Edinburgh.

Three aid agencies, including the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, will each receive up to £8 million over the next three years from the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund to support work in Rwanda, Malawi and Zambia.

It will enable them to work closely with communities to manage the material and social effects of climate change, funding projects such as building more climate-resilient housing or repairing village flood defences.

John Kerry
John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, is in Scotland this week (Yui Mok/PA)

Mr Yousaf launched the programme on Thursday as he introduced a lecture by Mr Kerry focusing on the climate crisis.

During his introductory address, the First Minister said: “The countries which are the worst affected by the climate crisis are often those which have done little or nothing to cause it.

“The injustice at the heart of the global climate crisis is why Scotland became the first country in the world to establish a Climate Justice Fund more than a decade ago, and why we have led the way in being the first global north country to commit funding to address loss and damage.

“Today, we are able to announce the start of the Climate Just Communities programme in Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda. The programme will work with local communities – including with marginalised groups – so that they can identify their own priorities, and build their resilience to the climate crisis.

“The £24 million programme that we are confirming today is a significant commitment from a devolved government. It will make a real difference to the communities we are working with and it’s a further sign of Scotland’s determination to be a good global citizen – and to do our bit in tackling the climate crisis here in Scotland and across the world.”

The event in Edinburgh is the first in a series of annual Scottish Global Dialogues taking place during the Edinburgh International Festival to discuss global challenges, organised by Beyond Borders Scotland and the WS Society with support from the Scottish Government.

Mr Kerry said: “I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to speak at a historic site like the Signet Library to address the climate crisis at this critical moment.

“With just a few months to go before Cop28 in Dubai, we all need to ensure our unwavering commitment to addressing one of the world’s greatest threats.”

Founder of Beyond Borders Mark Muller Stuart KC said: “We are delighted that Secretary Kerry has accepted our invitation to come to Scotland to launch Scottish Global Dialogues by giving the inaugural address on such a critical issue as the climate crisis as we move towards Cop28.

“We believe the convening power of the Edinburgh festivals and the Signet Library’s Scottish Enlightenment connections provides the perfect backdrop for such an address, to say nothing of the Scottish people’s enduring commitment to protecting our environment.”