Humanitarian Aid (Funding Criteria)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 8 February 2024.

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Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what criteria it considers when determining how to allocate funding for humanitarian aid in situations such as those in Gaza. (S6O-03082)

Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

The primary mechanism through which the Scottish Government responds to a humanitarian crisis is the humanitarian emergency fund. Decisions on which crises to respond to through the HEF are made by the Scottish ministers, based on recommendations from a panel of eight leading humanitarian aid organisations.

We have recently responded to emergencies in Pakistan, Malawi, Ukraine, Turkey and Syria, and Gaza. Key considerations in those cases were which organisations were already on the ground and able to provide a rapid response and value for money. That was the case for Gaza and, similarly, for Zambia, for which I announced last week £500,000 to respond to a deadly cholera epidemic through the Red Cross.

Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

The humanitarian crisis that we have seen unfold in Gaza is harrowing and is worsening by the day, underscoring the need for urgent action. Does the minister agree that the only way to ensure mutual peace and security is through the recognition of a Palestinian state, alongside a binding commitment to the two-state solution? Can she say what representations the Scottish Government has made to the United Kingdom Government with regard to such recognition?

Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

I do not think that anyone can look at the images that we are seeing on our TV screens every day and not realise that we need a ceasefire now in order to bring about progress to peace. I wish all the sides well, and I will continue to do that.

We would add our voice to that aim. The Scottish Government supports a two-state solution. We think that it is the only way to progress to peace. In November last year, the First Minister wrote to the Prime Minister in those terms. We will continue to make such representations to the UK Government as the issue continues. Today is another example of the Scottish Government calling on the UK Government to get round the table, call for a ceasefire and make some progress to peace in order to support the people—the civilians—in Gaza.

Photo of Jamie Greene Jamie Greene Conservative

A ll of us despair about the on-going conflict and crisis that is happening the world over, but that is my point—there is conflict the world over. In that vein, what criteria does the Scottish Government use to decide where and to whom it sends financial aid and what due diligence does it undertake before and during such financial payments?

Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

I will ensure that Jamie Greene gets more details on our humanitarian emergency fund and our partners in it. Eight leading humanitarian aid organisations are involved in the decision-making process. When they alert us to an on-going or a possible crisis, we take their advice and decide whether it meets the criteria for funding from the humanitarian emergency fund.

The system that we have in place is well rehearsed and organised. I will ensure that Jamie Greene gets more detail on the HEF and conversations with key partners such as Oxfam, which gives us a sitrep almost every day on the situation in Gaza.