First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins Alliance Conference 2018 “Tomorrow’s World”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins Alliance Conference 2018 “Tomorrow’s World”

On 25th September, the third anniversary of the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Alliance welcomed members, stakeholders and partners from across the country to its Annual Conference 2018.

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In recognition of this important anniversary and the Year of Young People in Scotland, the theme of this year’s conference was the role of young people in development across the world. Delegates had the opportunity to engage in discussions across a range of themes, including global citizenship education, using the SDGs to campaign for change, climate justice, safeguarding and more.

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Kicking off the day’s proceedings, our first keynote speaker, Aya Chebbi, award-winning Pan-African activist, got straight to the point about the importance of youth-led movements in a powerful speech about her experience during the Tunisian revolution.

She said: “When youth have the agency to see themselves and to be perceived and treated as solutions not problems, as drivers not subjects of development, as job creators not seekers, as people you serve not beneficiaries; with only this mindset you can contribute to advance Africa’s development.”


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We were then honoured to have a live link-up to Bangladesh to hear about youth-led activism and empowerment in a Q&A between delegates and a youth activist from the Oxfam Empower Youth for Work programme in Bangladesh, facilitated by our second keynote speaker of the day Imogen Davies, Programme Advisor on Youth, Gender and Active Citizenship at Oxfam GB.


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In a last minute change to proceedings, it was announced that the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland, would join the conference. In her well-received speech in the opening plenary session of the afternoon, she commended the Alliance and its members for the work we all do, every day.

She also emphasised the Scottish Government’s continuing support for international development, and stressed her belief that is our moral duty to play our part in creating a fairer world.

She said: “For our part, promoting international development is an absolutely essential part of being a good global citizen. It's worth stressing that point, given some of the discussions taking place elsewhere on these islands. The Scottish Government does not believe, we never have believed and will never see, that aid is given primarily for our own national interest.”

In a statement that development practitioners welcomed, the First Minister also spoke of the importance of policy coherence and collaboration.

She said: “international development work does not stand in isolation from everything else that government does. So we need to ensure that our wider policies do not undermine our international development programme.”

You can read her full Speech here.


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Full summaries of breakout-sessions, the winning photos from our photo competition and other photos from the day will all be available on our website soon in the ‘Past Events’ section.

In the meantime, remember that as an Alliance member you can join discussions on any of the topics raised on the day by going to the Alliance Community.


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