Scots to grill politicians on plans to tackle climate action and global poverty

Scottish voters are being offered an opportunity to quiz politicians and make their voices heard on the role Scotland should play in building a greener, fairer world.

Members of the public can sign up to a virtual Question Time, where they will be able to grill prospective candidates on how they would help tackle issues such as climate change, poverty and sustainable growth ahead of the upcoming Scottish parliament elections.

People from communities from across the globe will also be able to join the online meeting and pose their own questions.

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The event is being hosted by Scotland's International Development Alliance, which represents more than 200 organisations worldwide, and takes place this Thursday.

Glasgow is this November due to host the United Nations climate change summit Cop26, which will see international leaders coming together to report on progress in curbing emissions of greenhouse gases set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement

The session, which will be chaired by campaigner and writer Talat Yaqoob, is aimed at encouraging Scottish political parties to include commitments to global sustainable development in their manifestos.

Representatives from Scotland’s five main political parties have agreed to take part.

Guests are the SNP’s Jenny Gilruth, minister for Europe and international development, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, Liberal Democrats environment spokesperson Liam McArthur, Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary Maurice Golden and Scottish Labour’s Sarah Boyack, spokesperson for the environment, climate change and land reform.

Alliance chair Simon Anderson stressed the importance of worldwide issues when going to the ballot box in May.

Simon Anderson, chair of the Scotland's International Development Alliance, says the Covid-19 pandemic and the impacts of climate change demonstrate the need for the next Scottish government to act on global issues

“This year’s Holyrood elections take place against the backdrop of a world facing multiple crises,” he said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that we live in a truly interconnected world with shared global challenges.

“Our own economic prosperity and well-being can no longer be decoupled from the poverty and environmental threats experienced elsewhere.

“We now know, more than ever before, that sustainable development is a prerequisite for a fairer world.”

He highlighted the need for action on climate change, which has a disproportionately large impact on the world’s poorest communities.

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He added: “The eyes of the world will be on Scotland as we host the international climate change summit Cop26 in Glasgow this November, giving us a platform to show genuine leadership at a critical moment for global climate action.

“This is also a critical moment for voters in Scotland to have their voices heard and influence the parties’ election manifestos.

“The decisions they make now will set the agenda for the next five years of the Scottish Parliament.

“That’s why we’re asking people in Scotland, along with communities from across the world, to join the Scotland for a Fairer World: Question Time, submit questions to the panel and encourage all parties to set out a bold, internationalist agenda to make Scotland a global leader in tackling poverty and climate change.”

Anyone who would like to take part in the event can register on the Eventbrite website.

The Alliance has set out a five-point action list for the next Scottish government.

Demands include building an economy that puts people and planet first; enhancing international development work so Scotland can help fight global poverty; and investing in education to empower future generations of Scots to build more inclusive, peaceful and secure societies.

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