Contribution of Development Support to Other Nations

Contribution of development support to other nations is a new indicator for the International Outcome: “We are open, connected and make a positive contributions internationally”.

The indicator is a composite that measures Scotland’s international development activities. It provides a comprehensive depiction of how Scotland contributes to international development.

It was developed in recognition that development is not only shaped by aid spend but that climate, trade and migration also play crucial roles.

It measures Scotland’s activities as good global citizen, focuses on how Scotland can avoid harm to the development of other nations and how Scotland supports their development.

This indicator tracks aggregate change in the levels of Contribution to development support since 2014.


The Scottish Government commissioned the development of an index based on international best practice. The indicator is divided into three elements of Scotland’s international development activities that reflect a beyond aid approach to development:

1) We are good global citizens,

2) We avoid harm to the development of other nations, and

3) We support development in other nations.

Nine variables[1] sit under these statements, and data was draw from different sources for a baseline score and measure of change since 2014.

To account for the different magnitude of scores, each variable has been indexed and set to the value 100 for the baseline year, and the percentage changes in subsequent years, relative to the baseline year.

A geometric mean is used to combine these indicators because it does not allow significant changes in one indicator component to dominate the composite indicator as a whole and so indicator components with very different scales can be combined. The geometric mean of n indicators is defined as: n√ (I1 x I2 x …..x In).

1) We are good global citizens

•         Scotland’s connectedness to ODA recipient countries[2]

Source: Scottish Government

•         Asylum seekers settled in Scotland per 100,000 population

Source: National Records of Scotland - Mid Year Population Estimates

•         HE Students from DAC Least Developed Countries / Total Non-EU Students


2) We avoid harm to the development of other nations

         % of total waste treated in Scotland


•         Value of the Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy (LCREE) in Scotland


•         Value of Agricultural subsidies


3) We support development in other nations

•         % of international development funding targeting vulnerable groups

Source: Scottish Government

•         Value of R&D contracts in HEIs in partnership with ODA-eligible nations


•         Value of goods imports from ODA countries


This approach uses variables that are already existing and some that are being collected for the first time, such as Scotland’s connectedness to ODA recipient countries and % of international development funding targeting vulnerable groups.



Beyond aid is an approach that acknowledges a comprehensive range of factors as contributing to international development.


Criteria for Change

Scores were calculated for each of these components with a baseline value (=100) in 2017.

The score for the other years was set as a proportion of this baseline value. For all but one components, a larger score represents a larger positive impact. For one component, the value of agricultural subsidies, an inverse is used so that a larger score was transposed into a lower index.

The performance arrow change is based on a statistically significant change in the dashboard index variables.

If the change in the index is found to be statistically significant, changes in the index of 5+/- should be considered the threshold for reporting change, the indicator will be either performance improving or performance worsening – otherwise, the indicator will be performance maintaining.

For information on link to the indicator report, please click here.




[1] Currently, the calculations only include eight variables, as the ninth is drawn from the ‚International networks’ indicator still under development.

[2] This is the variable not included.

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