Scottish Council on Global Affairs

International affairs and debate with a new perspective from Scotland

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  • 6. Commercial space systems and foreign armed conflicts

    Dr Adam Bower is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Relations, and Director of Impact and Innovation in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Adam is also a Fellow of the Outer Space Institute. Here he talks with John Edward of SCGA on the difficult questions concerning the responsibilities - and potential vulnerabilities - of space companies and governments in times of war. Adam and John also look at Scotland's growing role in commercial space activities.Modern societies are increasingly reliant on satellite-based services that enable critical Earth observation and data transmission services. While states continue to compete - and cooperate - in space exploration, space launch and the operation of Earth-orbiting satellites are now dominated by private space companies. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Western space companies have provided vital Earth observation and telecommunications capabilities to support Ukrainian military operations. This has provided a dramatic illustration of the growing entanglement between commercial and national space systems and the policy dilemmas that emerge when private actors take sides in a war in which their home governments are not formally fighting.

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  • 5. UK-EU foreign policy post-Brexit

    In this episode, the SCGA's John Edward speaks with Dr Benjamin Martill, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh.We consider his research into the UK's relationship with the growing EU foreign and defence policy, how both sides responded to the protracted process of the UK's EU withdrawal, and the prospects for incremental development in the future We conclude with a look at how the landscape is changing once again with the invasion of Ukraine, its application for EU membership, and wider implications for the EU from NATO expansion.For further reading see: In addition, Ben has written an article for UK in a Changing Europe on 'compensatory foreign policy'.
  • 4. The Scottish Human Rights Bill - writing international human rights into Scots law.

    Dr David Scott talks with Laura Pasternak from Who Cares? Scotland and Mhairi Snowden from the Human Rights Consortium Scotland about the Scottish Government’s plans to write international human rights into Scots law. On 15 June 2023, the Scottish Government published the long-awaited consultation on its plans to incorporate various UN human rights treaties into Scots law, subject to the limits of the devolved competence of the Scottish Parliament. Alongside putting rights like the right to housing and the right to a healthy environment into Scots law, the Bill proposes wide-sweeping changes for public authorities in Scotland, including enhanced human rights reporting and outcome monitoring and increased access to the courts for legal accountability.  On this episode of the SCGA podcast, Dr David Scott (Postdoctoral Research Associate in International Law and Governance at the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security, University of Glasgow, and the Scottish Council on Global Affairs) is joined by Laura Pasternak (Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Who Cares? Scotland) and Mhairi Snowden (Director of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland) to discuss a new report on the Scottish Government’s human rights plans and the need to include Care Experienced people in its implementation. The full report, ‘Incorporating International Human Rights: The protection of Care Experienced People’s Rights in the Scottish Human Rights Bill’. The Human Rights Consortium Scotland’s response to the Consultation: Who Cares? Scotland’s response to the Consultation: Human Rights Consortium Scotland - @HRCScotlandWho Cares? Scotland - @whocaresscotDr David Scott - @David_M_Scott_SCGA - @scga_scot
  • 3. Migration & Scotland with Professor Rebecca Kay

    Professor Rebecca Kay talks to John Edward on her research on migration and depopulation, prepared for the SCGA. This is at the same time that Migration Policy Scotland, where Professor Kay now works, published a key report on Attitudes to Migration: A view from Scotland; and the Scottish Census 2022 results were released. The population of Scotland was estimated to be 5,436,600 on Census Day 2022, according to new data released by National Records of Scotland. This is the largest population ever recorded by Scotland’s Census and shows that without migration the population of Scotland would have decreased by around 49,800 since 2011.Professor Kay, is an expert on migration issues in Scotland. She has over 25 years’ experience of social research and is particularly skilled in qualitative research including participatory and action research. She designed and led a large 5-year study of migration from Eastern Europe to Scotland, has been involved in research on issues relating to language learning and migrant integration in Scotland, and is chair of the Scottish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population which provides advice to government on Scotland’s migration needs and challenges and presents policy options and analysis through a series of regular reports.
  • 2. Russo-Ukraine War, and the Wider North

    SCGA Co-Director Phillips O'Brien speaks with Minna Ålander of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs on the implications of the Russo-Ukraine War for the Security in the “Wider North” of Europe.They consider:The Russian security challenge/threat now in the Wider North and in the near futureThe integration of Finland and Sweden and changing security equation for NATOWider North regional resilience and how it can be improvedThe most pressing issues now and in the near future that require cooperation with Russia in the Wider North - such a nuclear waste-clean-up and climate change/ice melt.Professor Phillips O'Brien is Head of the School of International Relations and Professor of Strategic Studies at the University of St Andrews. He is a Co-Director of the Scottish Council on Global Affairs.Minna Ålander is research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Her research focuses on Northern European security and Nordic defence cooperation, as well as Finnish and German foreign and security policy.See also the SCGA website.
  • 1. SCGA introduction - August 2023

    In our first podcast, SCGA Head of Operations John Edward talks with Professor Peter Jackson, SCGA Executive Director. The episode covers what the Council is, how it works, what its priorities are, and what lies ahead."There is a pressing need to marshal Scotland’s formidable expertise on international affairs to support the formulation of public policy and to lift the level of debate over international questions in the public sphere."