Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has pledged his support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals during an exhibition at the Scottish Parliament.

The Scotland, Malawi and the Global Goals event, which was organised by the Scotland Malawi Partnership, aimed to raise awareness of the 17 goals to fight inequality, poverty and climate change around the world between now and 2030.

Scotland was among the first countries to sign up to the Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, when they were launched in 2015 – and the country’s well-established partnership with Malawi is a powerful example of how civic activism can play a part in ensuring they are implemented effectively.

More than 94,000 Scots are actively involved in a civic link with the African country, with over £40million a year being contributed by Scottish civic society for the benefit of more than four million Malawians and 300,000 Scots.

Locally, Falkirk High, Head of Muir Primary and Kinnaird Primary all have school-to-school ties with Malawi that inspire generations of young Scots to be good global citizens and transform lives in both countries. Meanwhile, Larbert West Parish Church is twinned with Zolozolo West in Malawi’s third-largest city, Mzuzu.

Mr Matheson, a former co-convenor of the Malawi Cross-Party Group at Holyrood, said: “As a Scotland Malawi Partnership community champion, I’m delighted to help create awareness of the Global Goals.

“The 17 goals, which cover a whole range of areas, are all extremely important. But the one that stands out for me is number 16, which is focused on promoting peace, justice and strong institutions, because it has a particular focus on tackling gender-based violence and ensuring that girls and women get access to justice.

“It’s good to see local groups helping to deliver these goals through their Scotland Malawi Partnership membership and I’d encourage more constituents to show their support.”

David Hope-Jones, chief executive of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, said: “It’s inspiring to see more and more communities across the country becoming involved in the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Find out what the 17 goals are at www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/