South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has paid tribute in the Scottish Parliament to local volunteer and Fair Trade champion Judith Mylne, who passed away in April.

The local MSP, who is convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party-group on Fair Trade and chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Fair Trade steering group, highlighted Judith’s tireless work to promote the principles of Fair Trade.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament’s debate on international development on Tuesday, Colin Smyth said: “As convener of the cross-party group on Fair Trade and chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Fair Trade steering group, I see on a daily basis the invaluable work of many of those stakeholders in promoting an important aspect of our contribution to international development: Fair Trade.

“I pay tribute to those who made Scotland a Fair Trade nation, the businesses, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum for its leadership and co-ordination and the volunteers across Scotland, working tirelessly in their local fair trade groups on a daily basis.

“I will pay particular tribute to one such volunteer: the late Judith Mylne, who sadly passed away in April.

“Judith was a real champion for Fair Trade, whether it was running the Dumfries Fair Trade stall at the Dunscore Fair Trade big brew, or when she turned up at my advice surgery to bend my ear that not all the chocolate in the Scottish Parliament shop was Fair Trade.

“She never missed an opportunity and her extraordinary commitment to Fair Trade, from its very beginnings, often going above and beyond to promote its principles, led to her receiving the volunteer of the year award from the Scottish Fair Trade Forum in 2018.”

Speaking about the Fair Trade movement Judith was so passionate about, he continued: “Many organisations have highlighted the need for an approach to international development that, first and foremost, empowers communities in partner countries, by amplifying their voices and supporting their needs.

“As a producer-led partnership, the Fair Trade movement fits in very much with that vision. It has been led by the voice of producers, as they set out the challenges that they face and the opportunities that they seek to take in order to shape the agenda for trade justice internationally. That movement’s leadership and partnership with others has led to the growth, reach and impact of fair trade.

“The basic principles of fair trade—better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries and across the world—have never been more important than they are now. They must be central to our approach to international development.”

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