The next decade could bring some of the most profound social, economic, political and environmental changes in living memory.

In 2030, Scotland’s population will be larger and older.

The rise of artificial intelligence and automation will have radically changed the jobs market and the world of work.

The free movement of people, goods and money between Scotland and its neighbours will be fundamentally changed by Brexit.

Slow growth and possible recession is predicted.

The success of populist and divisive politicians has profound implications for all countries.

And by 2030, a radical global response to the climate emergency and nature crisis must be agreed and enacted to limit warming to 1.5 degrees and reverse the loss of biodiversity.

The challenges of the next decade are significant, and they are real.

The SCVO Policy Forum has begun the task of developing a manifesto for Scotland’s voluntary sector that recognises these challenges and demonstrates how a thriving, sustainable third sector can empower communities to identify and deliver solutions.

There are over 40,000 voluntary sector organisations in Scotland, employing more than 100,000 people – making it one of the country’s biggest employment sectors – with a collective turnover of almost £6 billion.

With the right drive and vision, it is possible to make our response to the challenges of our age an historic opportunity to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous country, delivering Scotland’s commitment to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Earlier this year, the Policy Forum held evidence sessions considering the future of society, economy and workforce in Scotland, and the impact on wellbeing of the future challenges and opportunities facing us.

Guest speakers at the recent writing day laid down a renewed challenge to the voluntary sector to focus on our purpose in order to deliver on our potential, and to be prepared to look at ourselves critically and consider what more we can do to co-operate with each other to deliver change.

The Policy Forum has now started drafting a manifesto that will be a rallying cry from Scotland’s voluntary sector to collaborate to achieve the visionary transformation these challenging times call for around:

  • Humanity – Supporting human rights, equality and wellbeing for all;
  • Citizenship – Enhancing citizenship, democracy and participation;
  • Planet – Securing environmental action and responsibility to the planet for its future generations.

Our manifesto will set out how Scotland’s voluntary sector stands ready to share its knowledge and expertise to face the challenges of the next decade and to help build a fair and prosperous future for everyone.

Find out more about the SCVO Policy Forum and the development of a manifesto for Scotland’s voluntary sector.

Frank McKillop is Policy and Public Affairs Manager at ENABLE Scotland and a member of the SCVO Policy Forum