FCO Strategy Document

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published a strategy document, apparently the first ever to be published, which aims (in the Foreign Secretary's words) to "clarify our priorities so we can concentrate our efforts where they are most needed and respond flexibly to unexpected events." The document is snappily titled UK International Priorities: a Strategy for the FCO and the FCO Web site provides both the full strategy document and a "get to the point" edited highlights version for those who can think of better things to do than read FCO White Papers.

The bits I have read so far are fascinating. Drawing on their analysis of the UK's role in the international system and key relationships they put forward eight strategic policy priorities viz.

  1. a world safer from global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction
  2. protection of the UK from illegal immigration, drug trafficking and other international crime
  3. an international system based on the rule of law, which is better able to resolve disputes and prevent conflicts
  4. an effective EU in a secure neighbourhood
  5. promotion of UK economic interests in an open and expanding global economy
  6. sustainable development, underpinned by democracy, good governance and human rights
  7. security of UK and global energy supplies
  8. security and good governance of the UK's Overseas Territories.

Naturally the strategy has already attracted obligatory criticism from usual sources, Menzies Campbell of the Lib Dems said, "This document marks the end of a foreign policy ‘with an ethical dimension’. It acknowledges the importance of human rights but does not give them a sufficient priority. It consists of warm words and acceptable sentiment, but is wholly inadequate in explaining how Government strategy is to be implemented." The tories shadow foreign minister Richard Spring MP said, amongst other comments, "Most worrying of all is that beneath the woolly rhetoric there is little to demonstrate how this White Paper can be implemented." If ever there was empty rhetoric...

Posted by Paul at December 3, 2003 01:01 AM |
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