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Britain's place in the world: a force for good? (WP1597)


This 24 hour meeting provided an opportunity for a small expert group of decision makers, influencers and opinion formers to discuss prospects for Britain’s role as a future force for good in the world.

Contemporary domestic challenges and shifts in the international power balance have created uncertainty and increased pressure on existing institutions, with multiple actors exploring complex trade-offs between national interests and international obligations.

This current state of flux provides an opportunity to consider Britain’s role in promoting international collaboration around universal norms, identify opportunities to build consensus and explore ways in which the UK can sustain a positive influence on global discourse.

The transnational nature of many current challenges requires a global response undergirded by international cooperation. Climate change, global health pandemics and terrorism do not stop at national borders. To deliver global public goods and tackle global public ‘bads’, the international community must develop coordinated responses. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marked a watershed moment in this regard and the UK’s position in continuing to support these and other international efforts should inform discussions towards 2030 and beyond.

In the context of Britain as a global force for good, the roundtable aimed to:

  • Identify current challenges and concerns and explore ways forward
  • Consider options and opportunities to strengthen Britain’s commitment to and collaboration with international efforts in delivering global public goods and tackling global public ‘bads’
  • Develop a better understanding of the objectives of organisations and institutions represented as a basis for stronger future collaboration
  • Explore prospects for an expert network to sustain emerging ideas and develop the emerging vision

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