Programme theme: Human rights, good governance and faith

In cooperation with the Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability and with support from UK aid and the British Embassy Belgrade, Good governance and effective citizen engagement was a facts-based policy discussion, contributing to open, accountable and participatory governance in Serbia.

The 11th annual meeting in Wilton Park’s International Futures series, The future of cities, regions and communities was held in association with the FCO’s Policy Unit and Economic Diplomacy Directorate and the Ministry of Defence. A collaborative group of participants explored the potential futures for cities, regions and communities past 2030.

We brought together localisation work-stream participants and key stakeholders at One year on – the Grand Bargain and localisation, which was held in partnership with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), to progress development on the localisation strand of the Grand Bargain. This meeting resulted in the publication of “Local Humanitarian Action in Practice: Case Studies and Reflections of Local Humanitarian Actors”, launched at the World Humanitarian Action Forum in November 2017.

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 provided participants at Britain’s place in the world: a force for good? with 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.


In the MENA region, 60% of the population is under 30 – the most youthful region in the world. Youth employment sits at 51%, with highly skilled and tertiary educated young people disproportionately affected. The first event in the new Wilton Park Youth Dialogues series, Connecting youth and government for a more stable world, focussed on young people and their aspirations and needs, with particular focus on the Middle East and Africa. The meeting concluded that there is a window of opportunity of a few decades at best to convert the youth bulge into a ‘demographic dividend’.

The second event, Youth as peacemakers, looked at how initiatives and actions can be supported and strengthened. These events were held with support from the British Council, FCO, DFID, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Restless Development, the Institute of Development Studies and the West Asia North Africa Institute, Jordan.

Held with support from Save the Children and DFID, Dealing with the mental health needs of children and adolescents affected by conflict explored the mental health crisis among children and adolescents trapped in conflict in Syria and elsewhere, during and after conflict. The conference identified lessons to be learned globally, as well as innovations from new and promising interventions.

Human rights

Experts from selected source, transit and destination countries, including policy makers, law enforcement, business, civil society, exchanged ideas on creative uses of ICT in tackling modern slavery, using the ‘5P’ framework of pursue, prevent, protect, prepare and partnership at The role of digital technology in tackling modern slavery. Funded by BT and Nokia and with input from techUK, the discussions concluded that technology will not solve modern slavery alone but needs effective deployment and adequate skills and capacity on the ground to be used effectively.

The 13th annual Wilton Park Human Rights meeting, Human rights and Agenda 2030 was co-funded by the Swiss Federal Department for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland. International experts explored how Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and existing international human rights norms can be further aligned, identifying potential risks and challenges.

Prosecuting human trafficking, modern slavery, organised immigration crime, forced labour and related conduct requires prosecutors to work with police from the outset of criminal investigations, shaping the gathering of evidence in complex cases where there may be many victims and many perpetrators with different roles. Against this backdrop, the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales hosted Stepping up the level of prosecution for people trafficking, modern slavery, organised immigration crime and forced labour across Europe as a summit for Prosecutors General and senior expert prosecutors from countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America; international law enforcement organisations such as Eurojust, Interpol and Europol; and the UK’s National Crime Agency and UK policing.

The expert roundtable, Towards a 21st century treaty body system, provided a forum to explore opportunities presented by the 2020 General Assembly Review of the UN Human Rights Treaty Body System. In particular, the meeting considered what makes for a modern and effective Treaty Body System (TBS), with the protection of human rights at the forefront. The meeting was held in association with the Organising Committee comprised of Jens Modvig (Chairperson, UN Committee Against Torture), Anastasia Crickley (Outgoing Chairperson, UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination), and Sir Malcolm Evans (Chairperson, UN subcommittee on Prevention of Torture)