In our 75th year I am pleased that Wilton Park is increasingly widely recognised as a global force for good on behalf of the UK.
A good example of what is possible lies in the contribution Wilton Park made to the development of the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development & Foreign Policy, published in March.
This ambitious document sets out the UK’s national security and international policy. As an executive agency of the FCDO, Wilton Park provides a uniquely secure and honest space for challenge between UK and global influencers across the issues covered by the Integrated Review. This stood us in good stead to provide a similar function as the review itself was developed. Please do forward this on to colleagues you feel will be interested in hearing more, and encourage them to sign up here to receive further information, potentially including invitations to future Wilton Park events.
– Tom Cargill, Chief Executive
The road to the Integrated Review
We’ve been closely involved with the Integrated Review (IR) from the very early stages as the IR’s drafters sought to engage government and non-government experts and stakeholders.
“As part of our engagement on the Integrated Review, we have worked with the Cabinet Office to deliver six in-depth dialogues through Wilton Park, bringing together domestic and international subject-matter experts from international politics, academia, business, civil society and youth groups”.
We worked in partnership with the Cabinet Office and designed sessions to help shape the thinking and challenge the assumptions of the Review engaging 168 participants from 23 countries. The themes figure prominently in the published Review: the tilt towards a stronger presence in the Indo-Pacific, a strategic approach to development following the FCO/DfID merger, how to support open societies and economies, the UK’s role as a great science power, and the nature of 21st century resilience.
A Wilton Park youth event in which a selected group of 24 young leaders, stakeholders and experts from 14 countries brought ideas, fresh perspectives and insights to the discussions around the IR.
And we convened a session with the government’s cross-departmental Counter-Proliferation and Arms Control Centre on how to address the proliferation challenges of emerging technology,
On behalf of the UK Government and other partners, we continue to deliver online events across the issues set out in the Review, and across our four core themes of Development, Diplomacy, Trade and Security.
We are convening a series of virtual dialogues on UK development diplomacy. These will aim to assess how the UK’s development and diplomatic skills, capabilities and partnerships can be better integrated and deployed, maximising their impact on poverty reduction and the sustainable development goals (SDGs), as well as on the UK’s soft power and influence across the full range of UK national interests.
We have run a series of dialogues focused on vaccine confidence for COVID-19 vaccines, focused on taking a ‘whole of society’ approach to help end the current pandemic. These dialogues led to the establishment of the global initiative, CONVINCE, which aims to support vaccine confidence in different populations across the world. They dovetail with the work of the UK’s Cabinet Office focused on addressing misinformation to maintain vaccine confidence as part of the G7 agenda.
A dialogue on financing equitable access to vaccines for the African continent, through an African-led ‘whole of Africa’ approach took place in March. This dialogue included both co-chairs of the ACT-A Facilitation Council which provides high-level political leadership and enabling advice to facilitate the work of the COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Key outcomes from the discussion were considered in the 5th ACT-A Facilitation Council meeting.
A number of dialogues focused on vaccine preparedness and vaccine passports are currently in development.
We convened a sequence of dialogues on the future of diplomacy in the digital sphere post-COVID. Further work is planned for this summer. And, with the UK government’s commitment to protecting cultural heritage highlighted in the Integrated Review, we hosted a series of dialogues on the role that Cultural Heritage Protection has to play in supporting development and diplomacy.
A series of virtual conferences supporting improved governance of the use of space helped lay the platform for a successful Resolution at the UN tabled by the UK. We are developing this work further with future meetings on the responsible use of space.
We’ve convened virtual dialogues in support of the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction ahead of the UK’s G7 Presidency, and the work of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Biological Weapons Convention.
As the IR notes, the ongoing impact of climate change produces important consequences for defence and security, and we are convening a series of on Tackling Climate Security to explore this further.
Our Cyber Security series on building capacity to recover from catastrophic events continues: two virtual events already, another planned for April.
The IR notes that “There will be increased competition for scarce natural resources, such as critical minerals including rare earth elements, and control of supply may be used as leverage on other issues”, and the issue will be a key part of the UK’s G7 Presidency. We convened a virtual dialogue to assess what a road map to global coordination and governance of critical minerals might look like.
In April we’ll be running a conference to identify and evaluate the trade policy implications of two particular areas of challenge: environment, and digital trade and innovation.
What now for Wilton Park, with the IR published? We will stay closely engaged with the Review’s outcomes and plan to take a strategic approach to how we do this. The framework for our work will be informed by the IR’s commitment to dynamically shaping the rules-based international order rather than preserving the existing one. The Review states categorically that “A defence of the status quo is no longer sufficient for the decade ahead”, and Wilton Park is uniquely well-placed to drive this forward.
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