World affairs by topic

World affairs includes the following topic areas. Please click the links to access lists of publications by topic:

Defence

  • ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ and threats facing the UK

    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) published the command paper ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ on 22 March 2021, setting out how the UK’s defence capabilities will support the Government’s integrated review of security, defence, development, and foreign policy. The command paper contained a range of measures, including how the UK will respond to current and future threats. This article summarises those provisions ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords on these issues.

    ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ and threats facing the UK
  • Covert human intelligence sources: criminal conduct

    Covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) have been used for decades to prevent or secure prosecutions for serious crimes, such as terrorism and human trafficking. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 provided statutory powers to organisations, such as the intelligence agencies and law enforcement bodies, to authorise criminal activity by CHIS. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Criminal Conduct Authorisations) (Amendment) Order 2021 makes some necessary changes to existing legislation.

    Covert human intelligence sources: criminal conduct
View all briefings on defence

International law

  • Accusations of genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China

    Several countries and parliaments have accused China of committing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The UK Government maintains that only a competent court can make this determination. However, the Times reported that the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, had previously accused China of committing genocide. The House of Lords is due to take note of these reported remarks on 25 November 2021.

    Accusations of genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China
  • COP26: aims, goals and progress

    COP26 is an international climate change conference held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It stands for ‘conference of the parties’ and is the 26th meeting of the parties to the UNFCCC. It is being held between 31 October and 12 November 2021. On 18 November 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate the outcomes of the conference.

    COP26: aims, goals and progress
  • UK Government policy on Iran: the Iran nuclear deal and dual nationals

    The UK’s relationship with Iran has been under pressure from several significant issues, including trying to restore the Iran nuclear deal and Iran’s detention of British-Iranian dual nationals. The Iran nuclear deal was designed to limit Iran’s non-civilian nuclear development in return for sanctions relief. The agreement has been strained since the US withdrew in 2018 and Iran started to breach it. This briefing looks at the UK Government’s policy on these two issues.

    UK Government policy on Iran: the Iran nuclear deal and dual nationals
View all briefings on international law

Foreign policy

  • Afghanistan: hunger, poverty, and resettlement efforts

    Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the country is on the brink of a humanitarian and economic crisis. United Nations agencies report that significant proportions of the population are at risk from malnutrition, particularly young children, and as much as 97% of the population could fall below the poverty line. At the same time, many Afghans continue to seek to leave Afghanistan and the UK is engaged in efforts to resettle those who qualify to come to the country via several schemes. However, the key Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is yet to commence operations.

    Afghanistan: hunger, poverty, and resettlement efforts
  • COP26: aims, goals and progress

    COP26 is an international climate change conference held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It stands for ‘conference of the parties’ and is the 26th meeting of the parties to the UNFCCC. It is being held between 31 October and 12 November 2021. On 18 November 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate the outcomes of the conference.

    COP26: aims, goals and progress
  • Urban water and sanitation in developing countries: impact of climate change

    Many people around the world do not have access to safe and adequate drinking water and sanitation facilities. Increasingly extreme weather patterns, resulting in both more droughts and more floods, are predicted to place more stress on water and sanitation services. This article looks at access to water and sanitation in developing countries, why it matters and what the UK Government is doing in this area.

    Urban water and sanitation in developing countries: impact of climate change
View all briefings on foreign policy