UK position on foreign affairs

In 2021 the government published an integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy. It published a refreshed review in March 2023 to take account of developments in foreign affairs over the preceding two years. The government has since published a number of policy papers and strategies to complement the refreshed review. In addition, Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton was appointed as foreign secretary in November 2023.

UK position on foreign affairs

AUKUS security partnership

AUKUS is a trilateral security partnership between the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Australia agreed in 2021. It consists of two key pillars and has been designed to allow the three nations to cooperate closely on key defence capabilities, including submarine technology and cutting-edge advanced capabilities such as artificial intelligence and quantum technologies.

AUKUS security partnership

Supporting Myanmar’s health system

A military coup in Myanmar in February 2021 has led to widespread conflict and has had a severe impact on its health care system. Many health care workers have been involved in civil disobedience and protests against the coup, including boycotts. Organisations such as the WHO and Insecurity Insight have also reported on attacks on health care in the country. Since February 2021, the UK government has provided over £120mn in humanitarian and development assistance in Myanmar.

Supporting Myanmar’s health system
  • In Focus

    Questions to the foreign secretary: 13 February 2024

    Members of the House of Lords will ask Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton a series of oral questions on 13 February 2024. These include what discussions the government has had with partners on a strategy to reduce debt in the developing world; what the UK is doing to protect children in Gaza; what progress the government has made in implementing the AUKUS security partnership; and UK-US discussions on recognising a Palestinian state.

  • In Focus

    Humanitarian situation in Gaza

    The ongoing crisis in Gaza is having a critical impact on the civilian population. Casualty figures are rising on a daily basis, and hunger and disease are becoming increasingly prevalent as civilian infrastructure is destroyed and supplies of aid struggle to enter the territory. The UK government continues to call for an immediate pause to allow for the provision of more aid, and for all sides to work towards a lasting solution.

  • Research Briefing

    Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill: HL Bill 38 of 2023–24

    The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill would prevent public authorities from participating in or expressing support for boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns. The bill would allow the government to exempt states and territories from its provisions by regulations, with the exception of Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Occupied Golan Heights.

  • In Focus

    Ukraine update: January 2024

    The war in Ukraine continues against a backdrop of escalating Russian strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure and population centres. Fighting remains intense on the front lines, though neither side has been able to achieve a strategically significant breakthrough. There are fears that Russia may be willing to sustain a long and protracted conflict, not least in the hope that international support for Ukraine will decline. The UK has remained one of Ukraine’s most prominent backers and has recently pledged further military aid.

  • In Focus

    International Agreements Committee report on the UK-Rwanda treaty

    The UK government signed a treaty with Rwanda in December 2023 in response to a Supreme Court judgment that its proposed Rwanda asylum policy was unlawful. The House of Lords International Agreements Committee has recommended that the government does not ratify the treaty until Parliament is satisfied that the protections it provides have been fully implemented, in the context of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill asking Parliament to make a judgement that Rwanda is safe.

  • In Focus

    The 1.5-degree celsius global warming threshold: Could it be breached in 2024?

    At the 2015 UN climate change conference, the international community agreed to make efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. Since then, global temperatures have continued to rise, with record-breaking temperatures in 2023. The UK’s Met Office has projected that 2024 could be even warmer, with the 1.5-degree threshold temporarily exceeded. This briefing summarises the background to the 1.5-degree threshold, and what actions the UK government is taking to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

  • In Focus

    Questions to the foreign secretary: 16 January 2024

    Members of the House of Lords will ask Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton a series of oral questions on 16 January 2024. These include what steps the UK government is taking to address the Rohingya refugee crisis; what progress has been made towards securing a ceasefire in Gaza; how the government is promoting implementation of the UN sustainable development goals; and how the UK is championing a rules-based international order.

  • In Focus

    UK contribution to international development: Mitigating the impact of climate change on developing nations

    The UK government spent £12.79bn in official development assistance in 2022. A portion of this support was focused on mitigating the impact of climate change on developing countries, including through measures outlined in the government’s international development white paper and through contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s green climate fund. However, some stakeholders have called on the government to provide further support, particularly in relation to its spending commitments.

  • Research Briefing

    Data Protection and Digital Information Bill: HL Bill 30 of 2023–24

    The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill would amend existing data protection legislation and introduce new provisions in areas such as digital verification services and smart data. The bill was carried over from the last session and is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 19 December 2023.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: International Affairs (December 2023)

    In recent years, Central and West Africa have witnessed several successful military coups, raising concerns about the stability and democratic progress of the region. This briefing examines how regional and international bodies have reacted to these coups and discusses the potential implications for democracy and security in Africa.

  • In Focus

    Elgin Marbles: UK government assessment of loaning the sculptures to Greece

    The ownership of the Elgin Marbles (also known as the Parthenon sculptures) is the subject of dispute between the Greek government and the British Museum. This briefing provides background to this dispute, including the position of the UK government, and on the possibility of loaning the sculptures to Greece. It has been written in advance of a Lords debate on 14 December 2023.

  • In Focus

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Promoting the declaration’s principles 75 years on

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 75 years ago, on 10 December 1948. The declaration set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. As such it became a foundational instrument of the modern international human rights system. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on member states to “rejuvenate” the declaration.

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