Thursday, July 21, 2011

UK launches Building Stability Overseas Strategy

 Posted by- Neelam Mathews
July 21, 2011

The UK Government has published a new strategy -Building Stability Overseas Strategy (BSOS) - developed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Department for International Development (DFID) and Ministry of Defense (MOD) outlining how the UK will promote stability and prosperity in countries and regions where its interests are at stake.

The strategy also recognizes the need to strengthen ties with the Gulf countries, China, Brazil and South Africa, intensify the relationship with India and reinvigorate relations with Commonwealth partners. “These countries play an important role in their region and globally and we will invest greater diplomatic efforts in our partnerships with them,” says a statement.

The strategy is founded on Early Warning, Rapid Crisis Prevention and Response and Investing in Upstream Prevention.

An Early Warning System will be established to strengthen understanding of where the risks of conflict and instability are high.  The system will make use of existing all source analysis and involve external experts to take a global view of countries at risk of political, economic and security shocks which might trigger violence.

Rapid Prevention and Response will ensure that the UK’s comparative advantage of speed and flexibility is enhanced by the right funding mechanisms and capabilities to support an agile response.  A £20million Early Action Facility will be created within the Government’s Conflict Pool to enable swifter responses to warnings and opportunities.  And the creation of Stabilisation Response Teams – the first of which has just returned from Libya – will further UKs ability to develop responses to emergencies based on real-time information.

Upstream Prevention is about tackling the underlying drivers of instability before a crisis occurs – avoiding the enormous human and financial costs of conflict.  This means identifying how and when to intervene with the greatest chance of success, and the UK is integrating diplomatic efforts with development activity and defense engagement to better inform those judgements.  

A new cross-Government approach to strategic conflict assessments will bring together political, economic, social and security analyses to provide a truly joint approach and these assessments will inform the development of integrated strategies for key countries and regions.

“The publication of the Government’s Building Stability Overseas Strategy could not be more timely. The Arab Spring has demonstrated just how uncertain the world can be and has highlighted the need for a strategic UK approach to early engagement in places at risk of instability……This strategy seeks to address the lessons we have learnt from recent events and marks the first time that the Government has put in place an integrated cross-government strategy to address conflict issues,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

“War torn countries represent some of the toughest challenges we face overseas,” International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said.

“Defense engagement is designed to improve our understanding and influence across the world.  We will coordinate the MOD capabilities with cross-Government activity to prevent threats from emerging.  Our engagement in many areas helps build democratically accountable security services that may also contribute to International Peacekeeping missions,” Defense Secretary Dr Liam Fox said in a statement.

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