You are here: The Liberal Democrats' priorities for the United Nations

UNA-UK has written to all major UK political parties and asked: what would your Party’s priorities be at the UN and how will you inspire the UK electorate on this agenda?

By shedding light on the approaches taken by different parties we hope to contribute to an informed national conversation on foreign policy, and help raise awareness of the ways in which the international system delivers benefits to British citizens.

Read more on this initiative and read other parties' 2019 statements.

The Liberal Democrats’ priorities at the UN and how they will inspire the UK electorate on this agenda:

"Liberal internationalism is at the core of the Liberal Democrats’ identity. Only the Liberal Democrats have a plan to renew international liberalism in Britain and ensure that the UK plays an active role in building a better world. A plan that will tear down walls, not build them; a plan that will champion the values of human rights, democracy, and equality; a plan that means working through multilateral organisations such as the EU, UN, NATO, and the WTO, rather than undermining or leaving them entirely. By clearly committing to these multilateral organisations, we can tackle our shared challenges, live up to our values internationally and shape international events in the interests of the UK.

In our 2019 manifesto, Liberal Democrats commit to defending international cooperation against the rising tides of nationalism and isolationism, supporting multilateral organisations like the UN. The rules-based international order that has governed international relations for the past 70 years is under threat. Liberal Democrats believe that British foreign policy and international aid should seek to promote the liberal values of human rights and democracy throughout the world. It has never been more important for the UK to work with allies as a champion of this message.

Liberal Democrats have always been – and remain – strongly committed to ensuring justice and equality for vulnerable people around the world. We believe that the UK must continue to play a leading role in ending poverty and promoting environmentally sustainable development, through implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Liberal Democrats will pursue a foreign agenda with gender equality at its heart, focusing on: the transformation of the position of women through economic inclusion, education and training; ensuring the lives of women and girls are not ignored in favour of trade or regional alliances; working to extend reproductive rights and end female genital mutilation; and ending sexual violence in conflict zones.

We will protect, defend, and promote human rights for all, including LGBT+ individuals who are persecuted across the world as well as those persecuted for their religion or belief.

Working with international partners, we will also develop a global education strategy to address the urgent crisis of 263 million children missing out on schooling.

We will increase the proportion of the UK’s aid budget committed to tackling climate change and environmental degradation: helping countries mitigate the impact of climate change and other environmental crises and support climate refugees. We will encourage our international allies in the UN to do the same.

A Liberal Democrat government will control arms exports to countries listed as human rights priority countries in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights report and immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia. We will encourage dialogue and mediation to reduce conflict between and within countries, working through the UN and other agencies.

We will also focus on the diplomatic priorities of the UN’s Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P) and establish new tests to ensure UK action taken under doctrine has regional support, a reasonable prospect of defined success, and a sound legal and humanitarian case.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit and build a brighter future. It is not a question of either focusing internally or externally. Many of the challenges we face in the UK are faced internationally. Tackling climate change and terrorism, for example, means working across borders. Helping those in most need not only changes lives, but ensures that we build a stronger, safer and more sustainable world for us all.

Our plan for the future is built on championing liberal and international values, ending poverty and promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals both in the UK and abroad."