Early indications are that yesterday’s General Election saw the highest turnout in two decades, with nearly 75% of young people participating.
We are pleased that global citizens have made their voices heard. Throughout the election, UNA-UK and its nationwide supporter-base held hustings on international issues, highlighted parties’ approaches to the UN and released our ‘Keeping Britain Global’ policy report in a bid to stimulate meaningful debate on foreign policy.
UNA-UK interprets these statistics as a wake-up call to all political parties, to work together at what is a crucial moment for Britain’s future security and prosperity. Global support for international cooperation has seldom been more in doubt. This uncertainty needs a decisive response.
Our short ‘manifesto’ argued that now, more than ever, Britain’s national interest and the UN Charter’s vision of a peaceful world are one and the same. Decisions taken domestically increasingly have a global dimension, and political parties’ focus needs to reflect this reality.
UNA-UK calls on the new government to be a champion for cooperation and take concrete steps to invest in the health of the United Nations. Our top-level priorities are reproduced below.
This means building a new vision for an outward-looking, positive, global Britain – a country that stands firm on gender equality, LGBT rights and opposition to the death penalty, and that provides leadership on human rights, arms control, nuclear disarmament, atrocity prevention, peacekeeping, climate change and sustainable development.
UNA-UK stands ready to work with the new government, with support, encouragement and ideas. Over the coming months, we will monitor the UK’s performance in tackling the global challenges we face.
The UK should:
- Place the UN at the centre of British foreign policy and take steps to make it work better
- Take a multilateral approach to peace and security challenges that is firmly rooted in international law
- Maintain the 0.7% overseas aid commitment, which saves lives every day and tackles the root causes of threats to our security
- Ensure that actions - at home and abroad - live up to our proud record in creating human rights laws and norms
- Adopt arms control policies to which the rest of the world can aspire
- Increase our contribution to UN peacekeeping, using our highly skilled troops to build stability overseas and keep us safe in the process
- Become a world leader in the transition towards a zero-carbon economy
- Make the protection of innocent people the focus of our privileged place on the UN Security Council
- Extend a warm welcome to those fleeing conflict and persecution in line with the letter – and spirit – of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention
- Shoulder the extra responsibilities that come with being a nuclear power by taking steps to further global disarmament