Britain launches new strategy to protect interests overseas

10:27, July 20, 2011      

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The British government on Tuesday published a new strategy outlining how Britain will promote "stability and prosperity" in countries and regions where its interests are at stake.

The Building Stability Overseas Strategy (BSOS) has been co-developed by the British Foreign Ministry, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ministry of Defense (MOD).

It sets out how Britain can enhance its own security and prosperity by identifying, preventing and ending instability and conflict overseas, using its diplomatic, development, military and security tools.

The strategy is founded on three mutually supporting pillars including 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 all existing 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 Britain's comparative advantage of speed and flexibility is enhanced by the right funding mechanisms and capabilities to support an agile response.

A 20-million-pound Early Action Facility will be created within the government's Conflict Pool to enable swifter responses to warnings and opportunities. And the creation of Stabilization Response Teams-the first of which has just returned from Libya - will further Britain's 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 Britain 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.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the publication of the government's Building Stability Overseas Strategy today could not be more timely.

"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," he said.

Whilst Britain will continue to work closely with traditional international partners such as the United States and France, the government will also look to work better with international organizations including the United Nations, NATO, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

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.

Source: Xinhua
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