6th March 2014 Brasilia, Brazil

National Policy vs Foreign Policy?

World Flags

Globalisation means more than having Facebook friends from different countries or receiving real-time news from across the world on Twitter. A globalised world means we share a lot of our problems and the responsibility to find solutions. That is what brought me into the Foreign Policy and International Cooperation world: if we work together as nations, bringing our best to the table, we can actually solve a lot of these problems.

Yet, every now and then I hear the same question “Why spend all this time and energy looking outside, when we have so many problems here in our backyards? Government should focus more on us and less on them”. The truth is a lot of the issues we face today as nations are global.

Climate Change is one of those. Everyone is affected by it, everyone contributes to it and everyone worries about it. Countries differ on how we are going to tackle this – which is natural –, but we also have a lot of strong points in common and are equally committed. The UK and Brazil have ambitious emission reduction targets, which we are both well on track to achieve. UK’s targets are part of the internationally binding Kyoto Protocol, which means that the parties are legally committed to achieving the targets. Brazil submitted its voluntary targets to UN and since then passed a national Climate Change executive plan and a law, explicitly defining roles and responsibilities, as well as stating the targets internationally agreed.

Another example are the MDGs – an international set of goals, which we signed off among 189 countries – that have since created and adapted a series of social policies towards achieving them. Because it agreed to the MDGs, Brazil has set up a special department inside the Presidency’s General Secretariat just to address this subject. There is a private sector portal to monitor municipal performance regarding the goals. Also, there is a Brazil MDG Prize to cities and organisations that have the most successful policy practices that contribute to achieving the Goals (I attended the first edition, the prizes were handed out by Lula himself and it was quite a party).

Such achievements were indicators of policy success during campaigns, conferences and important speeches. Same goes for several other agreements, conventions and targets.

It took me some time in this international universe to realise how much foreign policy and domestic politics are linked, one is constantly influencing the other. So to answer the question on foreign vs. domestic policy: there is no separation. We are in this together.

About Ana Carolina Ribeiro

Carol joined the Embassy in April 2013 to work for the Political Team. Before coming to the FCO she worked at University of Brasilia with Policy Evaluation and at the…

Carol joined the Embassy in April 2013 to work for the Political Team. Before coming to the FCO she worked at University of Brasilia with Policy Evaluation and at the UN with Gender Equality, Reproductive Rights and Human Development. She has manged south-south projects between Brazil and countries such as Haiti and Guinea-Bissau. Her biggest interests are Human Rights, Regional Policy and Social Policy.

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