17th March 2021 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
A PLACE IN THE WORLD
What does the future hold for us all, and what will be the UK’s role in in? This week the UK has published its first Integrated Review. This is a public document, the fruit of a long period of analysis and reflection by many parts of the UK Government and our partners, at home and overseas. In looking at some of the challenges facing the UK, and the world around us, it tries to map out a path forward, and a vision. It takes an idea, ‘Global Britain’, and starts to translate it into a place in the world. What is it, and what does it mean for the UK in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)?
The fast-changing state of the planet today makes any such exercise difficult, let alone one that attempts “most radical reassessment of our place in the world since the end of the Cold War’’, across the UK’s defence, security, development and foreign policy. Most immediately, we face the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic, which have so tested countries’ capacity and international solidarity, demanding that we all build back better and fairer. 2021 is itself an important year for UK leadership, hosting the G7 as presidency in Cornwall this June, the Global Partnership for Education with co-hosts Kenya, and COP26, in Glasgow this November.
Looking out to 2030, we see geo-political shifts in power, systemic competition between more authoritarian and democratic values, rapid technological change, and the growth of transnational risks such as global health risks, food security, illicit finance, and climate change. All of this adds up to a fast-moving context in which to ensure the prosperity and security of UK citizens. There has never been a more important time for unity of purpose, of all people and countries.
What kind of a UK can other countries, including BiH, expect in the years ahead? As Prime Minister Boris Johnson put it, the UK in 2030 will be:
“A stronger, more secure, prosperous and resilient Union, and a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation with a global perspective, creating new foundations for our prosperity, and adapting to a more competitive world through an integrated approach.”
This requires all the different parts of our diplomatic, development, defence and security machinery to be working together, in partnership at home and overseas.
Perhaps most relevant for BiH, the UK approach is still rooted in multilateralism, in the UN Security Council and many other bodies and organisations where we already play a leading role. This increased international activism means working alongside allies to create a more open international order, in which democracies thrive. Our commitment to European security and NATO is stronger than ever, in November announcing the biggest programme of defence investment in a generation.
As UK Ambassador, I have to make sure this vision is delivered here on the ground. I do not believe it is necessary to convince people in BiH of the need to tackle climate change, to fight the COVID pandemic, to stand up for what we believe, and to work on improvements in quality of life that benefit all. Since I have arrived in Sarajevo, I have stressed the continuity of UK commitment, and determination to help this country succeed. Leaving the EU has not meant less, but more of us in BiH.
We have listened to the priorities of citizens, particularly those wrestling with the idea of leaving the country to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Our work focuses on the fight against corruption, improving public services, protecting the environment, creating more and better jobs, producing green energy, championing democratic values, building a more inclusive country, increasing trade, and supporting the Armed Forces. The UK wants to be a force for good here, and around the world. The challenges and opportunities ahead of us are great, and so is our determination to meet them.