Chatham House report sets out recommendations for the next UK foreign secretary

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The Imperial-supported report makes key commendations on foreign policy priorities for the next UK government.

Renowned Westminster foreign affairs think tank Chatham House has published a new report outlining priorities for an incoming Foreign Secretary and recommendations of how the UK can navigate an increasingly complex geopolitical order. The report is part of the Chatham House UK in the World Programme which offers expert guidance on the key role that science and technology can play in foreign policy and is supported by Imperial.

The report sets out three long-term priorities for UK foreign policy with a particular focus on the UK’s role in international development and global governance, navigating unpredictable great powers and strengthening relations with Europe.

  • Navigating great power dynamics: the next government will face an unpredictable geopolitical context. The outcome and impacts of the US election remains uncertain, but tensions between China and the West will continue regardless of who is in the White House. Against this backdrop, the report recommends that the UK government establish a coherent approach to China; acknowledging that engagement is vital on trade, climate change and governance of emerging tech (especially Artificial Intelligence), but that this must be balanced with security concerns.
  • Improving the UK’s relationship with the EU: a new government will have opportunities to improve our relationship with the EU. There have already been positive signs of this with the Windsor Framework agreed in 2023, and the UK rejoining the Horizon Europe programme. The report identifies energy and climate policy as mutually beneficial areas for collaboration, as well as closer defence and security cooperation, especially in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. A new government will have to discuss the trading relationship with the EU when the deal agreed in 2020 is up for review in 2026.
  • Strengthening the UK’s role in global governance and international development: the UK is a key player in the multilateral system and has a global diplomatic network, which can both be leveraged to improve global governance and development outcomes. The report recommends that the UK focuses on its areas of strength, in particular on global health initiatives and reforming multilateral financial institutions to provide better support to low-income countries. As with all developed nations, the UK can offer support to low-income countries with the climate transition, and the report recommends a new government do this through both the Just Energy Transition Partnerships, and through influencing standards on resource investment.

The report also highlights ongoing investments in science and technology as crucial to achieving foreign policy objectives and the UK’s science and technology base as a source of soft power and influence. It also sets out that a new government could consider a targeted approach in sectors where the UK has an existing advantage, both in backing infrastructure as well as developing strategies to diversify supply chains.

Chatham House Director and CEO, Bronwen Maddox, will discuss the findings of the report with former senior diplomat and member of the House of Lords, Lord Peter Ricketts, and Bronwen's co-author, Olivia O’Sullivan, Director of the UK in the World Programme at Chatham House. The event will take place at Chatham House on Tuesday, 14thMay from 12:00-13:00 and will also be livestreamed, you can register here






Pete Ford

Pete Ford
Office of the President

Lisa Bungeroth

Lisa Bungeroth
Office of the President


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