21 Aug The week in foreign policy
We’re back with the week in foreign policy – exploring what’s happening away from the front pages, and key developments in global affairs that have caught our eye.
Former world leaders have called for action to prevent a ‘lost Covid-19 generation,’ writes Lucy Campbell in the Guardian. Campbell writes that: Among the 275-strong group of senior figures are former UK prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Sir John Major, as well as economists, politicians and educationalists from around the world. In a letter addressed to G20 leaders, national governments and global financial institutions, the group calls for action to ensure that a generation of young people are not “robbed of their education” due to Covid-19.” The group of former leaders has suggested that all countries should pledge to protect frontline education spending, in an attempt to prioritise the needs of disadvantaged children.
Elsewhere, talks on a post-Brexit deal tick on, though Brussels seems in no mood to compromise with British officials. In Politico, Barbara Moens writes that the EU is banking on UK urgency to get the talks moving towards an agreement. Barbara writes that: “Neither Brussels nor London expect this week’s negotiating round to provide the big breakthrough. Both sides have to reach a deal before the end of October in order to get it ratified by the European and British parliaments in time. Despite this, the U.K.’s negotiator David Frost tweeted Thursday: “Our assessment is that agreement can be reached in September and we will work to achieve this if we can.””
Russia will not intervene militarily in Belarus as protests there are not directed against Moscow or any other foreign power, according to a Belarusian ambassador who has sided with the demonstrators. Jacopo Barigazzi writes in Politico this week, explaining that: “the unrest in Belarus has sparked some speculation that Russia, which has close political and cultural ties with Belarus, could intervene militarily to ensure a Kremlin-friendly government is in place in its western neighbor.”
The UK government has taken a promising step towards cementing its position as a world leader in climate activism. The government will set legally binding environmental targets over air quality, waste, biodiversity and water. News platform Edie had more information, noting that: “at least one “strong and meaningful” target will be introduced for each of the four priority areas for the Bill: biodiversity, air quality, water and waste. All targets will be deadlined for the mid-to-late 2030s and will be backed up with interim targets that will not be legally binding, to help spur early progress.” According to the article, the goals should be set in statute by the end of October 2022 at the latest.
Finally, the UK Space Agency has announced £3.4 million in funding for 10 projects, looking to tackle development problems around the globe using satellite and other surveillance technology. Earlier this year, the British Foreign Policy Group hosted an event looking at UK foreign policy in space, with an interstellar panel. You can catch up on that event here.