Tag Archives: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

New Projects See UK Space Firms Tackle Southeast Asian Challenges

£11m of UK Space Agency funding announced today will see UK expertise being used to tackle forest fires, dengue and illegal fishing in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam with the benefits being felt across the region

The Philippines pictured from space. Credit: ESA

The Philippines pictured from space. Credit: ESA

The harmful effects of tropical forest fires affect over 20 million people in Southeast Asia, having a negative impact on people’s health as well as contributing to global CO2 emissions. Many fires occur over drained peatland areas and this project in Indonesia and Malaysia will use satellites to map peat conditions, even when under a forest canopy. Monitoring water levels in this way will enable the risk of fire to be significantly reduced.

The second project being funded will see earth observation data being used as a dengue outbreak early warning system in Vietnam. Early detection will enable public health authorities to mobilise resources to those most in need. The project will also provide forecasts of dengue fever under a range of climate change scenarios. By linking earth observation data with climate forecasting and a land-surface model the impacts of various elements (such as water availability, land-use, climate), on the likelihood of future dengue epidemics can be predicted for the first time.

Satellite technology and data will also be used to help the Philippine government tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in its waters. The work aims to support the sustainability of the fisheries sector and the 4 million people who rely on it for their livelihood. The project will use a wide variety of data sources, including satellite data to understand the location, time and behaviour of specific vessels at sea.

Nicola Willey, South East Asia Director for Science and Innovation at the British High Commission Singapore, said: “Tropical fires, dengue outbreaks and illegal fishing are problems affecting countless people across this region. It’s great to see that the UK’s world-leading research and technology is being used to positively impact on so many people’s lives through working with partners across Southeast Asia.”

About the International Partnership Programme

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme uses UK space expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real world problems across the globe. This helps some of the world’s poorest countries, while building effective partnerships that can lead to growth opportunities for British companies.

The successful projects, worth £38 million in total, are led by a diverse range or organisations from the UK’s growing space sector, from large companies such as Inmarsat and CGI, to start-ups such as Guildford-based Earth-i. The UK Space Agency and industry are working together to grow the UK’s share of the global space market to 10% by 2030.

UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:

“The UK’s space sector is going from strength to strength. It pioneers new technology and provides jobs for 40,000. Today I can announce that the space sector’s capabilities are being put to use to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

“The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme will help developing countries tackle big issues like disaster relief and disease control, while showcasing the services and technology on offer from our leading space businesses.”

The International Partnership Programme is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF): a £1.5 billion fund from the UK Government, which supports cutting-edge research and innovation on global issues affecting developing countries.

First Round Projects

There are 22 existing projects already delivering benefits, including a partnership between Inmarsat and the Philippine government to reduce the impact of natural disasters using satellite communications, which was called into action in December and January when tropical storms killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands more to evacuation centres. The project used British technology and expertise to help relief workers get information in and out of the disaster zones which greatly increase the effectiveness of the response effort, helping them save lives and restore critical infrastructure.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said:

“Inmarsat was originally founded to save lives at sea and we are proud that, almost 40 years later, our robust, reliable satellite communication services are deployed throughout the world to assist following natural disasters and humanitarian crises, wherever they occur.

“With the invaluable support of the UK Space Agency, we have been able to pre-equip disaster response teams in the Philippines with vital satellite communications solutions. This meant that when two deadly cyclones hit the country over a two week period, resulting in loss of life and serious damage to terrestrial communications infrastructure, Philippine authorities were able to utilise Inmarsat’s mobile connectivity services to assess the damage and identify the needs of those regions most affected.”

All IPP projects are match-funded by consortium members and international partners to ensure maximum value for money. The programme is fully compliant with Official Development Assistance (ODA) with the Independent Commission for Aid Impact recently reporting that the UK Space Agency had developed robust procedures for ensuring ODA eligibility and was thorough in its ODA compliance screening.

Details of all ten global projects announced today can be found here and here.

More information about the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme can be found at this link.

Speech “We Have Taken These Steps To Restrict The Income The DPRK Uses To Fund Its Prohibited Nuclear And Ballistic Missile Programs”

Statement by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, on North Korea Sanctions

Thank you Mr President.

Last week we sat in this Council and listened to the many ways that North Korea has violated multiple UN resolutions and the will of the Security Council. The illegal nuclear programme. Multiple launches of ballistic missiles. The appalling human right violations.

We condemned, in the strongest possible terms, these reckless acts by North Korea. And we called on them to stop immediately all that activity in defiance of this Council. We also offered Kim Jong-Un a clear choice. A different path which leads to prosperity and security.

However, last Friday, the DPRK’s Permanent Representative defiantly made clear that North Korea has no intention of changing its path. They have no intention of abandoning their nuclear programme.

Instead, unbelievably, they claimed that they will be a responsible nuclear power. They show no sense of responsibility to their neighbours, over whom they fire their ballistic missiles. They show no sense of responsibility to the people they force into modern slavery.

As North Korea’s missile capabilities advance, so too do the contempt and disregard they show for this Council. They have repeatedly and wilfully rebuffed our unanimous will. They continue to act in brazen violation of their legal obligations and they seek to undermine our systems and our collective values.

Last week we all confirmed we must use all the diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to deliver the uncompromising message that this path is unacceptable.

Today we are doing just that. Through the adoption of this Resolution we are showing the regime that our will is strong and that these provocative actions have severe consequences.

Today we have banned the import of nearly 90% of refined petroleum products to North Korea. These products are used by the regime to resource their illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programs. By cutting off this supply we will restrict their ability to develop and deploy these weapons.

We have also banned North Korean exports of food products, machinery and industrial and electrical equipment. We have taken another important step to end the exploitation of North Korean workers who are sent overseas with the sole aim of generating earnings for the regime.

We have taken these steps to restrict the income the DPRK uses to fund its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs. I congratulate the United States on this diplomatic achievement and we join them in leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of a diplomatic solution.

We call on all states to implement this Resolution, and previous Resolutions, fully. It is only by all of us doing this that they will have the intended impact.

These measures are not designed to hurt the North Korean people. We are not targeting the ordinary citizens of North Korea. There are humanitarian exemptions and protections in place to protect the people who already suffer so much at the hands of the Government. It is the regime that bears full responsibility for the measures we have enacted today. Any consequences the people suffer are because of the regime’s reckless choices. The choice to develop its nuclear programme over providing for its people.

We must stand united and be clear that we are adopting these measures today to force Kim Jong-Un to see that he has the choice of two paths. The current path does not advance the prosperity and security of North Korea. It instead poses a very real threat to the entire international community.

So we once again call on North Korea to change course. Let us all once again call on them to prioritise the well-being of their people over their illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons. Let us once again call on them to engage, meaningfully, with the international community.

The United Kingdom will continue to work with members of this Council, our allies, our partners, to increase diplomatic pressure. This resolution just enacted gives us the opportunity to do just that. We must all enforce these new measures and work together using all the diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to deliver this clear, uncompromising message to the Kim regime.

Thank you.

Foreign Secretary Arrives In Moscow

The Foreign Secretary has arrived in Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives in Moscow for talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives in Moscow for talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov

During face-to-face talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Mr Johnson will encourage cooperation on joint international challenges, including preserving the Iran nuclear deal and the threat posed by North Korea.

He will say that as permanent members of the UN Security Council the two countries should work closely together – as they historically did in the Second World War and, more recently, on the Iran nuclear deal.

But he will stress the UK will continue to defend its interests where they, and those of its allies, are threatened amid concerns that hostilities between Russia and the West are the highest since the end of the Cold War.

During the discussions, Mr Johnson will say our relationship with Russia cannot be ‘business as usual’ while it continues to support destabilising activities in Europe.

The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

The UK and Russia are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and its right that we continue to talk to each other.

Our relations with Russia cannot be ‘business as usual’ whilst Russia continues to attempt to destabilise European states, including Ukraine.

However, it is vital for international security that we do talk to each other – as the consequences of miscommunication or misunderstanding are grave. My visit to Russia comes at a critical time as we need to work together to solve the world’s most pressing global challenges.

We have a relationship with Russia that spans over 450 years. Our similarities and historical links far outweigh our current political disagreements.

The Kremlin has positioned Russia in direct opposition to the West, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

UK and Russia global security engagement

The visit will also be an opportunity to discuss important areas of cooperation, such as our security preparations for next summer’s World Cup.

The UK and Russia share a common goal of a safe, secure World Cup. Thousands of fans from the UK are expected to travel to Russia. The UK is already working with Russia to help ensure the safety of British supporters at the tournament. This has included regular visits by UK police to Russia and reciprocal visits by Russian police to the UK.

New Blue Belt Stakeholder Newsletter Published

The Blue Belt programme has published a stakeholder newsletter providing an update on recent work projects

Blue Belt Ops Room

Blue Belt Ops Room

The Winter 2017-2018 Stakeholder Newsletter provides an update on a number of recent work projects that are being undertaken as part of the Blue Belt programme.

The Blue Belt programme is a four year programme (2016 to 2020), delivered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) with the UK Overseas Territories on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The programme supports delivery of the UK government’s manifesto commitment to provide long term protection of over four million square kilometres of marine environment across the UK Overseas Territories.

You can sign up to receive the newsletter by e-mail and get more updates about the work of the programme on Twitter @ukgovbluebelt

Foreign Secretary Statement On Human Rights Day

Foreign Secretary makes a statement on Human Rights Day

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Speaking on Human Rights Day, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Human Rights Day reminds us that it can be easy to take for granted many of the freedoms we enjoy in the UK.

The freedom to be who you want, love who you want, worship or not worship and to live your life as you please is denied to millions across the globe.

Everywhere I go in the world where we have concerns about human rights I raise these frankly because we believe that engagement is the best way to encourage reform.

Standing up for human rights is not only the right thing; it also helps to create a safer, more prosperous and progressive world. This is what Global Britain stands for. And promoting, championing and defending human rights is integral to the work of the Foreign Office and part of the everyday work of all British diplomats.

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