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Global Influence

The UK Government uses its global standing and power to tackle key issues around the world. From reducing global conflict to climate change and wildlife crime, Scotland plays a part in this as a UK nation.

The UK Government works to realise our vision of a Global Britain: one that is respected abroad, tolerant at home, engaged in the world and working with our international partners to advance the prosperity and security of our nation for generations to come. We do this through:

Assisting British people living, travelling and working around the world

The UK Government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office represents the interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK. They have nearly 270 diplomatic offices around the world, employing over 14,000 staff. A UK passport guarantees help and support from the UK’s worldwide diplomatic service. This helps our citizens when they need it most abroad by:

  • providing high-quality, accessible consular services globally, focussed on those most in need
  • reducing preventable incidents affecting British people overseas through collaboration with partners and governments, and
  • responding rapidly to all overseas crises, leading cross-government action.

The following map shows British embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world.

Find out more about the Foreign & Commonwealth Office - external link

The United Nations and reducing global conflict

The UK is one of the founding members of the United Nations (UN), an organisation tasked with taking action on the biggest issues facing humanity in the 21st century. These range from peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more.

The UK is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which has responsibility for ensuring international peace and security.

The FCO also plays an important role in delivering programmes and projects which support the UK Government’s National Security Strategy, and Aid Strategy.

  • The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), established in 2015, supports work to reduce risk arising from conflict or instability in countries where the UK has important interests
  • The Prosperity Fund, established in 2016, promotes the economic reform and development needed for growth in partner countries.

UK Aid

As part of the UK, people in Scotland are supporting transformative change across the world and making a real difference through UK Aid. UK aid has:

    • reached 26.8 million people, including at least 8.2 million women and girls, with humanitarian assistance.
    • supported immunisation of approximately 37.4 million children, saving 610,000 lives, between January 2015 and December 2017.
    • reached 42 million children under 5, women of childbearing age and adolescent girls through our nutrition-relevant programmes.
    • supported 14 million women and girls to use modern methods of family planning between April 2017 and March 2018.
    • supported 11.4 million children to gain a decent education.
    • supported 40.3 million people to access clean water and/or better sanitation.
    • continuously supported 27 countries to manage their public finances more transparently since March 2015, and 39 countries in 2017-18 alone.

Through the UK Government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office‘s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI), the UK also continues to lead global efforts to end the horror of sexual violence in conflict.

Find out more about UK Aid - external link

COP26: UK to host UN climate change summit in 2020

The UK has won the bid to host the United Nations 26th climate change summit known as the Conference of the Parties or COP26.  This success is testimony to the UK’s leading role in the global fight against climate change.  The bid was made in partnership with the UK’s European ally, Italy.

The event in Glasgow will bring together over 30,000 delegates from around the world, including climate experts, business leaders and citizens to agree ambitious action to tackle climate change.  The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said he wants the summit to address both climate change and biodiversity as two sides of the same coin.

The conference lasts about two weeks and is set to be one of the most important gatherings on climate change since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015.  This conference is seen as a major crossroads in the battle against global climate change with important decisions and agreements expected to be hammered out.  It will also be the year in which governments are due to review their promises to cut carbon emissions in line with the latest science.

It would be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, with world leaders expected to attend for the final weekend.

International Wildlife crime

The illegal wildlife trade is a serious organised crime that endangers some of the world’s most iconic species. Each year, 20,000 African elephants are poached for their ivory.

In April 2018, the Foreign Office announced a UK Government commitment to an ivory ban in the UK – one of the toughest in the world. We hosted a landmark conference to End Wildlife Crime, bringing together global leaders from 80 countries to close down markets and counter the corruption that is fuelling the illegal wildlife trade. Part of this work includes the launch of the Ivory Alliance, a network of political leaders & influencers who will help close down the ivory markets that are driving elephants to extinction.

Find out how else the UK is promoting biodiversity and protecting wildlife, including:

Signs of hope for preserving habitats
Planting change with the Darwin Initiative
Turning the tide with the UK’s Blue Belt

Trading relationships

The UK Government is working around the clock through the Department of International Trade (DIT) and the GREAT campaign to create opportunities for Scottish businesses around the globe. Being part of the UK means bigger opportunities on the world stage. Through DIT, we secure UK and global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment, and championing free trade.

Visit the Department for International Trade website - external link