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Taku Chambers



Chief Charles A. TAKU, Esq. (Head of Chambers)

Lead Counsel, UNICTR

Lead Counsel, Special Court for Sierra Leone, Counsel ICC

Honorary Member of the Law Firm of Angus Gloag and

Jonathan Goodman and Co.



Shufai Blaise SEVIDZEM B


AWUNGNJIA Tetchounkwi


Publications & Decisions

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Publications & Decisions Post New Entry

In the room: The UK's role in multilateral diplomacy.

Posted by Moderator on 14 July, 2021 at 10:15

Multilateral organisations represent the collective resolve of nations to establish a

system based on shared values of peace, prosperity and freedom, where ideological

difference can be navigated for mutual benefit. Replacing an international system of

colonial enterprise and shifting blocs of military alliances, the UK helped to build a new

order and forums for international dialogue. This system, and the organisations that

serve it, has brought huge benefits to the people of the UK and to humanity at large. It

is now in jeopardy.

Disengagement over contentious issues reduces the effectiveness of multilateral

organisations, but far more serious are attempts to bend the purpose of, or even break

the organisations themselves. We have seen attempts by countries such as China to

seize control of strategically important organisations and fundamentally redefine the

once universally agreed principles on which they are based. This allows multilateral

organisations to be weaponised against the founding principles upon which they were

built. Even more serious are attempts by states to disrupt the work of multilateral

organisations in order to maintain their power bases at home and abroad.

Although the UK Government has at times successfully countered malign interference

in multilateral organisations we believe that it has failed to adequately respond to the

creeping capture of organisations by China. With the United States re-engaging in the

multilateral sphere, this is an important time for the UK and its allies to reassert their

commitment to multilateral organisations through actions as well as words.

The UK is well placed to mobilise like-minded states to respond to these challenges. It

has a world class diplomatic network, significant soft power, and is a major financial

contributor to multilateral organisations.

In order to break the cycle of decline in multilateral organisations, we have identified

three areas in which the UK Government should act:

(1) The Government should, wherever possible, seek to use multilateral

organisations to pursue its foreign policy objectives. Engagement with these

bodies moderates the influence of those who would manipulate and undermine

them. We recommend that this engagement should include publicly calling

out states who are abusing or undermining the system, publicly voting against

attempts by such states to secure key leadership positions for their nationals.

(2) Better coordination is needed to proactively identify and respond to countries

that undermine these organisations. We recommend that the Foreign,

Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) leads within government

on a tactical element of multilateral strategy, tracking the activities of

authoritarian states within both higher and lower profile multilateral

organisations, reporting on any moves to exert influence, and adjusting

interventions accordingly. On an international level, we believe there is more

the FCDO can do to enhance coordination across its diplomatic network,

particularly between Geneva and New York, to address this undermining


4 In the room: the UK’s role in multilateral diplomacy

(3) The influence of state actors with alternative understandings of individual

rights is increasing and coordination amongst them is more effective and

pronounced. To counter such influence, we recommend that the FCDO

mobilises its soft power and convening resources to work with broad groups

of like-minded states within multilateral organisations. The UK’s departure

from the European Union provides increased incentives and opportunity for

investment in such relationships.


Categories: Chief Barrister Charles A. Taku, Publications, Social/Religious

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