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Building Stability Overseas Strategy

House of Lords written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish their annual assessment of countries at risk of violence, the early-warning system, as outlined in their Building Stability Overseas Strategy.

Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development)

I refer the noble Baroness to my answer of 22 November 2011 (Hansard, Commons, col. 281W). The Building Stability Overseas Strategy explains that the early warning reports are underpinned by all-source analysis. This means they draw on a range of internal government reporting and cannot therefore be published for national security reasons.

I also refer the noble Baroness to the answer of 22 November 2011 (Official Report. Commons, col. 273W) by the right honourable Andrew Robathan, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans. The Building Stability Overseas Strategy (BSOS) was published jointly by the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development in July 2011 and all three Secretaries of State announced they would share joint responsibility for its implementation. The strategy includes a new approach to turning early warning into early action. By focusing on early warning we will be able to improve our ability to anticipate instability and potential triggers for conflict thus increasing our opportunity to take fast, appropriate and effective action where necessary and where UK strategic interests are at stake.

Early warning processes have been improved by drawing up a watch-list of fragile states comprised of countries that have a high risk of instability and are also of high interest to the UK. These states will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that all appropriate action is being taken to support the aims of the BSOS. The strategy makes clear that the watch-list is internal and both the watch-list and the early warning report draw on a range of internal HMG reporting and cannot therefore be published for security reasons. However, the BSOS is open about the criteria used to select countries for attention.

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