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Supporting Democracies

Volume 724: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2022

10. If he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing an FCDO centre of expertise to help support democracies across the world. [R] (902766)

Officials have assessed the merits of establishing an FCDO centre of expertise to support democratic governance around the world; and, funding permitting, we fully intend to establish one to address the democratic deficit that the world is facing.

I am encouraged to hear that, because as Ministers know, democracy is in decline globally—not everywhere, but in aggregate—and therefore, drawing on 30 years of experience, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s proposal is to help the FCDO build a democracy strategy, which includes this centre of expertise designed to help our embassies and high commissioners abroad. Will my right hon. Friend therefore agree to meet with the WFD as soon as possible to discuss how best we can take these proposals forward?

I certainly will, and I congratulate the Westminster Foundation for Democracy on its 30 years. Across the House, Members have advanced democracy and accountability and, despite huge pressures on our budget, there will be no reductions in the Westminster Foundation’s budget this year. May I finally commend the tremendous work being done on LGBT+ rights around the world, specifically in 20 countries?

Is the Minister aware that NATO has set up a centre for democratic resilience? Will he make sure that the Government do not undermine that work or duplicate it?

Yes. That is a very good point, and we will enhance and emphasise the work in a perfectly seamless, joined-up approach.