University of Manchester-led report highlights post-Brexit challenges in UN

A project co-led by the University of Manchester’s Dr Jess Gifkins, Lecturer in International Relations, has found that once the UK exits the European Union, it must work to ensure the United Nations’ confidence in the country’s influence and values are restored.

Dr Gifkins, along with colleagues from the University of Leeds and Southampton University presented their findings at the Houses of Parliament on 19th February 2019.

The report on the findings published by the United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK), which was funded by the British Academy, found the UK is facing ‘challenges in maintaining its current level of influence once it has exited the EU’.

Researchers interviewed 29 diplomats, UK officials and individuals representing NGOs and concluded that to mitigate some of the uncertainty post-Brexit, the UK must invest in multilateralism and provide values-driven leadership. There are concerns that after the UK and EU divorce, Britain will be less able to line up its campaigns in the Security Council and General Assembly without the influence of its colleagues in Brussels.

Interviewees suggested that a decline in influence at the UN in New York was ‘palpable’, and this was partly to do with Brexit.

“Our project shows that the impacts of Brexit go beyond the UK and the EU to the UN where the UK’s reputation is tarnished and its capacity for influence is weakened,” said Dr Gifkins.

“While the UK’s permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council is not under threat, more questions are being asked about the legitimacy of this seat.”

This was the first time the UNA-UK had collaborated with the University of Manchester, and the organisation hopes there will be further collaborations in future.

Lord Hannay, who chaired the launch. Described the report as “really excellent” and said the recommendations made regarding the UK’s relationship with the UN were vital, with or without Brexit.

To read the full report, click here.

Share this page