Fragmented and incoherent: the UK’s sanctions policy Contents

Towards global leadership on sanctions

49.Sanctions will be more directly affected by the UK’s departure from the EU than almost any other foreign policy tool. As the UK prepares to take responsibility for designing, implementing and enforcing sanctions on its own, we hoped to discover that the FCO and wider Government had a strong sense of its goals and strategic priorities for the use of these tools. We also hoped to find that serious thought had gone into the best way to ensure co-ordination and coherence across Government given the number of departments and bodies involved in sanctions implementation. Instead, we have learned that the Government has spent the last two years running as fast as it can just to stay in the same place.

50.We believe the time is right for a major review of the Government’s approach to sanctions at every stage: overall strategic goals, policy planning and formation, implementation and enforcement. As this report has set out, any sanctions strategy must be supported by coherent and co-ordinated Government structures, coupled with more effective engagement with the private sector bodies on the front lines of sanctions compliance.

51.The centrality of sanctions to the preservation and functioning of the rules-based international system cannot be overstated. As a champion of that system, the UK cannot afford the risk of allowing its sanctions policy to be dictated by the decisions of others. Instead, the UK must seize the opportunity to become a global leader in sanctions policy and must aim to set the international gold standard for strategy, design and implementation. We hope the Government will take this warning to heart and look forward to following its progress closely.

Published: 12 June 2019