On Wednesday 11 March, Baroness Anelay, Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Human Rights, attended the launch of the new strategy of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) at the House of Lords. The launch was hosted by the Lord Speaker, The Rt. Hon Baroness d’ Souza. Guests included political, parliamentary and diplomatic figures.
Speaking in support of the new strategy, Baroness Anelay reiterated the Government’s commitment to supporting democracy around the world, including through the work of the Westminster Foundation.
Baroness Anelay said:
I am delighted at the launch of the Westminster Foundation’s new strategy. The strategy sets out a clear direction for the Foundation’s future and for its important work building the capacity of democratic actors and institutions overseas, building on the organisation’s unique Westminster brand.
The WFD is a valuable tool for the UK in building capacity overseas, and sharing the UK’s experience with partners who want to work with us. It is an excellent example of how UK soft power can help promote our values, in support of prosperity and security objectives, while building goodwill for the UK.
The FCO is proud to be WFD’s sponsor department and is committed to working with the organisation to maximise the impact of its work. In this we are working closely with the Department for International Development, with whom we jointly fund the WFD.
The launch coincides with publication of the Triennial Review of the WFD on 12 March. The Review underlines the value of the work of the Foundation, and makes a number of recommendations around further increasing its impact. These recommendations will now be taken forward by the WFD, in collaboration with the FCO and DfID.
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) set up by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1992. Its aim is to help establish and strengthen pluralist democratic institutions, particularly political parties, in countries where they are absent, of recent foundation, or in need of further encouragement and development. The WFD works closely with the political parties represented in the House of Commons and, through them, promotes political party development abroad. It also funds projects which support parliaments and other representative institutions, election administration, the independent media, human rights groups, women’s organisations and other non-governmental organisations involved in political development.