At a well-attended event hosted by WCIA and Welsh Governance Centre in the Temple of Peace on 27th March, International Relations and Welsh Language Minister, Eluned Morgan was joined by a panel of experts to talk about possibilities for Wales on the international stage going forward. In her opening remarks, WCIA CEO Susie Ventris-Field, stated that “Even though we have a panel of experts, one thing is certain, no one knows what the outcome of the current political situation will be. However, the WCIA vision where everyone contributes to creating a fairer and more peaceful world fells more important than ever.”
Dr Christopher Huggins, Politics lecturer, University of Suffolk
Dr Rachel Minto, Wales Governance Centre, Cardiff University
Prof Kevin Morgan, Professor of Governance and Development, Cardiff University
Dr Elin Royles, Politics lecturer, Aberystwyth University
There were varying degrees of pessimism as the panelist outlined the challenges for Welsh Government and third sector will face in accessing networks and institutions that currently are accessed through the EU. Prof Morgan indicated some of the key networks and institutions in Europe that it will be vital that the UK should “pay to play” in the future, there by enabling ongoing international cooperation and access to opportunities for research, study and business. Dr Minto highlighted the problems of lack of resources that will in future hinder the international participation of welsh civil society. According to Dr Royles, Wales will have to use more of its “soft” power through sport, culture and art to gain influence in the world. This was echoed by the Minister, as she also highlighted some of the examples where Wales is doing ground breaking work, such as the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act which could be shared globally. The Minister said, Brexit negotiations have caused huge damage to the reputation of the UK internationally amongst our closest allies and neighbours and will take decades to repair. Sir Emyr Parry-Jones, (former UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations) responded to the panelists urging the Welsh Government should not rely on the UK government to speak on the international stage for Wales (or other devolved parts of the UK) because the communication relies on personal contacts with Westminster ministers rather than statutory instruments.
As an example of the concern of Welsh people for global issues, £180.75 was collected for the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for the victims of Cyclone Idai.