PM’s speech at the Future Resilience Forum: 9 October 2023
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's speech at the Future Resilience Forum
Last night we flew the Israeli flag over Number 10.
To show our solidarity with the people of Israel
And our utter condemnation of the horrific values that Hamas unleashed over the weekend.
On Saturday morning terrorists crossed into Israel intent on murder and kidnap.
Whole families were killed.
Women, children and the elderly were taken hostage.
Innocent teenagers at a festival of peace were gunned down in cold blood.
And the sickening evidence posted online.
It is unhuman – and it will not stand.
Terrorism will not prevail.
Israel has the absolute right to defend itself and to deter further incursions.
We are working with the Israeli authorities to support them.
And we are doing everything possible to support British citizens who were caught up in the attacks.
And the families of those who perished.
I also want to say a word to Jewish communities here at home.
I am with you.
And we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that you feel safe.
And it is with all of this in mind, together with Russia’s barbaric strikes on civilians in Ukraine.
That we meet here today to talk about resilience.
So the creation of this forum could not be more timely.
Too often, democracies fail to recognise their own inherent strength.
They worry about whether they have the resilience to cope in a more dangerous world.
They have to think about elections, accountability, public opinion.
Contrast that with Putin’s approach.
His idea of resilience is based on aggression and coercion, and he puts everything in the service of that goal.
Sacrificing his people. Draining his resources.
Tearing up international rules and commitments.
But let me tell you, democracy will out-perform autocracy every single time.
Because we are more adaptable and more open.
We have deep enduring partnerships based on shared values.
We innovate faster. We waste less. We value our people.
And we stand up for the international order and the fundamental rules it represents.
And you can see all of this in our response to the invasion of Ukraine.
We are backing our Ukrainian friends because it is right.
Because the UN Charter must be upheld.
But also because we know that Ukraine’s security is our security.
We will continue to stand with them until they prevail.
And let’s just reflect on the fact that this is already a strategic disaster for Putin.
Russia has suffered over a quarter of a million casualties.
They’ve lost 2,000 main battle tanks and 4,000 infantry fighting vehicles.
Half of the territory they initially seized has been taken back.
They have seen an armed rebellion marching on Moscow.
And they’ve faced a more united response from the G7 and beyond than they could have ever possibly imagined.
They have been met with true, democratic resilience.
But the war has also caused us to look at own our preparedness.
It has proved that the threats we face have changed and multiplied.
And that they demand a change in how we respond.
And the UK was out ahead of this in the Integrated Review of foreign and security policy that we published back in 2021.
And the Refresh that I published earlier this year.
These far-sighted documents set out a broader, long-term perspective of what we mean by resilience.
Because today, it’s about more than the traditional concept of national security.
It’s also about our economic security.
Our energy security.
The strength of our institutions.
The undersea cables we rely on.
The openness of the trade routes we need.
And our ability to anticipate new threats.
So let me quickly set out five ways that we’re working to boost our resilience today.
First, we are investing in our security.
We are moving away from our baseline commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on defence to a new ambition of two and a half per cent.
And we’re building up our defence-industrial base, together with our closest allies.
With Japan and Italy, we’re building the next generation of combat air fighter jets.
And through our AUKUS partnership with the US and Australia we’re developing one of the most advanced nuclear-powered subs the world has ever known.
Second, we’re delivering a stronger economy at home, as the foundation of our strength abroad.
Now people love to talk our economy down, but the fact is we are ahead of the pack.
Inflation is coming down.
We are growing faster than France and Germany.
We are a leading innovator and a science and tech superpower.
We are securing our supply chains with trade deals around the world.
And negotiating a critical minerals agreement with the United States.
And with measures like the new National Security and Investment Act.
We are blocking acquisitions which could harm our security.
And safeguarding critical infrastructures – including energy.
That brings me to my third point.
We are boosting sovereign energy generation, so that we are less reliant on imported hydrocarbons from the likes of Putin.
We are already home to four of the world’s largest offshore wind farms.
And now we are building the biggest one yet at Dogger Bank.
We are building new nuclear power stations for the first time since the 1990s.
And we are tapping the oil and gas reserves under the North Sea.
Fourth, we are tackling global drivers of instability.
We are striking new agreements to tackle illegal migration and break up the business model of the people smugglers.
We have heard the concerns of the global south and so we are working to boost food security.
By helping Ukraine to open up routes to export their grain to those who need it most.
And by bringing the world together at a conference on ending global hunger in just a few weeks’ time.
We are leading the charge to improve development finance with fundamental reforms of the World Bank.
We are delivering our Net Zero targets, even as we work to deliver them in a more pragmatic way that will carry people’s consent.
And we are working to deliver a step change in climate finance through our Just Energy Transition Partnerships, our pioneering Climate Resilient Debt Clauses.
And committing over £1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund – the single biggest international climate pledge the UK has ever made.
Finally, we are leading efforts to safely harness the power of AI as a tool for good.
Now AI can help to strengthen our resilience.
By fuelling economic growth and finding new vaccines and cures for diseases it can help to solve the biggest problems of our time.
But it also poses significant risks.
AI will make it easier for malign actors to build bioweapons, take down banks, disrupt energy grids, or worse.
We need a response that keeps pace with its development.
That makes AI a tool to strengthen open societies, not undermine them.
And that’s why the UK is hosting the first global AI Safety Summit next month.
So when I talk about building the UK’s resilience this is what I mean.
A global defence power.
An economy built on innovation and openness.
A domestic energy producer.
A leader and a partner in tackling global challenges.
A frontier nation in the tech revolution.
And a robust, thriving democracy.
That is the British model of resilience.
That’s what I’m working to deliver.
And that is why I’m taking the long-term decisions for a stronger, safer country – and a more stable world.