Ryan Baldry is the Communications Manager at the Coalition for Global Prosperity and former Parliamentary Staffer to a Government Minister.

When there’s political drama in Westminster, we are all guilty of being drawn in. It’s easy to think that the world stops while the events of SW1 unfold but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Those who wish to act against us or without us noticing, use these times of looking inward to act. And it’s these acts and global crises we must not lose sight of.

The international stage is as unpredictable now as it was in 2021 and the United Kingdom must not lose focus. There is incredible momentum for us to build on as a global force for good as we move forward following the successes of the UK Presidency of the G7 alongside the ongoing Presidency of COP until November.

The crises that we face are only mounting and the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk need the UK to be a leading player in the international community. A crisis overseas quickly can become a crisis at home. We’ve witnessed it first hand throughout the Covid pandemic and with a changing climate, regional instabilities and fragile democracies, this danger isn’t going away. A crisis can come out of the blue when we’re not paying attention so while all eyes are on Downing Street and counting letters, what could be coming our way over the next few weeks and months?

First, the situation in Ukraine is one that cannot be done justice in just one oped but is one we cannot afford to lose focus on. The FCDO and the MOD have both been unequivocal in their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity but the UK must maintain the pressure.

With the UN Security Council a non-starter with Russia and China’s veto, the UK must continue to keep the pressure on the Russian President all year round to demonstrate that any further encroachment on Ukrainian soil would be unacceptable. If anything is to happen, it will be soon with tensions already at breaking point. If Russia sees any weakness or distraction from NATO, the UK or the USA, things could move incredibly quickly with Western states paralysed by domestic politics

The next challenge would be for the UK to continue applying pressure and leading wealthier nations to help vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable. We may be nearing the end of COVID as a pandemic in the UK but globally, this isn’t the case. New variants will emerge that can undermine vaccines and continue to destabilise already fragile health systems. The UK did excellent work of pushing this through Global Vaccine Summits and the G7 but we can’t stop now.

Alongside this, we have the situation in Afghanistan which only continues to deteriorate with each passing day and could quickly become a crisis we are forced to confront. We’re witnessing a humanitarian crisis with food shortages, human rights being pushed aside and a regime that nobody wanted to see in power.

The United Nations launched a $5 billion appeal – the largest in their history. But the cost of inaction will always outweigh the cost of action. If the UK does not lead or bring other governments along with us, we will continue to see mass migration with people heading to our own shores among many others. This then creates additional crises such as the deadly Channel crossings which we have seen cannot be stopped by strongly worded tweets or political desire alone.

They must be resolved at the source and this can only be achieved by utilising our international development budget to help invest in women and girls education, nutrition and health infrastructure. The UK must ensure that the progress made in Afghanistan and the wider region is not lost to a regime that doesn’t value human rights or democratic values.

Last and by no means least, we are always facing the crisis of foreign interference in our democracy. Only last week this was thrown into the spotlight when foreign interference in our own Parliament and politics was uncovered. We are often being warned about the threat that China faces to the UK in terms of cyber attacks, operation of critical infrastructure or their territorial ambitions.

But discovering that they were able to secure influence in the corridors of power should frighten us and also serve as a wake-up call to ensure that we focus on protecting and securing our democracy from those who wish to damage it. The UK must promote our cultural exports and soft power influence further around the world to show that the era of democracy is not coming to an end but is being strengthened. Again, if the UK looks away, this is when others will act against our interests.

Now more than ever, we need a strong and motivated Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. We’re rightly putting record sums into the Ministry of Defence but to compliment this, we need to properly invest in our diplomatic network and soft power.

The Chancellor’s recent commitment to return to spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on International Development is extremely welcome and a sign that the importance and leading role of UK soft power has been recognised. But to back this up we need to properly invest in our embassies and consulates. UK diplomats need to be on the ground and making the most of the incredible expertise that exists within FCDO.

By investing now, we can make sure that the UK is always around the table and that we continue to secure our role on the world stage as a leading force for good in a world where the shining light of democratic values is needed now more than ever.