Research Analysts constitute a specialist cadre in the FCO responsible for supporting the foreign policy-making process with in-depth knowledge built up over many years’ study. They are the successor to the Foreign Office Research Department first set up in 1943. They provide a permanent source of expertise on countries, international organisations and global issues. They stay fully abreast of current developments and provide policy-relevant research and interpretative assessments on major events and the background to international issues and trends. Nine Research Groups function in close proximity to the policy departments they advise. Analysts are full members of the Diplomatic Service and are recruited as specialists, often with a doctorate or substantial experience in their field. They spend many years working on their area of expertise, including during overseas postings. As well as providing short analytical pieces to answer immediate operational needs, Research Analysts also prepare papers which take a wider view, both historical and forward-looking. Sometimes analysts take on additional tasks, such as acting as election monitors overseas.
Alongside Records and Historical Department, Research Analysts provide the corporate memory of the FCO and act as the repository of knowledge on the evolution of British government policy towards countries, regions and international institutions. They make a major contribution to analytical work in Whitehall as a whole and regularly exchange views with counterpart organisations overseas. Research Analysts act as the principal interface between the FCO and the academic community. Analysts usually know the principal academic experts in their specialist field. As well as participating in and contributing to seminars and conferences at universities and think tanks, Research Analysts themselves organise over 80 such events every year in the FCO or jointly with universities. Some analysts contribute articles to learned journals and publish books on their areas of specialist expertise.
The pieces published below are intended to be a contribution to public debate on developments in countries abroad or on current themes of foreign policy interest. Some factual items are offered as helpful background. Views expressed in these articles are those of the analysts concerned and should not be taken as statements of the policy of the British Government.
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CHRONOLOGY OF PEACE PROCESS IN COLOMBIA 1998-2001
This paper provides a chronology of the peace process in Colombia from the start of President Pastrana's four-year term in office in August 1998 to the resumption of formal peace negotiations in February 2001.
THE ROLE OF RESEARCH ANALYSTS IN THE FCO
This paper provides the text of an interview between Jonathan Eyal, Director of Studies at RUSI, and Richard
Lavers, Head of FCO Research Analysts, which appeared in the RUSI Journal
in December 2000. The article provides an account of the role of the Research Analysts today.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Russia has serious environmental problems. Russian government scientists have declared that 15% of their country is 'unfit to live in' and that in a further area inhabited by 40
million people the level of pollution far exceeds permissible standards. Environmental organisations say that these figures are an underestimate. This paper aims to provide an outline of the non-nuclear environmental problems facing Russia today.
HIGH LEVEL VISITS TO AND FROM RUSSIA 1992-1999
The FCO's Eastern Research Group has compiled a list of high level visits between the UK and Russia from 1992 to 1999.
A defining feature of Ukraine’s national structure is the existence of a regional divide. This paper provides information on the size, population and ethnic breakdown of the regions of Ukraine, as well as names of
the main towns and current governors. It includes historical background and geographical/climatic
information about the areas, details on economic activity and other particular points relevant to each region.
VETOED DRAFT RESOLUTIONS IN THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL 1946-1998
This paper gives a table of draft resolutions that have
been vetoed in the Security Council between 1946 and
1998. It is preceded by a short account of the way the
veto has been used during this period by the five
Permanent Members of the Council: China, France, the
Soviet Union (the Russian Federation since 1991), the
United Kingdom and the United States.
BIOT: HEALTH & MORTALITY IN THE CHAGOS ISLANDS
From 1877 Annual Reports by visiting Magistrates often commented on health matters in the Chagos archipelago. However, no attempt was made to
collate figures such as infant mortality until 1951 when the first health survey was carried out in the
islands. This paper summarises the Magistrates' observations.
THE ROLE OF THE PARIS EMBASSY, 1850-1918
This analysis endeavours to provide an insight into
the contribution made by the Paris Embassy to the
formulation and execution of British foreign policy between
1850 and 1918. The Paris Embassy played an almost unique
role compared to other British embassies by virtue of the
importance of relations with France and the geographical
proximity to London. This paper will highlight a number of
important points regarding the role and the work of the Paris
Embassy, and examine the period 1850-1918 in chronological
form in order to indicate how the Embassy reacted to or
influenced key historical events.
WATER IN THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
This paper attempts first to give something of the
context within which negotiations over water will take
place in the Arab-Israel Peace Process, by offering some
general thoughts on water in the region as a whole. It
then looks at the way in which water has been treated in
the Arab-Israel Peace Process so far, and finally offers
some indication of the prospects for a successful
Kazakhstan, with its vast natural wealth and key strategic
location, is attracting increasing international attention. To
understand Kazakhstan, a territory equivalent to the size of
the whole of western Europe, one has to understand its
This paper is divided into 15 chapters: the first outlines the
system of government in Kazakhstan and the remaining
chapters give a thumbnail sketch of each of Kazakhstan's
administrative regions. Chapters begin with basic data on
population, size, main towns and political figures. They also
provide details on historical background, geography and
environment, politics, economy and investment, and give
brief biographies of local politicians.
MOZAMBIQUE: THE REGIONAL VOTE IN LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS
This paper focuses on provincial voting patterns in the
two general elections in Mozambique since the adoption
of a multiparty system (October 1994 & December
1999). While results show that the two main parties,
Frelimo & Renamo, each had clear regional support-bases,
the vote elsewhere appears to be more fluid and
CHINA: GENERAL BACKGROUND BRIEF
This background paper, written for general briefing
purposes, aims to provide details on various aspects of
the People's Republic of China: its geography, history,
political, social and economic development, and foreign
INDIA: CENTRE-STATE RELATIONS IN THE 1990s
India is a federation of states with a strong centre. The
changing political landscape in the 1990s has seen the
balance of centre-state relations begin to shift in favour
of the regions. The era of coalition politics has given
regional parties more of a stake in central government,
while economic liberalisation has benefited some
regional elites. In the process, disparities between more
and less successful states appear to be widening. This
paper looks at the background to these developments
and the likely future course of events.
EAST TIMOR: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
This paper provides details on the
history and political development of East Timor, from the Portuguese decolonisation and the Indonesian intervention of 1975, to the fall of President Suharto in 1998 and events thereafter.
DEATH PENALTY: AN OUTLINE OF US PUBLIC ATTITUDES
Opinion polls continue to show overwhelming public
support in the US for the death penalty. But, as a
number of studies have shown, attitudes are more
complex than they first appear. And are not necessarily
set in concrete. A preliminary analysis of recent polls
shows indications of a small drop in support. When
combined with other social and demographic factors
(falling crime rate, different views of younger
generation), this might indicate the beginnings of a