Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has sent out an upbeat Christmas message designed to cheer up Britons left "downcast" by a 2016 characterised by war, terror and division.
In a video message circulated on Twitter, Mr Johnson said that despite war in Syria and terror attacks in Europe, mankind as a whole was making progress in terms of health, education and longevity.
And he said that "global Britain" was leading the effort to continue the improvements.
Standing in front of a Christmas tree at the Foreign Office in London, Mr Johnson said: "We come now to the end of 2016 and I know that lots of people will be looking back at some of the gloomier bits about last year.
"We have still got a terrible civil war going on in Syria, we are seeing terrorist outrages taking place on our European continent.
"But I want you to know that British diplomats, British armed forces, British security services, British intelligence services are working the whole time to keep this country safe and to tackle these problems at source."
He added: "In case you are feeling too downcast this Christmas, don't forget that overall the people of this planet are living longer, they are living in better health, they are better educated than ever before, particularly women.
"I can tell you that global Britain is leading that effort. So I hope that cheers you up."