BEI Weekly Update
Jan 19, 2024

BEI Weekly Update - 19th January 2024

Dear Members and Friends,

At a time when there’s so much deeply concerning international news, one of the more cheering aspects of my role is to learn, from our members and partners, of the great work that is being done across “our” sectors to make positive change in which (to coin a phrase) “British expertise” is playing such an important role.  

This week is no exception. On Tuesday, over 80 participants heard from a great panel on the outcomes of COP28 and had an opportunity to take stock of where we go from here. We were grateful for the lead given by members James Cameron, Chair of Crown Agents; Rabih El Fadel, Co-Founder & CEO of Phyla Earth; Eric J. Reading, Chief Climate Officer, Abt Associates; and  Amir Sokolowski, Global Director of Climate, CDP, as well as from a lively Q&A session. In short, despite some of the sceptical coverage, there were some real positives at COP28 as a basis for the heavy lifting that of course remains to be done across every sector and in every country. Another key conclusion from our discussion is that the impacts of climate change cut across all aspects of development, which of course is the theme of our ongoing “Intersections” series. For a more detailed report, please see Alexandra’s blog.

One of the standout themes of the FCDO International Development White Paper was the emphasis on localisation as a key component of “respectful development”. The concept is of course not new, nor confined to UK-funded development, but it’s certainly topical. On Wednesday, we hosted a Clinic on Localisation in partnership with our members Seamless (SANNAM S4) - our first in-person event back for 2024, but benefiting from a direct link (which I’m glad to say was faultless…) with speakers in India and Nepal. The panel was chaired by Ananya Bhadauria, Clinic Development Lead for Education and Non-Profits at Seamless. It was great to have Bhushan Tuladhar, who is Chief of Party for USAID Clean Air with FHI 360; and Kshiti Gala, Head of Research and Consulting at Seamless joining us by video link to share insights from on the ground. Mike Saxton, Director of Finance and Operations at Clean Air Fund was with us in person in London. In a highly engaging panel discussion and Q&A session, we covered both the policy underpinnings of localisation as well as the crucial practical measures – from governance, and team building to programming – necessary to make it work in practice.   Localisation is more a journey than an end-point and greater progress will require deeper shared appreciation of the goals, desirable outcomes and necessary risk appetite between donors, INGOs, local governments and local and international delivery partners. It sounds daunting – but, as the Clinic showed, with commitment and a practical approach, it is certainly possible – and being achieved now.

Next Wednesday, we have an interesting session on working with the Caribbean Development Bank on climate and infrastructure. In the first of two events, The Caribbean Development Bank’s Environmental Sustainability unit will provide an update on their regional leadership of climate initiatives and an overview of procurement guidelines with the CDB. We will hear from: Damien Reeves, Chief Policy Analyst; Douglas Fraser, Head of Procurement; Nigel Blair, Operations Officer, Economic Infrastructure Division; and Hopeton Peterson, Operations Officer, Environmental Sustainability Unit.

I started with the geopolitical context and, for those with an interest in keeping up with developments, I would like to draw your attention again to our sister organisation BFPG’s foreign policy tracker which you can follow here. I hope you find it useful; please let us have your feedback. 

Our colleagues at the British Foreign Policy Group are also currently recruiting new members for the 2024 UK Soft Power Group (UKSPG). The Group, which they co-convene with the British Council, is comprised of some of the UK's most significant, treasured, and active soft power organisations. It has fast become the leading voice for soft power in the UK, and engages in regular dialogue with the Government, embassies and other key stakeholders, in advancing the UK’s soft power as an essential underpinning of the UK’s international agenda. More information about the Group can be found here. Please do get in touch if you would be interested in finding out more about UKSPG.

With warm wishes for a restful weekend,

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International

Recordings of recent past events:

Key events coming up include the following:

  • 24th January 2024 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. GMT: Working with the Caribbean Development Bank: Climate and Infrastructure - The Caribbean Development Bank’s Environmental Sustainability unit will provide an update on their regional leadership of climate initiatives, and an overview of procurement guidelines with the CDB.
  • 30th January 2024 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.GMT: FCDO Ethiopia Climate Finance - Ethiopia is one of the UK’s most important development partnerships. We are delighted to provide an opportunity for a detailed discussion on Climate Finance with FCDO colleagues leading on climate change at the British Embassy.
  • 31st January 2024 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. GMT: Climate Change Networking Evening - An evening of thought-provoking conversation, potential new partnerships and the opportunity to meet with members of our Climate Change Working Group. This quarterly event brings together members and stakeholders to engage on the pre-COP29 agenda and the broader climate efforts being undertaken by UK organisations across the globe. We are delighted to welcome Kate Lonsdale as our keynote speaker.
  • 1st February 2024 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. GMT: Skills and Training WG: Standards - Join us for our quarterly in-person Skills & Training Working Group with a presentation from the British Standards Institution (BSI) and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) on the topic of Standards. The discussion will provide an overview of standards and the importance of standards education, followed by insights into the importance of accepted standards in the education sector, and the challenges and steps involved in developing them.
  • 8th February 2024 09:00 a.m. -10:15 a.m. GMT: FCDO Development Director: Sudan - Join us as we host Ruth Lawson, the Development Director in Sudan for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and Kevin McGrath, Commercial Lead for the FCDO, who will present FCDO’s development strategy, programming and pipeline of opportunities in Sudan.
  • 6th February 2024 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. GMT: Intersection of Climate Change, Gender-Based Violence and other Harmful Practices - Women and girls can be disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis as it serves to intensify pre-existing inequalities. Our panel will showcase how they are adapting their approach in the nexus of climate change, gender-based violence and other harmful practices.
  • 13th February 2024 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. GMT: Intersection of Climate Change and Food Security - Join us for the next event in our “Intersections with Climate Change” series, this time focusing on the key intersection of Climate Change and Food Security. Our panel will discuss how their organisations are adapting their approach in response to climate change across their programmes and interventions to support and improve food security in a changing climate.
  • 15th February 2024 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. GMT: Water Resilience Working Group - The UK has a distinctive offer and world-leading expertise in sustainable and climate-resilient water services. This group, in partnership with the UK government, IFIs and other key stakeholders, aims to define that offer and leverage it to increase exports.
  • 15th February 2024 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. GMT: Working with the Caribbean Development Bank: Education & Social Inclusion - For the second in our series of events engaging with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) we will be joined by experts on Education and Social Development to share an overview of and insights into doing business with the CDB, navigating the procurement processes and exploring opportunities in the education and social development sector.
  • 22nd February 2024 09:00 a.m. -10:30 a.m. GMT: Skills and Training WG: SEAMEO VOCTECH - Join us for our monthly online Skills & Training Working Group with guest speaker, Dr. Paryono Paryono, Deputy Director of SEAMEO VOCTECH. Dr Paryono’s presentation will offer an overview of the current TVET context in the ASEAN region, an overview of SEAMEO VOCTECH’s work, and ways of partnering up with VOCTECH.

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