Dear Members and Friends,
News from around the world remains full of challenges and uncertainties. The EU’s latest decision on continued support to Ukraine follows on from the recent announcement of increased UK funding by Prime Minister Sunak and returns the spotlight to Washington DC as the US Administration continues to call on Congress to approve its spending plans. Meanwhile, there look to be no signs that the situation in the Red Sea, and the wider Middle East, is any closer to a resolution. One is left with the uncomfortable conclusion that we are entering a new era in geopolitics, with painfully little international consensus on the desirable endstate we are seeking to reach and still less on the specific means of achieving peace and stability. As we move increasingly towards a more multipolar world, conventional notions of “international community” need a great deal of work. This makes the practical interventions in which our members are engaged around the world all the more essential as vital steps in the right direction.
Our events this week have focused on some of the most important themes in BEI’s portfolio. On Tuesday, the session on Ethiopia: Climate Finance was particularly well attended. We were grateful to Sehr Syed, Climate & Environment Advisor at the British Embassy for leading with a presentation which provoked substantive discussions and contributions from our members. Attendees discussed how to support Ethiopia in addressing some of the challenges to accessing climate finance by mobilising both more domestic finance and multilateral development finance, as well as using innovative financial instruments.
On Wednesday, a strong group of members and guests joined us for our regular Climate Change Networking Evening, which featured a keynote by Kate Lonsdale, Director at Climate Sense. For over 25 years Kate has worked on organisational adaptation to a changing climate, spanning civil society, academia and government, working within organisations that bridge different sectors. Kate spoke to us about her approach which combines a deep grounding in research with frontline experience of implementation in emerging and developed economies across multiple sectors. Given the increasing significance and urgency of adaptation, there is increasing interest in understanding how to develop the skills and experience required for this work. We are very grateful to Kate for inspiring such a successful and thought-provoking evening and we look forward to the next in the series.
On Thursday, we hosted the latest meeting of the Skills and Training Working Group. The theme on this occasion was standards, on which we heard from Matthew Chiles, Education Development Manager at BSI, and Aisling Kelly, International Relations Manager at SQA, followed by a discussion with a group of education members with expertise in this area. Clear and deliverable standards are clearly vital for education and this was a particularly valuable practical discussion on how standards can be embedded in education practice internationally.
Next week, we look forward to continuing our series with FCDO Development Directors, this time with a focus on Sudan. We will hear from Ruth Lawson, the Development Director alongside Kevin McGrath, Commercial Lead at FCDO, who will discuss the FCDO’s strategy for Sudan, current programming and the pipeline. After Ethiopia this week and before Sudan next, I would like to reiterate how grateful we are to the FCDO teams around the world for giving up time to talk to our members about their work and plans for the future. We do appreciate it.
It seems hardly possible that we are already at the beginning of February; so much seems to have happened in the first days of the year. As we prepare for the second twelfth of this year’s programme, I’m grateful for your continuing feedback on what you’d like to see from BEI’s activities. We shall do our best to respond to your ideas.
In the meantime, best wishes for a restful weekend,
British Expertise International
Recordings of recent past events:
- 16th January - COP28 Outcomes
- 24th January - Working with the Caribbean Development Bank: Climate and Infrastructure
- 30th January - FCDO Ethiopia: Climate Finance
Key events coming up include the following:
- 7th February 2024 09:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. GMT: Education Working Group - The UK is well known for its expertise in education consultancy services: in much of the world “British education” is synonymous with quality. This group enables better collaborative engagement between members, HMG and other key stakeholders. The BEI Education Working Group is now working on the much-awaited Education report on System Strengthening, to be launched in May 2024.
- 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.
- 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.
- 14th March 2024 (DATE CHANGE)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.
- 24th April 2024 16:00 p.m. - 17:30 p.m. BST: ICAI Review: International Climate Finance - A new review from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) assesses whether the UK is on track to meet its international climate finance commitments. Join Chief Commissioner Tamsyn Barton and other stakeholders to discuss the findings of the report and how UK aid can be used most effectively to meet this monumental global challenge.
Not a member?
For more information about British Expertise International: