BEI Weekly Update - 7th June 2024

Dear Members and Friends, 

While the UK election campaign still has almost four weeks to go, over the past few days we have seen the results of two other major elections – in South Africa and India – where in both cases the implications, which will be of much interest to many of our members, may take some time to unfold. British Foreign Policy Group has an interesting piece on a significant moment for South Africa. The outcome in India was generally unexpected, with late polls (and the markets) proven wrong by the final results. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Modi continues in office, and it remains that the long-term prospects for India remain very strong.

Today’s political excitements shouldn’t distract us from the world’s longer-term challenges. Following our recent report on Education launched last month at EWF, our flagship event this week was the launch of our latest report on the crucial issue of Water Resilience, which you can read here. At a well-attended event in Grafton Street, we were joined by Andrew Roby BEM, Senior Water Security Advisor at FCDO, who delivered the keynote address, followed by a discussion of the report led by Charlie Stratford at UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH); Liz Burlon from Accenture; Hoai B. Huynh from Abt Global; and Anne-Louise Vernes from Pegasys Consulting. 

As Liz put it starkly: “water is how we will feel the impact of climate change”. The report outlines the challenges and opportunities in building water resilience: the technical, organisational and institutional capacity to adapt to climate shocks and external stresses on the water system, to protect people and nature from the risks, and to help repair the damage. It explores the interconnected problems facing decision makers and offers a range of tried and tested solutions, illustrated with practical case studies from BEI members working around the world, with a focus on low- and middle- income countries (LMICs).  

Following the launch, we are now working to ensure that this unique report receives the widest possible reach to those – national and regional governments, international organisations and delivery partners around the world – who can benefit from access to British expertise in this sector of vital environmental, human and geopolitical importance. Many congratulations and thanks to Alexandra and the BEI team, along with all our members who contributed their time to the Working Group and their case studies to the final report. We’ve already had a great response to the report from a number of key stakeholders across the UK Government and beyond and we are now working on a substantive programme of follow-up discussions across a number of geographies. More on this soon.

Our other event this week was also on a vital and also under-invested area: retrofitting. On Thursday, Alexandra chaired a panel discussion on Retrofitting Infrastructure for Net Zero in which we heard from: Aneysha Minocha, CEO and Founder of Quantaco; Alison Skillen, Associate Director at Turner and Townsend; Clare Price, Sector Lead Built Environment at the British Standards Institution; and Campbell Murdoch, Managing Director B&I at ABM UK. On this occasion, the panel largely shared experience of working on large retrofitting programmes in the UK, leaving us with many interesting examples of where British expertise could make a real difference internationally. The discussion focused substantially on the Net Zero value chain, catalysing clean tech investments, innovations in materials and renewable technologies, and the role of standards and regulation.  One key message is the importance and power of collecting data and making it accessible across the value chain to achieve system-wide efficiency and decarbonisation. Curiously, this brought to mind the exact same message from a recent briefing by Paul Wilson of the Connected Places Catapult hosted by the D Group. It’s good to see a wealth of “British expertise” in this vital area.

On to next week and, inevitably I suppose, back to the UK election. On Wednesday 12 June, we have the next in our “Election Watch” series, hosted by Senior Adviser Nick Forbes. It’s another which should be of interest to BEI members, as it will be on “Britain’s Place in the World: Does Charity Begin at Home?” The Labour Party is emphasising the importance of investment in international development as a core component of Britain’s place in the world. This discussion will explore how Labour aims to focus development effort on key priorities and align it with the UK’s core strengths, with an emphasis on supporting the world’s poorest. Seen as a key component of the UK’s international element and tangible evidence of the UK’s soft power, it’s important not just for the development community to understand where Labour is coming from.

On Thursday 13 June, we host a panel on “Innovative Financial Instruments for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation”. As conventional, particularly public, finance clearly won’t be sufficient to meet climate challenges, this is a top priority and we at BEI plan to do more to bring the financial community into our discussions. At this session, the panellists will include senior figures from three of our members: Nick Haslam, Head of Climate Change and Nature at Adam Smith International; Guido Cocco, Senior Economist at Ricardo; and Shasi Wagle, Team Leader of Rebuild at Palladium.      

Another busy week, including for many of our members who’ve supported us with a considerable amount of valuable time. My warm wishes for the weekend,

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International 

Recordings of recent past events:

Key events coming up include the following:

  • 12th June 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Britain’s Place in the World: Does Charity Begin at Home? - The Labour Party clearly recognise the importance of the UK’s investment in development. They have stressed the importance of focus and prioritisation of effort aligned to the UK’s core strengths, while continuing to support the poorest countries and communities globally. As a key pillar of UK foreign policy and tangible evidence of the UK’s soft power, the specific plans and priorities will be important beyond the development community.
  • 13th June 2024 10:00 - 11:30 BST: Innovative Financial Instruments for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation - The urgency of addressing the climate crisis has spurred the need for innovative financial instruments to facilitate mitigation and adaptation efforts. Our panel will explore how green bonds, climate-focused venture capital funds and carbon pricing mechanisms can help bridge the funding gap by channelling capital towards environmentally sustainable projects and technologies.
  • 18th June 2024 10:00 - 11:30 BST: Retrofitting Climate Change in Economic Development Programmes - Retrofitting climate change in existing economic development programmes allows a move away from a risk focused approach, by aligning economic development policies with long-term climate goals and leveraging funding to drive innovation and support sustainable projects. To delve into the opportunities, we will be joined by colleagues from the FCDO, alongside Mott MacDonald and Climate Sense.
  • 18th June 2024 14:00 - 15:00 BST: FCDO Development Director: Mozambique - Join us as we host Dominic Ashton, Development Director in Mozambique for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), who will present FCDO’s development strategy, programming and pipeline of opportunities in Mozambique.
  • 21st June 2024 18:00 - 20:00 BST: Exhibition Private View: Equilibrium - Join BEI and D Contemporary at the Private View of Equilibrium, a captivating photography exhibition featuring images by the internationally acclaimed photographer Pierre Rivet alongside photography from around the globe showcasing the collective efforts of British Expertise International members in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The images weave stories of hope in creating balance between people and nature.
  • 25th June 2024 14:00 - 15:30 BST: New Solutions for Closing the Climate Finance Gap - Join MOBILIST and USAID’s Climate Finance for Development Accelerator (CFDA) to discuss public markets, the importance of partnerships, and other innovative solutions to mobilising private investment toward addressing climate change at this in-person roundtable, as part of BEI’s Climate Showcase programme.
  • 26th June 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: What is Infrastructure for Opportunity and Does it Mean Game Over for Levelling Up? - Labour clearly sees the link between infrastructure investment and wider economic growth. They have expressed their intention to drive quicker and cheaper delivery of major projects, unlocking private sector investment. The announcement of the British Infrastructure Council signals Labour’s intention to turn this into reality.
  • 26th June 2024 17:00 - 19:30 BST: UK’s international leadership role in Climate Finance as a vehicle to deliver tangible impact - Join us for the main event in BEI’s Climate Showcase as our panel (DESNZ, FCDO and BII) discuss how the UK government is putting finance for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the heart of interventions and policy decisions. The panel will be followed by a Private View of our special photography Exhibition, showcasing BEI members’ work in climate change mitigation and adaptation in LMICs.
  • 3rd July 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Britain’s Place in The World: Using UK Soft Power More Effectively - If Labour wins the election, they will be keen to ensure that the UK’s reputation on a global stage becomes part of its toolkit to drive economic and social prosperity. From their commitment to the culture and the arts, to their belief in the strength of the UK’s reputation across sport and education, soft power has a key role to play.
  • 17th July 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Net Zero – the new economy or bad for business? - Net Zero is now part of the mainstream debate in national politics. As a result, it is also becoming a more contested agenda. What does this mean for the changing role of business in helping the UK achieve its Net Zero targets, and what does Labour’s ambition for us to be a ‘Net Zero Superpower’ mean in practice? In this session Nick will explore Labour’s approach to Net Zero, including the interplay between Net Zero and Labour’s fiscal policies.

Register for an upcoming event →

External Events

  • June 11th 2024: The Caspian Policy Centre is hosting a Middle Corridor Conference at the IISS from 9:00-13:00 at Arundel House, 6 Temple Place, London WC2R2PG. Regional Ambassadors will provide overviews. Representatives of HMG, international organisations, finance and business will discuss sustainable infrastructure investment, maximising development impact and improving business opportunities. For details contact:
  • June 17th – 27th 2024: Made in the UK Sold to the Indo-Pacific: Meet The Experts - Want to hear from sector specialists, market experts and other companies about opportunities in the Indo-Pacific? This two week series of in-person events is run by the UK Government and their partners.
  • June 19th – 20th 2024: MINEX Central Asia: MINEX Central Asia Mining and Exploration Forum is taking place in Bishkek under the general theme "The Prospects and Scenarios for Sustainable Development of the Mining Industry in Central Asia". MINEX Central Asia Forum provides a cross-regional platform for presenting and discussing investment and technological opportunities for the development of mineral resources, green energy transfer and the modernisation of industrial infrastructure across the Central Asian countries.
  • June 24th 2024: UK-SAUDI SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE SUMMIT - The City of London Corporation and The Saudi British Joint Business Council UK (SBJBC UK) are delighted to announce the UK-Saudi Sustainable Infrastructure Summit, set to take place on 24 June 2024 at Plaisterers’ Hall in London. A full-day, in-person event featuring keynotes, panels, workshops and networking opportunities, focusing on sustainable infrastructure opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the UK, and how firms can play a pivotal role.

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