BEI Weekly Update - 9th February 2024

Dear Members and Friends,

Even a quick read of the week’s news is a strong reminder that we in the UK are very much into an election year, in which it’s even easier than usual for important issues to disappear down the domestic policy rabbit hole. Much is true in the US and indeed many other countries around the world (see our sister organisation BFPG’s election tracker if you want a reminder of what’s happening where and when). For us (as of course in the US), this pre-election phase could last pretty much the entire year. This means that those of us concerned with the international dimension – and often complex projects which can be difficult to explain – need to think even harder than usual about how to get (positive) airtime in the political debate. Working with BFPG, we very much make it our business to relate our international engagement to as broad as possible a sense of where the British interests lie. We’re always ready to engage with members on how best to make the case. 

With this in mind, this Tuesday the latest of our International Development Heads of Business meetings took the form of a round table with our parent Strategy International Senior Adviser Nick Forbes on engagement with the Labour Party. The discussion looked at the current position of Labour towards International Development, touching upon the Party’s views on the recent ID White Paper. 

Moreover, the group came together and collectively agreed on a few points that we will put forward to the Shadow International Development team, which aim to understand how Labour can make the most of the collective impact of the International Development sector, and how the International Development sector can support this. More on this next week.

On Thursday, we held the latest in our FCDO Development Director series, this time on Sudan. Over 60 members heard from Development Director Ruth Lawson and FCDO Commercial Lead Kevin McGrath on the situation on the ground, Sudan’s development plan and goals and the pipeline of project opportunities. Kevin spoke on procurement, tenders, contract management and the benefits for suppliers of engaging in these projects.

Next week, we have on Tuesday our next “Intersections” event, on climate change and food security. We have lined up a top team of panellists to lead this webinar, including:  Jacobeth Barno, Financial Inclusion and Innovation lead, Ethiopia, World Food Programme; Guy Jobbins, Executive Director, SPARC Consortium, Cowater; Collins Apuoyo, Chief of Party, Uganda – Feed the Future Inclusive Agricultural Markets, DAI Global; and Dr James Borrell, Research Leader in Agrobiodiversity Conservation, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

On Thursday, we welcome again the Caribbean Development Bank for a session on working with the Bank on Education and Social Inclusion. Experts on Education and Social Development will share an overview of working with the Bank, navigating the procurement process and understanding opportunities in these sectors. Panellists include: Damien Reeves, Chief Policy Analyst; Christine Mohammed, Operations Officer (Procurement); Elbert Ellis, Senior Operations Officer, Social Sector Division; and Dr Martin Baptiste, Division Chief, Social Sector Division.

We have two good pieces of reading matter for you this week. First, do take a look at Katie’s blog covering highlights from Kate Lonsdale’s keynote at our recent Climate Change Networking Evening, on the nature of the climate adaptation challenge and the need for approaches to be flexible, iterative, comprehensive and tailored to each individual case. Secondly, as promised, Luisa has written a piece on opportunities in South East Asia following her recent visit to the region, which I’m sure will be of interest to many of our members.

It’s an enjoyable exercise to put this newsletter together each week, as it is to support the team organising such a wide range of activities. But it’s even better if we know what we are doing is meeting your needs and aspirations. So please do get in touch and let us have your feedback.

In the meantime, best wishes for the weekend,

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International

Recordings of recent past events:

Key events coming up include the following:

  • 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.
  • 19th February 2024 09:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. GMT: Water Resilience Workshop - To facilitate knowledge sharing between UK consultants and key international stakeholders and buyers visiting London for the World Water Tech Innovation Summit, BEI are convening a workshop on Water Resilience. The event will provide the opportunity to showcase the UK’s offer in water resilience and will feature a panel discussion.
  • 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 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.
  • 14th March 2024 14:00 p.m. - 15:00 p.m. GMT: FCDO Development Director: South Sudan - Join us as we host Kobi Bentley, the Development Director in South Sudan for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), who will present FCDO’s development strategy, programming and pipeline of opportunities in South Sudan.
  • 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.

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