Dear Members and Friends,
Welcome to our last newsletter of the year. Even as we approach the holidays, we have another full and varied programme of activities to report on - and not only our own Christmas party, with which I’ve taken the festive liberty of headlining this newsletter…
Our last two events of the year took place this week, both “Meet the Development Director” sessions with Peter McDermott covering Syria and Chris Pycroft speaking on Nigeria. Both were very well attended and the talks prompted lively discussions with members, fuelled by updates on FCDO’s programmes and plans for the two countries. It was particularly interesting to hear Chris’ takeaways as he prepares to move on to a new posting. We were especially interested in his thinking on the 'elite bargain' theory and the risks of corruption, and how best to work in the country in this context.
It was a pleasure to welcome many BEI and D Group members on Monday evening for a private view of our sister organisation D Contemporary’s exhibition featuring four incredible artists from Ukraine: Anna Kostritskaya, Nataliia Korf-Ivaniuk, Oleksiy Ivaniuk and Daria Ivaschchenko. The theme of the exhibition is ‘Art lightens the heart and awakens thought’. Ukraine has occupied our thoughts a great deal this year, for obvious reasons, and it is great to be reminded of that country’s optimism and creativity which our artists have shown remain unbowed even in the most threatening circumstances. The exhibition continues until 22nd December; if you’re around our neighbourhood in the next few days, please drop by and take a look.
Beyond Grafton Street, BEI was well represented on Wednesday evening at a top-level reception hosted by Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron at Lancaster House. It was also good to see some of our international development members there. It was good to hear Lord Cameron express his personal commitment to the recently published International Development White Paper, with its emphasis on the least developed countries, “respectful development”, partnerships and localisation.
At the end of the year in which I joined BEI (these six months have passed very quickly), I hope I can be allowed a brief reflection on where we have reached. We have organised an incredible 147 events for our members, with a wide range of speakers from the UK Government, many governments around the world, international development organisations, academic and other specialists – and of course our own members. We have seen on a daily basis what a contribution “British expertise” is making around the world and how, when we work together, we can find new opportunities and showcase the scale of our potential contribution in partnerships around the world – in short, how we can contribute British expertise to shaping a better future. I’ve been observing closely how this works in practice and want to thank all our members and partners for making it possible. I am also especially grateful to our great BEI team and colleagues from across Strategy International – featured at the top of this newsletter - including Peter O’Kane and Robin MacKenzie whose efforts allowed me to inherit such a vibrant organisation and who of course continue to steer our future direction.
Even while we prepare for the break, we have been moving ahead with the new year’s programme, where our aim will be to continue with our tested blend of activities that can make a unique contribution for our members, but also find new ways to support you in a rapidly changing world. If you missed it last week, here’s the link to the programme so far – with more events to be added soon, of course. In next year’s series, the White Paper will be a recurring theme, including through our FCDO Development Director Series as well as a suite of knowledge-sharing events on the central White Paper theme of localisation. We will start with an event on safeguarding, when we will welcome Peter Taylor, the Head of Safeguarding Unit at FCDO, and a Donor Clinic on Localisation led by our member Seamless. In the wake of COP28, a panel of BEI members will join us to discuss their experiences at COP, their main takeaways, and their hopes for the future.
I suspect even our hardest-working members might excuse the absence of our newsletter for the next couple of weeks. We’ll be back early in the New Year with more on the 2024 programme. In the meantime, warm wishes from me and all the BEI team for a restful break for those who can, and for a successful - and more peaceful - 2024 for all.
With best wishes for the weekend,
British Expertise International
Recordings of recent past events:
- 12th December - FCDO Development Director Series: Syria
- 13th December - FCDO Development Director Series: Nigeria
Key events coming up include the following:
- 10th January 2024 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. GMT: Safeguarding Panel - Join us for a webinar discussion with representatives from FCDO, DAI Global and Social Development Direct on the topic of safeguarding. This event willS be opened by Peter Taylor, Head of Safeguarding Unit, FCDO, who will offer remarks on CAPSEAH. The panel will provide an overview of the best practices in implementing safeguarding through all aspects of operations and programming, as well as addressing the challenges of implementation.
- 16th January 2024 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. GMT: COP28 Outcomes - In the wake of COP28, a panel of BEI members will join us to discuss their experiences at COP, their main takeaways, and their hopes for the future.
- 17th January 2024 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. GMT: Clinic on Localisation in partnership with Seamless - Join us for a Clinic on Localisation, at which Seamless Global (Part of Sannam S4 Group) joined by colleagues from FHI360 and Clean Air Fund will explore the operational realities of localisation.If you are not a BEI member, please rsvp directly to email@example.com.
- 18th January 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 18th January 2024 - Launch: Unleashing the UK’s Innovation Capability to Support Our National Interests - This project aims to support the strategic alignment of the traditional (Military, Government and Industry) and non-traditional defence stakeholders (Venture Capital, Entrepreneurs and Academia). International competitors can develop and adopt innovation faster than the UK given their faster moving, more responsive innovation ecosystems.
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