Dear Members and Friends,
It does feel to me as if the summer has been and gone without my noticing it — the sunny weather was intermittent at best, and I can hardly believe we are already back, and preparing for Autumn (and for many of us, seeing the children return to school next week)
Over recent weeks, it has been both sad and alarming to see the Taliban take control of Afghanistan and the associated challenges to repatriate and support UK Nationals and people who have worked to support the UK’s efforts in the country. On behalf of a group of members, I wrote to the Secretary of State for the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) along with other key Ministers on this matter. In the letter I outlined the issue that Afghan nationals who worked to deliver UK government programmes through partner organisations (rather than directly for HMG) were not included in the initial repatriation scheme. The situation has remained chaotic and challenging and we hope that all potentially vulnerable people will find safe haven in the coming days — time is running out.
The FCDO recently hosted a number of information gathering meetings on the development of UK’s International Development Strategy where a number of our members were invited. FCDO’s Director for Development, Parliament, Coordination & Capability, Christian Rogg presented at the meeting which focused on 2 key questions around identifying areas of comparative advantage that the UK has and also how the UK’s approach should evolve to build partnerships with new actors and strengthen existing ones? FCDO have also called for written submissions with details available here: International Development Strategy: call for evidence.
As we head into Autumn, I am delighted to share with you the details of our Programme through until Christmas:
Showcasing British Capabilities: building on the model and output created by the Education Working Group, we are currently working on a series of summaries of member capabilities in key areas, which we aim to publish and promote before Christmas. These are being driven by our outstanding Working Groups
- Our Infrastructure Working Group is working on a model and associated details that will help showcase member capabilities across physical infrastructure
- Our Climate Change Working Group has divided into four sub-groups, covering the Built Environment, Nature Based Solutions, Flood/Weather Risk Management and Climate Finance. Each sub group is aiming to publish a summary of Capabilities to coincide with COP26 in early November
- Our Education Working Group is now developing its content to focus upon the critical issue of Girls’ Education
- Within the Development Aid sector, we will be looking to showcase our members’ capabilities in supporting the seven ‘global challenges’ set out by the FCDO
Our event programme will begin to re-introduce face to face events gradually through Autumn, in line with up-to-date government guidelines. We have an exciting series of events already in place, including the following:
Country and Regional Deep Dives: We look forward to sessions focused on key sectors of interest for our members in some of our priority geographies and other markets with insights on specific opportunities pipeline.
Themed Events: we are staging a range of events through Autumn around thematic areas — including Smart Cities, Climate Change, and Education. In addition, we will be looking to run a series of events around the evolving International Development strategy.
Project Funding and Finance: we look forward to sessions with funding organisations and these will include the Asian Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and the EBRD. We also look forward to hosting a round table with the Lord Mayor of London and discuss his focus on effective funding from the City of London to support Climate Change and other key issues.
Meet The Trade Commissioners: we will be continuing with discussions with some of Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners to hear about the regional priorities and support to UK companies in international markets. These will include Africa, the Asia Pacific, Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MEAP) and South Asia
Meet The Trade Envoys: we will continue to host the Trade Envoys in smaller and more targeted round tables. We are currently scheduling meetings with the Trade Envoys who cover The Caribbean, Egypt, Bangladesh, South Africa, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and others.
You can access details of all our Autumn events here
As always, I welcome member suggestions for event and speaker ideas that would be of interest to the wider membership.
I hope you will enjoy the long weekend, and look forward to connecting with you all throughout the Autumn.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International
Join our Working Groups — as part of our member focus, the working groups offer opportunities for peer-to-peer engagement, learning & sharing, profiling expertise & capabilities and highlighting thought leadership. Groups include Climate Change, Education, infrastructure, D&I, and we also support a Safeguarding Leads Network. For details contact Joe McLynn
Join our LinkedIn Group and keep up with our news and our upcoming events highlights. Members can also post and share latest news and thought leadership. Join the group here.
Take advantage of the new Job Board on our website to post your organisation’s vacancies, currently this facility is available for free.
Currently all our events are hosted virtually and look forward to exploring hybrid event options as the government eases socialising restrictions. For any event registration support please contact the events team. Click on titles to access full event details. The full calendar of events can be viewed here and recently added event dates are highlighted with an asterisk*.
6th September- Education Working Group
7th September — Closed Roundtable Discussion with Trade Envoy Heather Wheeler MP
9th September — Infrastructure Working Group
15th September — Roundtable Discussion with Trade Envoy Baroness Hooper
15th September — Climate Change Working Group
22nd September — The FCDO & Evidence Based Decisions
28th September — Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
30th September* — Lunch with Lord Mayor of London
5th October* — Roundtable with HMTC Simon Penney
7th October* — Education Focus in the CDC
28th October — Roundtable with Trade Envoy Darren Henry MP
25th November* — Doing Business with USAID
External News & Events
28th — 30th September — The African Development Bank (AfDB) is hosting the fourth annual ‘Africa Resilience Forum’, this year on the topic ‘Covid-19 and Beyond: Working Together for a Resilient Recovery’.
17th — 18th November — Development2030 is a new event co-located with AidEx taking place at Brussels Expo, Belgium. With a strong focus on the SDGs and the impact of COVID-19, as well as the bigger challenge of climate change, Development2030 will look beyond aid to offer a unique platform specifically for overseas development actors. There are multiple ways you can get involved, from exhibiting, hosting an impact session, speaking in our conference programme or attending. Click here for more information.
Tom Cargill, the new CEO of the Foreign Office facility Wilton Park ( and who remains Dep chair of BEI’s Advisory board), has been in touch to offer D and BEI members special hire rates for Wilton’s beautiful Sussex home (confusingly called Wiston Park). I attach a note from him. If anyone in your events / conference team is interested so get in touch with Wilton ‘We’d offer Strategy Members a 15% discount if they book within the next 3 months — so £280 per person with a minimum of 30 people (minimum £8,400 plus VAT) for every 24 hour period. That gives exclusive use of our government secure stately home with spacious grounds. More information is here. https://www.wiltonpark.org.uk/venue-hire/.
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