Dear Members and Friends,
This week’s much awaited Spending Review budget contained the commitment for the UK to return to the 0.7% contribution to development aid by 2024/25. Whilst this provides a positive steer, this is still a long way away, and therefore it is equally important that the FCDO now provides certainty around the shape, direction and pipeline of work in the near term, to help all delivery partners to plan effectively for what will continue to be a challenging operating environment. For our members in infrastructure, whilst there were some indications of growing investments in the sector, much of this was old news. There remains a need to better support and articulate the UK infrastructure exports offering through greater G2G engagements in partnership with Business to provide more comprehensive UK solutions. We will continue to engage with government to help drive UK exports and expertise.
This week, we hosted a very engaging lunch with the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the UK. Ambassador Said Rustamov, BEI members and several members of the Uzbekistan APPG discussed the potential outcomes of the recent presidential election that saw President Shavkat Mirziyoyev securing a second 5-year term with more than 80 percent of the vote. The discussion touched on future economic policy and government priorities in areas such sustainable infrastructure, education, healthcare, social reform and human capital development. Uzbekistan is set to continue with its diversification agenda and provides many interesting opportunities for British business and investment.
We also hosted a Roundtable with Trade Envoy Darren Henry MP , who covers the Commonwealth Caribbean markets. It was clear that there were some fantastic opportunities for members looking to operate in this region, however not without some challenges. With a visit to the region at the end of November, Darren kindly took note of these concerns and we look forward to our continued engagement with him and his team.
As Global leaders are converging on Glasgow, our attention now shifts to the activities to coincide with COP26. Next week, we will be running three virtual events based on the topics being covered by our Climate Change Working Group:
Tuesday 2nd November — 10:00–11:30, Extreme Weather and Climate Resilience. The intensity and frequency of extreme weather events has risen around the globe, characterised by heat waves, heavy downpours, hurricanes, or wildfires. Attendees will be informed by expert panellists on how we understand extreme weather and climate resilience, showcasing their work and trends for concept and industry.
Tuesday 2nd November — 14:00–15:30, Nature-based Solutions. In this event, members from the BEI Nature-based Solutions (NbS) subgroup will compose part of an expert panel providing a detailed overview of what NbS is and its practical application in the fight against climate change.
Thursday 4th November — 10:00–11:30, The Built Environment. The Built Environment is responsible for 39% of all global carbon emissions, with the sector facing multiple challenges as the world looks to tackle climate change. Join as our expert panellists showcase the real-world examples of how to tackle some of these challenges and demonstrate how members can incorporate these solutions into their own work.
On Wednesday 10th November (13:30 to 15:00), we are excited to announce the publication and launch of the three BEI Climate Change Working Group Reports. These reports will showcase British capabilities in each of the sub sectors and provide a unique framework to help stakeholders understand the expertise and solutions our BEI members and UK companies can provide.
Soon after COP26 we look forward to hosting a Post-Event Debrief which will look to discuss the key outputs from the perspectives of various panellists and explore what this means for UK business and the climate action agenda in general. Join us on Wednesday 17 November from 2.00pm and contribute to the discussion around what has been agreed upon at the conference.
You can find more information on all our events here.
In addition to these events, our sister organisation D-Contemporary kick off their exhibition next week to coincide with COP26, Verdant Futures, curated by Sean T Ross, which explores how creative innovation can offer new solutions to combating the climate crisis. The exhibition presents five designers who have addressed key climate issues with the aim of a greener tomorrow. There is a Private View on Wednesday 3rd November, and BEI Members are welcome to attend. If you wish to attend please contact Will to register
We wanted to inform you that UK Export Finance will be hosting its fourth annual UK Trade and Export Finance Forum on Tuesday 7 December at the QEII Conference Centre, London. Registrations for this (free) event are now open. The forum will examine key trends in trade and export finance. There will be opportunities to meet with international buyers, banking partners as well as UKEF and DIT Trade Advisors. You can sign up for this event, sign up here.
As you can see, there is a lot going at BEI and we hope our members will take advantage of these activities to participate and contribute to shared learnings and insights. Do let us know what your plans and activities are during COP26 and will be happy to share these with our networks.
I hope you all have a relaxing weekend and keep a ‘brolly’ handy as it seems there will be rain in many parts of the country this weekend. We look forward to seeing many of you online or in person during the course of COP26 activities.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International
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Currently most of our events are hosted virtually and we are starting to explore face to face and 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*.
1st November — BEI Education Working Group
2nd November* — BEI Climate Series: Extreme Weather and Climate Resilience
2nd November* — BEI Climate Series: Nature-based Solutions
4th November* — BEI Climate Series: Built Environment
10th November* — BEI Climate Series: Climate Change Capabilities Report Launch
11th November — BEI Infrastructure Working Group
17th November — Roundtable with Rushanara Ali MP — Trade Envoy to Bangladesh
17th November — BEI Climate Change Working Group
17th November* — BEI Climate Series: Post-COP26 Debrief
22nd November — Education Working Group Roundtable with Alicia Herbert
23rd November — BEI Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
23rd November — Event with the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the UK
24th November — UNICEF & Education Systems Recovery
25th November — Lunch with Andrew Mitchell CMG
25th November — Doing Business with USAID
30th November — Roundtable with Trade Envoy Lord Davies
7th December — Jamaica: Infrastructure Opportunities
8th December* — Mexico Deep Dive
14th December* — Roundtable with Trade Envoy Marco Longhi
External News & Events
2nd — 22nd November — Department for International Trade (DIT) will host a virtual trade tour of Europe during the month of November to equip UK businesses for success in the region.
2nd November — Department for International Trade (DIT) and the UK-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), and the British Council is organizing a Policy Forum focused on the promotion of British transnational education in Kazakhstan. This is designed and delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
3rd November — Zimbabwe Presidential Investment Conference — on the occasion of hosting His Excellency Dr Emmerson D. Mnangagwa President of Zimbabwe, there will be an Investment Conference in Glasgow on the morning of the 3rd November from 9am until 1pm in the Ballroom at Crossbasket Castle in Glasgow. There will be informative panels covering the investment landscape of Zimbabwe across sectors. Some key investment sectors include mining , renewable energy, PPP, infrastructure, agriculture, Tourism & capital markets. Interested Delegates can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
6th November — Stories from the frontline: Nature-based Solutions delivering for people, climate and nature. Drawing on a major report released this year by 15 environment and development organisations, Nature-based solutions in action: lessons from the frontline, this session will take participants on an interactive trip around the world as we explore real-life high-quality NbS and how they are changing people’s lives, protecting or restoring nature and driving climate action.
7th — 10th November — The Antigua and Barbuda High Commission will host a business forum following the 40th Anniversary of Independence on 1st November 2021. Contact the High Commission to find out more and register for your place.
9th November — Lessons from the frontline– how can NbS deliver development and climate benefits?The highly interactive session shares evidence on how nature-based solutions (NbS), when done well, can help address those interconnected challenges of climate change, nature loss and rising poverty and inequality. Building on case studies from the ‘frontline’ and engaging with session participants, the session will highlight key ingredients for success and challenges and opportunities for NbS to deliver development and climate benefits on the ground.
10th November — How can local organisations working with nature build and spread resilience? This highly interactive session will demonstrate that local organisational and associational capability is fundamental for nature-based solutions to be sustained through sharing examples around the world supported by The Forests and Farm Facility (FFF). FFF — a partnership steered by FAO, IIED, IUCN and Agricord — now has a track record of providing such catalytic support in a range of countries in Latin America, Africa and South Asia. Participants will be able to learn and discuss evidence from FFF experience in a range of contexts shows that where resilience is increasing it is because local organisational strength and innovation is spreading.
16th November — Department for International Trade (DIT) is hosting a free webinar on Doing business in Singapore. For UK SMEs, Singapore is one of the easiest places in the world to start, run and do business (World Bank, 2019) as both economies have similar business & legal practices and share similar technical standards. Learn more and register here.
7th December — UK Export Finance is hosting their fourth UK Trade and Export Finance Forum. They will return to the QEII Conference Centre in London from 09:00–19:00. This event will look at the role of trade finance in the transition towards clean growth and renewable energy. Learn more and register here.
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