Dear Members and Friends,
In the course of preparing some thoughts for a presentation this week, I reflected on the first half of this year. Although much of the experience in the last six months has been defined by the pandemic, we continue to see a growing positive outlook on an international stage as countries look to build back better from its impact.
Our members have benefited from the productive engagements with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and other key stakeholders as the need for resilient physical infrastructure is ever greater, and countries are in parallel investing in their social infrastructure — in particular reshaping both their education and healthcare provisions to prepare for a post COVID world.
As the merged Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) department continues with the internal transformation, we look forward to greater engagement as our members continue to deliver great impact and value for money in all programmes. As the next Spending Review for 2022 and beyond is in progress and new strategies are prepared aligned to the new global challenges and priorities outlined by the Foreign Secretary — we look forward to opportunities, through constructive consultation, to contribute to the thinking, leveraging our members’ extensive experience and capabilities.
For our own part, we have hosted just over 60 events so far this year — spanning all geographies and sectors, and all conducted virtually. We have also seen a healthy membership growth and to-date we have added some 10% to our member base. Thank you to our members and our networks for your continued engagement and my team for adapting to and dealing with the many challenges, including covid related issues, so calmly over this period.
We had a full week as we continued with our ‘Trade Envoys Series’ with Richard Graham MP, PM’s Trade Envoy for ASEAN Economic Community, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. It has been great to hear the Trade Envoys’ enthusiasm to support UK businesses as they work in these international markets. Richard Graham emphasised the richness of opportunities in the ASEAN region. There is also a demand for a consortia of UK expertise that can clearly demonstrate the UK’s offer to potential business partners in the region. We continue the series next week as we host Andrew Selous MP, PM’s Trade Envoy for South Africa on 15th July.
We also hosted the ICAI team for a presentation and feedback session exploring UK aid alignment with the Paris Agreement ahead of a pending rapid review. ICAI Chief Commissioner Tamsyn Barton and her team engaged in discussion and got feedback from members around the UK’s approach to aligning Aid with the Paris Agreement, and the challenges around measuring alignment across countries and nations.
The Safeguarding Leads Network hosted an interactive webinar on Survivor-Centred Approaches, offering time and space for participants to explore the difficult issues through facilitated discussion.
This week we also explored our plans and approach to showcase the UK’s expertise in Infrastructure during a meeting of the BEI Infrastructure Working Group.
Finally, I joined the Infrastructure Exports UK Board meeting yesterday and it was great to see continued progress and growing opportunities for leveraging G2G engagement in support of UK businesses. Effectively articulating the UK offering in its broadest sense will ensure that we are able to offer comprehensive and cohesive UK solutions.
Next week, in addition to the round table with Andrew Selous MP on 15th July, we will also be hosting the following events:
On Tuesday 13th July we will hear from members of the LearnAdapt team on their work with DFID/FCDO on adaptive programming in international development, and reflections on the future of adaptive programming in a rapidly changing environment.
On Wednesday 14th July Teju Akande, International Trade Advisor will share insights on the recent publication: UK Business Guide to achieving Net Zero. The report provides essential guidelines for businesses on how to incorporate sustainability values into their business models and reduce their carbon footprint.
Later on Wednesday, Sam Hughes and Ian Mitchell from the Center for Global Development in Europe will share headline findings of the QuODA 2021 publication which assesses the largest providers of development cooperation on four dimensions of quality and what progress has been made 10 years after the Busan Agreement on effective development cooperation. You can see more details and register here: The Quality of Official Development Assistance– Aid Effectiveness isn’t Dead Yet.
I am also pleased to let you know that our gallery, D-Contemporary this week opened their summer exhibition ‘Threshold’. It sees 36 artists come together to display their works over two floors of 23 Grafton Street in an explosion of creativity. It will be open until 22nd August 2021, and would encourage you to pop in and enjoy the variety of great works on display.
Finally, I would like to wish Gareth Southgate and the England team the very best of luck in the Final on Sunday — although I am not sure my nerves will be able to cope with a close game, or even extra time and penalties.
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
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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*.
13th July — Adaptive Management in Development Programmes
14th July — UK Business Guide to Net Zero
20th July — Brazil Deep Dive
21st July — Climate Change Working Group
27th July — Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
7th September — Closed Roundtable Discussion with Heather Wheeler MP
External News & Events
13th July — The Saudi-British Joint Business Council is hosting a UK/Saudi Sustainable Investment Forum at Mansion House in London with investors, government representatives and business leaders. Registration is now open, please follow this link to secure your place.
13th — 16th July — The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will deliver an interactive online course on Spatial Analysis in QGIS and R — An Introduction for Environmental Scientists.
Public Administration Services offers capacity development and training promoting good governance and good practice in delivering public services.
20th July — The Expert Working Group on Global Public Investment is launching a Global Consultation which will run from July to October. At the launch they will present a Progress Report and you will hear more about their latest thinking on GPI and how to engage. There will be three sessions in July for different time zones, including one in Spanish. Follow this link to read more.
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