London: The British Academy has published a report presenting new evidence that persistent deficits in foreign language skills within Government threaten the UK's future security and capacity for global influence. Lost for Words: the need for languages in UK diplomacy and security, reveals that in today's radically different landscape of international engagement and security, language skills are essential for effective security and diplomacy. The new report draws on evidence from government departments and agencies, higher education institutions and key experts to provide an overview of current language capacity within government which meets UK public policy objectives in the areas of international relations and security.
Chair: Good morning, Secretary of State, and welcome once again to a session of the International Development Committee. Thank you also for agreeing to do this in two parts: a relatively short focus on the South African decision; and then obviously the main consideration of the future of development finance, in particular.
Cape Town: Welcome to the briefing on the outcomes of the Strategic Consultations held this morning with my British counterpart, Foreign Secretary William Hague. The Foreign Secretary is accompanied by a high-profile delegation including the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Minister for Universities and Science, and the Minister for Africa - all of whom had fruitful discussions with their counterparts.
Johannesburg: Frustrated by Britain's apparent reluctance to lift its visa requirements for South Africans, government is considering playing tit-for-tat and demanding the same from UK visitors. This comes against the backdrop of the British government’s decision to halt development aid to South Africa worth £19m (R271m) from 2015. Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor told MPs that there had been "no movement" after talks between the two nations.
This week's announcement by the UK government that it will end development assistance to South Africa in 2015 has generated much debate. SAFPI has collated SA government reactions to the announcement and and commentaries by, amongst others, Peter Hain, Lawrence Haddad and Jonathan Glennie and Siân Herbert.
London: The issue of Scottish independence is one that rightly excites passions in people of all political persuasions. As we noted in our introduction, we were pleased that the Scottish Government agreed to engage with our inquiry and to assist us in our deliberations, with a view to helping us better understand more about what foreign policy the RUK's nearest new neighbour would follow in the event of a Yes vote in the referendum on independence to be held in September 2014. Over the course of our inquiry it became evident that little over a year before the referendum, much detail and clarity on key aspects of a future Scottish foreign policy remains absent.
London: The international "Friends of Zimbabwe" group met in London on 26 March 2013. Members representing international donor countries discussed a range of issues relating to Zimbabwe's coming elections and potential future cooperation. The group also welcomed participation from Ministers representing all parties of Zimbabwe's Inclusive Government as well as representatives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and civil society groups. A communique, see below, was issued after the meeting.
London: In 2013 the Department for International Development (DFID) will receive its largest budget increase yet as spending on Official Development Assistance rises from 0.56% to 0.7% of GNI. DFID does much good work and enjoys a high international reputation, but it faces a major challenge in ensuring it can spend the large increase in funds cost effectively while its administrative costs are declining.
London: Kicking off Britain's presidency of the G8, David Cameron assured us that he has demanded bold steps and ambitious targets from fellow leaders of the world's wealthy nations. Before examining what these are, remember the last time Britain hosted a G8 meeting, which was also held at a golf club like the planned summit at Lough Erne in June. Tony Blair started Gleneagles in 2005 brimming with confidence. It seems a world away now, but those at the top table still thought they could master climate change and debt relief.