The appalling violence in Syria has left millions of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The UK is a leading donor in the humanitarian response. To date we have committed £500 million in humanitarian funding. This is providing support, such as food, shelter, medical care and clean drinking water, for hundreds of thousands of people affected by the conflict, both inside Syria and for refugees. Learn more ›
Incentivizing Innovation in #Development
By Andrew Preston, Development Counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington.
I’ve been getting into Twitter in the last couple of weeks. I know I’m only five years later than everyone else, but I’m loving the new insights and the quirkiness of it all. Two things were “trending” on my Twitter timeline recently that, seemingly unrelated, made me reflect on the incentives shaping donor effectiveness.
The Global Development Lab
First, USAID launched its Global Development Lab (#GlobalDevLab). This happened with much fanfare, including an event with Secretary Clinton (and a gazillion tweets!). There’s good coverage in Nature, the Guardian, Time, and DEVEX.
A HT (that’s ‘hat tip’ for Twitter newbies like me) to @RajShah for establishing this. Arguably, it represents the culmination of his vision and priorities over the last three years. It encapsulates his focus on science, evidence and innovation. It embodies his focus on “open source development,” encouraging USAID to engage with a much broader range of development actors, including universities, students, civil society organizations, the private sector, and other stakeholders across the world. The lab’s stated purpose is “to discover, test, and scale breakthrough development innovations to solve development challenges faster and cheaper in support of US foreign policy and development goals and to accelerate the transformation of USAID as the world’s premier development agency.”
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 10-13 June 2014 at ExCeL London will be the largest gathering ever brought together on this subject. Foreign Secretary William Hague will co-chair the summit with Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
All the governments that have endorsed the UN Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict will be invited, as will legal, military and judicial practitioners and representatives from multilateral organisations, NGOs and civil society.
The Summit aims to create irreversible momentum against sexual violence in conflict and deliver practical action that impacts those on the ground. Read more about the aims of the Summit ›
Today is the 102nd anniversary of Titanic’s maiden voyage tragedy
On 14 April 1912 at 11.40pm the Titanic collided with an iceberg. The impact caused underwater damaged to the ships first six compartments, the first five flooding out of control.
Learn more at TitanicBelfast.com ›
HMS Illustrious, the Royal Navy’s high-readiness helicopter and commando carrier, has been taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior this week, operating off the coast of the UK. The picture shows Royal Marines from 40 Commando moving from the ship’s cavernous hangar up to the flight deck to be projected ashore via Sea King helicopters from 845 Naval Air Squadron and RAF Chinooks.
The exercise, which began on 25 March, engages more than 35 warships, 25 different types of aircraft, and personnel from the various participating nations, which include the UK, USA, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France, Holland and Denmark.
Photo by Leading Airman Will Haigh, Crown copyright
The UK government is gravely concerned about the situation in Crimea and in the east of Ukraine, where armed groups seized government buildings in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk. There can be no justification for this action, which bears all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilise Ukraine. Russia should be clear that a deliberate and further escalation of the crisis will bring serious political and economic consequences. I commend the Ukrainian Government for their clear and determined response so far.
The European Council has asked the Commission to draw up far reaching sanctions in the event of further escalation by Russia. It is alarming that President Putin has already sought authority to send armed forces into any part of Ukraine. Russia should be clear that the UK will consider any armed Russian presence in eastern Ukraine as a further and deliberate escalation.
We will be assessing events in eastern Ukraine carefully over the coming days. The strength and unity of the EU is vital for upholding a rules-based international system, and the Prime Minister and I have stressed to European partners the need to accelerate measures that will reduce European dependence on Russian gas. We are also convening an urgent meeting of G7 energy Ministers to discuss energy security ahead of the G7 Summit in June.
Foreign Secretary William Hague speaking after answering questions on Ukraine in the House of Commons.