Category Archives: Asia

Green Finance Towards A Sustainable Philippines

The UK Government in partnership with the Philippine Government is convening a Forum on “Green Finance Towards a Sustainable Philippines” on 17 January 2019

Green Finance Towards a Sustainable Philippines

Green Finance Towards a Sustainable Philippines

The UK Government through the British Embassy Manila, in partnership with the Philippines’ Department of Finance (DOF), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and Climate Change Commission (CCC) is convening a Forum on “Green Finance Towards a Sustainable Philippines” on 17 January 2019 at BSP.

The Forum aims to serve as platform for harnessing and building on the rapidly increasing interest in climate funding and development of new markets for green finance to support and accelerate green investments and projects in the Philippines. The forum will focus on four themes, namely: Setting the Context of Green Finance, Financial instruments, Philippine Experience on Green Finance, and Available Financing Facilities for Green Investments. The discussions and presentations in these sessions are geared toward (i) understanding foundational requirements to better define and scale-up green finance in the Philippines; (ii) presenting available green instruments in the Philippines and globally; (iii) showcasing the Philippines experience on green finance; (iv) learning about the available financing facilities that supports and promotes green investments; and (v) encouraging collaboration among government and private sectors in promoting and accelerating green finance in the country.

The forum will be attended by the UK Ambassador Daniel Pruce, Secretary Carlos Dominguez III of DOF, Secretary Benjamin Diokno of DBM and senior officials from government, financial institutions, private sector, civil society organisation, research institution and academe.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said:

As a global leader in green finance through the City of London, the UK recognises the need to bring together existing capabilities, create new business opportunities, and communicate to the wider market what London’s offer is in green finance. The UK government is committed to working and building stronger collaboration with countries such as the Philippines as they seek to make the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable economy.

Distinguished speakers from UK institutions such as Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Green Investment Group, Climate Bonds Initiative, HSBC, and Standard Chartered will participate in the Forum. Philippine government representatives including development partners and institutions working on the green finance space are also invited to share experiences and initiatives on green finance.

The strong partnership of the UK with Philippine government on green finance is a testament to the UK’s steadfast support for transitioning to a low-carbon pathway and addressing climate issues. We hope this green finance forum can serve as a springboard for increased collaboration between the UK and Philippine government, with the ultimate goal of transitioning to low carbon, sustainable future.

About 150 representatives including media are expected to participate in this event.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Foreign Secretary Hunt Visits Malaysia As Part Of First Overseas Trip In 2019

Jeremy Hunt holds talks in Kuala Lumpur and pledges UK support for media freedom in Malaysia

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

As part of a three-day visit to Asia, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will hold bilateral talks with the Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah today (3 January) and reiterate the UK’s support for the new government’s reform agenda. Both ministers are due to discuss close cooperation on foreign policy issues including the UK’s relationship with ASEAN and action to support Rohingya refugees.

The Foreign Secretary will also hold meetings with the Malaysian Minister of Communications & Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo and media practitioners to discuss strengthening media freedom and combatting disinformation.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

The UK is leading international efforts to support and protect media freedoms. At a time when these freedoms are increasingly under threat across the world, I applaud the new Malaysian government for the positive commitments and early steps it has taken. Lifting travel bans on journalists and moving to repeal laws that restrict media freedom demonstrate an intent to support journalists in their vital work and foster a free press.

Later this year I will be hosting an international conference in London on media freedom, which will bring together countries like Malaysia, and mobilise consensus behind the protection of journalists and the environment they operate in.

At the meetings, the Foreign Secretary will offer the UK’s support, through the sharing of experience and expertise to help upskill the Malaysian media and announce that the UK will deliver a programme for Malaysian journalists focusing on investigative journalism.

While in Kuala Lumpur the Foreign Secretary is also expected to call on the Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and will attend a roundtable with businesses.

Tsunami In West Java And Southern Sumatra, Indonesia

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States conveys our deepest condolences for the loss of life and destruction from the tsunami that struck West Java and southern Sumatra, Indonesia, on December 22. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in close communication with Indonesian authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those in Indonesia affected by the natural disaster. We are currently not aware of any U.S. citizens directly affected, but stand ready to assist as needed.

UK Medical Support To Largest UN Peacekeeping Mission In South Sudan Continues After Hospital Handover To Vietnam

Medical personnel from all 3 services contribute to the success of Op Trenton; the Vietnamese will continue support to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter. Image Crown copyright

Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter. Image Crown copyright

As one of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, the UK has demonstrated its commitment to international security within the United Nations (UN) since its inception in 1945. Financially, the UK is the sixth-largest contributor to both the regular and peacekeeping budget. In 2015, the Strategic Defence and Security Review saw the Prime Ministers intent to double the number of military personnel that the UK contributes to UN PKO met; South Sudan being the mission of choice.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) commenced in 2011 when they declared independence, and is now the largest peacekeeping mission, with over 14,000 contingent troops from 65 countries . Providing medical care over a country 3 times the size of the UK is challenging, with large areas of swamps, armed clashes and a substantial wet season.

UNMISS currently has 40 Level 1 Clinics (29 Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) provided; 11 UN provided), 8 Forward Medical Teams and 8 casualty evacuation/medical evacuation (CASEVAC/MEDEVAC) helicopters for urgent aeromedical evacuation. UNMISS has 5 Level 2 hospitals across South Sudan, with Level 3 hospitals for further specialist care in Entebbe with a dedicated fixed wing aeromedical aircraft available; the Level 4 hospital for the mission is in Nairobi.

In 2017, Operation Tenton commenced with the deployment of a UK engineering task force across two sites; Bentiu and Malakal along with the supporting medical footprint for UNMISS. On arrival, the UK erected a tented Level 2 hospital in Bentiu from a bare patch of scrubland prior to the UK engineers being tasked to build a hardstanding Level 2 hospital in close vicinity which is due to be completed in Dec 2018.

The UK medical deployment for the Level 2 hospital was unprecedented in its roulement; Army deployed and set-up the tented capability, Royal Navy developed the capability before handing over to the RAF to manage and mentor the Vietnamese through the successful transition. This is the first time that a UN hospital has had unbroken clinical cover; the UN have formally recognised this transition as best practice, with other Troop Contributing Countries being encouraged to follow suit .

The relationship between the UK and Vietnam has grown over 2 years as the UK provided an ‘Advise, Assist and Mentor’ package as the Vietnamese prepared for their first ever peacekeeping mission. America and Australia have also provided supporting roles, celebrating the international effort, Vietnamese medics, trained by the UK, using American equipment, flown in by the Australians. This deployment epitomises what can be achieved through defence engagement with new and old partners alike, to fulfil a UK goal to get more nations involved in UN peacekeeping. The Vietnamese officially took command of the Level 2 Hospital in Bentiu on 27 October 2018.

In wider support to UNMISS, 8 UK Staff Officers (SO) are deployed under the Op VOGUL banner. One of the SO positions is the Deputy Force Medical Officer (DFMO) based at the Level 2+ Hospital in Juba. The DFMO post will endure until 2020, which will see the position held by a doctor from all 3 UK Services for a tour length of 9 months each.

The current DFMO, Wg Cdr Adam Manson, has described the role as monitoring and co-ordinating all the Level 1 and 2 facilities, improving the health of the force through education, clinical advice, facility inspections and hygiene inspections to allow the force to implement the mandate for UNMISS.

Force Medical also co-ordinate CASEVAC/MEDEVACs to ensure patients are moved in a timely fashion with the right level of escort to the right medical facility. Having a UK doctor as the DFMO has already reaped huge benefits from within the UN, not only to ensure the required standard of care for UK personnel deployed, but also through the soft power of medical to relationship build with other TCCs to open avenues for defence engagement to support both the Global Britain and prosperity agendas.

The DFMO highlights that the UN provides a unique working environment with every day being different with the challenges of language, culture and communication. He highlights that it is culturally fascinating working day to day with a Chinese Lieutenant Colonel, Major Staff Officers from Rwanda and Sri Lanka and a Marine Warrant Officer from Bangladesh. Living in a UN camp with a mixture of civilian and military personnel brings a real sense of unity and friendship, whether it is undertaking exercise, over lunch or even when catching lifts for the 30-minute drive across Juba between the two main UN camps.

The roles within the UN Mission are varied and often the result of the ground-realities; a third of the 12 million population of South Sudan are displaced, either internally or as refugees in external countries, with children often suffering the most. A memorable day for UK personnel in Juba was the cleaning of a local orphanage which is home to 50 orphans ranging in age from several months old up.

Over 60 UNMISS personnel got together and between them rooms were emptied, cleaned and tidied, food stores were emptied and rats removed, the teaching room was organised and dormitories and eating areas were cleaned and disinfected. Swings were repaired and grass areas cut to allow for vegetable patches and new play areas.

The UK support to UNMISS continues until 2020 with the engineers on Op TRENTON and Staff Officers on Op VOGUL. The small numbers of UK personnel have not only greatly assisted the mission to implement the mandate but each individual has found it personally rewarding and seen actual results to improve the lives and relieve the suffering of the South Sudanese population. With new peace efforts ongoing it is hoped these may result in a longstanding solution and allow the country to prosper in the future.

Vital Action Taken In Fight Against Modern Slavery

UK and Vietnam announce partnership to tackle modern slavery

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP

The UK and Vietnam have announced a new partnership to tackle modern slavery.

The 2 countries today (Wednesday 21 November) signed a memorandum of understanding on human trafficking that will allow for greater collaboration around intelligence sharing, supporting victims and prevention work.

Many victims of modern slavery in the UK originally come from Vietnam.

In 2017 alone, UK authorities identified 738 potential slavery victims from the South East Asian country.

Speaking after signing the agreement with his counterpart Senior Lieutenant General To Lam, the Vietnamese Minister for Public Security, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Modern slavery is an appalling crime which destroys the lives of its victims. This government is committed to doing everything we can to protect people from being exploited in the UK and overseas.

Working in partnership with other nations, such as Vietnam where many victims are trafficked from, is absolutely vital in preventing modern slavery from taking place and being able to relentlessly pursue the perpetrators.

This close collaboration will be a powerful weapon in the fight against modern slavery.

The agreement is part of the UK’s world-leading action to tackle modern slavery, which includes requiring employers to set out how they are tackling exploitation in their supply chains, action taken against offenders and increased support for potential victims of modern slavery.

In total, £200 million of UK aid funding has been committed by the government to tackle modern slavery across the globe.

This includes the Home Office’s £33.5 million modern slavery fund, which is focused on countries from where a high number of victims are trafficked to the UK, such as Vietnam and Nigeria.

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