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Working together to rebuild Ukraine

June 2023 update from Wilton Park CEO Tom Cargill.

This week the UK is hosting the second international Ukraine Recovery Conference, bringing together partners around the world to drive forward planning and implementation of work to help Ukraine not only survive but thrive in coming years as a key European power.

Yet to be sustainable, strong economies and militaries require robust governance and oversight, and our event last month on tackling the flow of ‘dirty money’ through the UK is a good reminder that all countries face different challenges.

The ability to reflect and self-criticise offers a powerful advantage to accountable governance systems, and one which authoritarian states simply cannot replicate. But criticism is not enough. How to more effectively articulate and champion the overwhelming benefits of democracy and accountable governance globally, and shape the growing global competition for hearts and minds, is an issue Wilton Park is increasingly focused on.

Driving dirty money out of the UK: beyond the Economic Crime Plan 2

This conference in May brought together senior decision makers from across the key sectors involved in tackling economic crime and intercepting the flow of the proceeds of kleptocracy and corruption through the UK.

It was the first conference facilitated by our newest Programme Director, Aisling Conboy.

The event identified practical ways of maximising the impact of two new Economic Crime Bills and looked ahead to the next generation of reforms, using predictions and hopes for the year 2033 to drive creative thinking. International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell identified bearing down on dirty money as a key priority in his speech at Chatham House in April, and we are pleased to support this aim.

Development and climate change
Ending Sex for Education, Fees, Grades and First Jobs

We’ve continued this month to drive conversation and action on women’s and girls’ rights in support of the FCDO’s 2023 International Women and Girls Strategy.

This event focused on an overlooked global issue where it’s estimated that as many as 50 percent of young women in higher education in Africa are forced to seek older male ‘sponsors’ to cover their education expenses and even more – up to 90% – report being affected by ‘sexually transmitted grades’ – in which teachers require sexual favours for the grades given.

We heard from survivors about the devastating impact this unacceptable abuse of power has had on their lives and the lives of their families. The social, psychological and financial costs are an untold story, affecting the potential of girls and women throughout their life.

Watch out for a report from the event outlining action needed to bring about change on this silent phenomenon which touches millions of young women worldwide.

A new Global Framework on protection from sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment

The 2018 London Safeguarding Summit brought together a wide range of groups to agree actions to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH) in the aid sector.

The outcomes from the Summit have been invaluable. But five years on there is a clear need for all groups involved in the delivery of humanitarian, development and peacekeeping to agree and work towards a refreshed collective vision on protection from SEAH (PSEAH).

Drawing on the experience and expertise of technical experts across the humanitarian, development and peacekeeping sectors, this Wilton Park dialogue discussed a draft Global Framework on PSEAH and explored promotion, implementation and monitoring as well as the resources needed. The first full draft will be made available for global consultation later in 2023 with a view to a 2024 launch.

Energy Transition Council

In May, we hosted the latest ministerial meeting for the Energy Transition Council (ETC), continuing the highly impactful work of an initiative launched during the UK’s Presidency of the UN climate process.

Leaders from ETC partner countries, Egypt, Indonesia, Laos, Morocco, Nigeria, and the US, amongst others, articulated their efforts and ambitions to transform their power sectors, including through increasing and continuing collaboration with the Council. ETC members – governments and institutions – outlined their offer of finance, expertise and assistance contributing to a step-change in the coordination, availability and effectiveness of finance in the power sector and enabling a faster transition to a low-carbon economy in key markets.

Learning Climate: Forging shared solutions in education, environment and climate change

In June 2022 we hosted this meeting with the FCDO and the Global Partnership for Education. Read how three days of discussions at Wilton Park catalysed a year of unprecedented progress in support of countries at the front lines of climate emergency including at the upcoming COP28 hosted by the United Arab Emirates where education will feature as a prominent theme.

Read the blog
Diplomacy and geopolitics
Pathways to safe medicines

Challenges for health commodity supply chain integrity, equitable access and system failures that existed well before the COVID pandemic were accentuated during a period of global crisis and scarcity.

These issues are worsened by the persistent problem of illicit medicines. In lower- and middle-income countries, they represent 1 in 10 medicines. They not only threaten patients’ safety by depriving them of access to medicines and other health products, but they also contribute to antimicrobial resistance and drug-resistant infections.

Exactly ten years after the first Wilton Park dialogue on this issue, building on the work of and supported by the World Bank’s Global Steering Committee for Quality Assurance, this dialogue aimed to reinvigorate coordination in the fight against illicit medicines with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. It critically examined impediments to progress and focalised on building consensus on practical solutions around a transformational course of action at a national, regional, and international level. The dialogue discussed the importance of health commodity traceability for addressing health supply chain integrity as well as multifaceted approaches to combatting illicit medicines, including strengthening cooperation among key stakeholders. This was possible because for the first time national regulatory agencies, public health supply chain, pharmaceutical manufacturers and law enforcement gathered to discuss a common issue.

For Wilton Park, it’s a testament to our commitment to continue dialogue over decades on critical issues.

Supporting survivor leadership

‘Placing survivors at the centre of discussions around preventing conflict-related sexual violence is key to making progress in the field.’

Read Julia Purcell’s blog
Supporting the effective operationalisation and maintenance of the United Nations Secretary General’s Mechanism

The dramatic way that COVID-19 has underlined the catastrophic impact of biological threats, plus the ongoing possibility of non-state actors accessing biological weapons, and recent events such as Russian misinformation over alleged Ukrainian “non-compliance” with the biological weapons treaty, combine to emphasise that a readily-deployable mechanism for investigating suspected deliberate biological attacks is more important than ever. This week we convened our fourth conference in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for such an attack.

Five Partners in a Competitive Age: the evolving geostrategic landscape

In 2023 the Five Eyes finds itself at a pivotal moment.

This Wilton Park dialogue in October marks the first 1.5 track dialogue in the Five Eyes’ eight-decade history, bringing together officials and leading intellectuals to reflect on the challenges and opportunities for the Five Eyes given the new geostrategic reality.

Participants will survey the status and views of the Five Eyes partnership. They will examine the prospects for deeper and more coherent strategic collaboration across geostrategic issues impacting the five countries’ interests.

HMG Futures – identifying capabilities now to win future influence

The Integrated Review Refresh describes a competitive future in which many of the challenges are shared, and the lines between outward and domestic are increasingly blurred.

Across states, companies and societies, what will power look like and what capabilities will enable influence?

This year’s annual Wilton Park Futures event will examine power across military strength, diplomacy, science and technology and economics in the future. Looking to possible futures beyond the focus of most strategies and planning, participants will identify the capabilities states, companies and societies most need to exert influence and the actions needed now to preserve existing and build new capabilities.

This year’s annual Wilton Park Futures event will examine power across military strength, diplomacy, science and technology and economics in the future. Looking to possible futures beyond the focus of most strategies and planning, participants will identify the capabilities states, companies and societies most need to exert influence and the actions needed now to preserve existing and build new capabilities.

A woman is seen in silhouette holding a phone in front of a sign with a logo for OpenAI, an artificial intelligence company.

Artificial intelligence: the time for tech diplomacy is now

Wilton Park Programme Director, Rich Roberts, explores the risks posed by artificial intelligence and why painstaking diplomacy will be key to international governance.

Read more
Economy and trade
Advancing Global Public Investment

At the start of June, Wilton Park and Equal International convened the first of their 2-year series of events to launch their political cocreation initiative to take Global Public Investment from concept to reality.

The group delved into the role of Global Public Investment (GPI) in shaping a Global Common Good Agenda (GCGA), emphasizing its global and public dimensions. First introduced in a previous Wilton Park series to support the development and implementation of a GCGA, GPI has fast gained traction across governments, think tanks and Civil Society Organizations as a fair approach to address global public needs like climate stability, pandemic preparedness and biodiversity. GPI acts a new approach that supplements and adds to ODA, to expand development cooperation beyond national borders and raise more and better money for global outcomes through equitable contribution, needs-based benefits, and inclusive decision-making.

In outlining the need for GPI, the event shaped discourse around global commons, sustainable finance, and international development. The group delved into its financial requirements, navigating the incentives and costs associated with its adoption across different country groups. Participants discussed how to bridge the financial gap for GCGA implementation, guided by the knowledge and expertise of distinguished experts, policymakers and change-makers. To accountably raise and disburse the resources needed to equitably address global challenges, the group reflected on the defining principles of “all benefit, all contribute, all decide”. Focused on partnership, collaboration and advocacy in defining the political landscape for GPI adoption, the group identified the tools, networks and collaborations necessary to secure its place as a discussion topic across inter-governmental fora.

The second dialogue is set to take place at the end of 2023, re-convening the group to reflect on agreed actions taken to forward this revised, politically optimised value proposition.


With its home in the heart of Sussex and networks that span the globe, Wilton Park is the perfect venue for showcasing the region’s best export brands.

This July we will host the third SussExport, a unique event supporting local businesses that have their sights on global trade.

SussExport brings together local companies with senior participants from the Department for Business and Trade and Sussex brands that have successfully reached global markets. Participants will benefit from targeted advice on how and where to expand their exports, along with presentations and experiences from some of the regions’ leading businesses.

This year’s event will consider what Sussex has to offer the rest of the world, from the maritime sector to agriculture, horticulture and tourism and a growing digital and technological industry. Business and government leaders will discuss what the region’s businesses need in order to succeed internationally, and what they are already doing to create an environment for a better Sussex.

Looking ahead
Ambassadorial Summit

Next week, Wilton Park will host its inaugural Ambassadorial Summit bringing together Ambassadors and High Commissioners to the UK from a range of countries, alongside foreign policy experts and politicians.

Discussion will centre around UK foreign policy with a focus on likely challenges and opportunities within the next five years. This annual summit will seek to provide a convening point for more effective information sharing, coordination and action to address our biggest global challenges.

A person raising their hand at a Wilton Park event

Upcoming events

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