Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee

02/02/2022

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies
Carolyn Thomas
Delyth Jewell Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Hefin David
Heledd Fychan
Tom Giffard

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Ben Lloyd Cyngor Gweithredu Gwirfoddol Cymru
Welsh Council for Voluntary Action
Berwyn Davies Addysg Uwch Cymru Brwsel
Welsh Higher Education Brussels
Charles Whitmore Canolfan Llywodraethiant Cymru
Wales Governance Centre
Claire O'Shea Grŵp Asiantaethau Tramor Cymru
Wales Overseas Agencies Group
Eluned Haf Celfyddydau Rhyngwladol Cymru
Wales Arts International
Jenny Scott British Council Cymru
British Council Wales
Noel Mooney Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru
Football Association of Wales
Siân Lewis Urdd Gobaith Cymru
Urdd Gobaith Cymru
Susie Ventris-Field Canolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru
Welsh Centre for International Affairs
Zara May Global Welsh
Global Welsh

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Lleu Williams Clerc
Clerk
Osian Bowyer Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Rhun Davies Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Robin Wilkinson Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Samiwel Davies Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Sara Moran Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Tanwen Summers Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30. 

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30.  

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da. Dyma estyn croeso i'r Aelodau i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 34.19, rwyf wedi penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o gyfarfod y pwyllgor er mwyn diogelu iechyd y cyhoedd. Bydd y cyfarfod hwn yn cael ei ddarlledu yn fyw ar Senedd.tv. A oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan, plîs? Na, dwi ddim yn gweld. Ocê. 

Good morning, everyone. Welcome, Members, to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I have determined that the public are excluded from attending the committee's meeting in order to protect public health. The meeting will be broadcast live on Senedd.tv. Are there any declarations of interest from Members, please? I see there are none. 

2. Ymchwiliad undydd i Gysylltiadau Rhyngwladol: Cymry ar wasgar a rhyngwladol
2. One day inquiry on International Relations: Diaspora and international

Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen yn syth felly at eitem 2, sef ymchwiliad undydd i gysylltiadau rhyngwladol: Cymry ar wasgar a rhyngwladol. A gaf i estyn croeso i'n tystion bore yma? A gaf i ofyn ichi, plîs, i gyflwyno eich hunain ar gyfer y record? Fe wnawn ni ddod at Susie yn gyntaf. 

We'll move straight on to item 2 this morning, which is our one day inquiry on international relations: diaspora and international. May I extend a very warm welcome to our witnesses this morning? May I ask you to introduce yourselves for the record, please? We'll come to Susie first. 

Hi. I'm Susie Ventris-Field, and I'm chief executive for the Welsh Centre for International Affairs. 

Hi. I'm Claire O'Shea, and I'm here as chair of Wales Overseas Agencies Group.  

Hi. I'm Zara May, and I am head of community and operations at Global Welsh. 

Ffantastig. Wel, mae'n lyfli cael y tair ohonoch chi gyda ni bore yma. Fe wnaf i symud yn syth mewn at y cwestiwn cyntaf felly. Mae hwn yn faes eang iawn, yn amlwg yn faes pwysig. Ble rydych chi'n meddwl gall y pwyllgor gael yr effaith fwyaf yn y maes yma dros y pum mlynedd nesaf, os gwelwch yn dda? Fe wnaf fynd at—. Os ydych eisiau gwneud hyn pan ydych chi eisiau siarad, gallaf weld. Pwy bynnag sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf—. Dŷch chi i gyd yn—. 

Fantastic. Well, it's lovely to have the three of you with us this morning. I'll go straight into questions, if that's okay. This is a very wide-ranging topic, and an important one. Where do you believe that the committee could have the most impact in this field over the next five years, please? I'll go to—. If you do want to raise your hand, if you want to contribute, please do so. Who wants to go first? You're all desperate—.

I'm unmuted, so I can go first. It's possibly quite a wide-ranging response, so interrupt, or if you have follow-up questions that's fine. I guess the big picture for us is to make sure that international relations is rooted and based on the principles of the well-being goals, and, in particular, the globally responsible Wales goal. So, that means thinking about not just global responsibility in relation to areas such as Wales in Africa, but also in relation to sport, culture, art, trade, investment, all of those areas, and so thinking through how we can embed trade justice in those areas, making sure that the globally responsible Wales goal is properly understood—there are better milestones and indicators in place now for that goal, but making sure that those are measured quickly, and that's implemented. And also making sure that the same regard as we have in the international development and global solidarity sector is paid to issues such as safeguarding, human rights, due diligence, an understanding of power dynamics, in the implementation of international relations across the board.

I think the second area that's going to be really important—. In general, we know that an understanding of global citizenship in lifelong learning is really important across the board for engaging internationally, and the new—I think the name has been launched today—Taith programme, the replacement for Erasmus+ in Wales, is going to be a really key part both of developing global citizenship skills, but also as part of Wales's international relations. It's a big and important investment for Wales. We really value that scheme being launched in the sector, but also we're very keen that it's well scrutinised. It's a big investment. We need to make sure it both reaches all of the people in Wales who will benefit most—so, that does mean university students, but also those across the youth work sector, across schools, particularly those who might not otherwise have the opportunities—but also that the scheme is delivered in such a way that those elements I mentioned previously, those values of global responsibility, are really embedded in those international relations, so Wales gets a positive and strong reputation in the world, and also that those people coming back here on reciprocal visits feel welcomed and feel able to engage. 

Just a couple of other points, then. I think one issue that we need to be aware of is just the retention of key expertise in the international sector in Wales. The third sector is really integral to delivering across the international relations portfolio. The third sector gets quite a lot of support from the Welsh Government in these areas, which is welcome—programmes like Taith, Wales and Africa—but it's also important that as these grants are awarded and contracts are awarded, there's understanding of inflation-based pay rises. It's possible to retain staff in the third sector by making sure we're able to compete on a salary basis, but also offering those cost-of-living increases for team members across the sector.

One of the points I just wanted to raise as well is to make sure that the diversity of people in Wales is reflected in our international relations—so, the materials and delegations and people who are involved in that. A key part of that—. I know Zara will talk about the Welsh diaspora globally, but we also need to remember there's a fantastic diaspora population here in Wales—people from all over the world who can be involved in that international relations effort and should certainly be included.

09:35

Thank you so much, Susie. Zara and Claire, if I could ask you—because I know that Susie has set out a lot of broad points, which is really, really helpful for us—are there any brief things that you'd like to add to those? If you think that Susie has covered everythering, that's absolutely fine too, but is there's anything briefly where you think, 'Oh gosh', that you'd like to add?

Nothing too much. Susie covered quite a lot of ground there, but we're also wanting to scrutinise the relationship between Welsh Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office—so, the linkage between our development programme at UK level and in Wales. It's not a devolved matter, but we want to make sure that we're able to exercise power in that area and deliver what we want to deliver as part of a globally responsible Wales.

We're also concerned about the international strategy. It was designed without indigenous people in the countries that we work with participating in that work, which, for us, is an important principle in terms of designing a strategy that works for the countries that we're operating in in a development capacity. And also, the most important thing, I suppose, in terms of the programme for government, is the social procurement and partnership Bill. Globally responsible and international issues were fairly absent from that, so we really want to drive that forward and give a much greater depth of understanding on what the Welsh Government can do to ensure we're not just looking at sustainable development in a domestic setting, but we're looking at sustainable development globally as well.

Okay. That's great. Thank you so much. Zara, was there anything that you wanted to add briefly? I'm sorry to—

No, I understand. It's fine. I just basically want to say that, obviously, our priority is engaging the disapora, who are our biggest fans and biggest advocates out there in the wider world. So, our priority really is to enable ourselves to position Wales as a destination worthy of their relocation or their investment. So, that's our focus for that question.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Heledd Fychan.

Thank you very much. We'll move on to Heledd Fychan.

Diolch yn fawr iawn a bore da.

Thank you very much and good morning.

I just want to ask you—. You've touched upon this, especially Susie in your response, but how do you feel that your engagement across Welsh Government is working, across all of the portfolios? Do you think there are ways that this could be improved? I'm not sure who wants to jump in on that one.

Could I jump in? I would say we've been really, really pleasantly surprised by our work with Welsh Government and our engagement so far over the last year and a bit. I think the team is really great that we've been working with—a shout out to Geraint, in particular, and Darryn in the inward investment team. So, yes, from our perspective, I think, a really, really good experience so far and long may it continue.

If I can come in just briefly. To echo a positive message, I think we felt that there have been really good opportunities to engage with Welsh Government Ministers through the TSPC—third sector partnership council—relationship and also to engage with civil servants as well. But I'd also reflect that, in some parts of the sector, particularly at a more local level, there are occasions where communities can feel frustrated that they don't feel as engaged or don't have the same opportunities, partly because there's not a lot of time for them to engage, and they're often expected to read quite lengthy documents and respond in that way. So, there is a drive particularly around climate action, but also around other areas, for communities to have more creative ways to engage that aren't so time consuming. I think there have been lots of positive opportunities, but there are still some areas where that could be better.

09:40

From the perspective of the Wales Overseas Agencies Group, we tend to engage with the Welsh Government on an issue-by-issue basis, so we consult our Members and then we write on specific issues. In the last year or so, we've met with Ministers on the people's vaccine, so ensuring Wales is playing its part in equitable vaccine delivery, and prior to that, just before COVID, potentially, we met about the need for climate refugee status, when talking about the nation of sanctuary and things, and what the climate crisis might mean for the countries that we work with.

I think probably from our perspective as an alliance of organisations, there isn't a Minister responsible for international, so we engage on a social justice level, which is important, and we do want to see development as a social justice issue, for sure. But lots of our issues actually are much broader than just social justice—so, you know, climate change, procurement, economy. When we participate via Susie on the third sector partnership council, obviously, domestic issues are really pressing, and when you're working through that channel, sometimes it can be difficult to get international and global issues up the agenda when contact is limited. But it's again positive in that we've had good engagement on specific issues that the Wales Overseas Agencies Group have been concerned with.

Thank you. Just picking up on your point, Claire, do you think there was a greater focus when there was a dedicated Minister with international as a title? Did you see a difference during that time, and has there been a difference since then?

It was helpful for us, particularly because the Minister developed the international strategy at the time, so lots of attention was given to international. Obviously, having an international Minister at the third sector partnership council really helped, because lots of the organisations that I work with at WOAG are kind of the big international non-governmental organisations—so, it's the Disasters Emergency Committee, Oxfam, Save the Children, and those kinds of organisations that don't automatically get wrapped up in the Wales charitable sector that WCVA and other organisations work with. So, it was definitely easier with the international Minister, but the social justice Minister is giving attention to the issues we're bringing on an ad hoc basis.

Thank you. I don't know, Susie, if you've got anything to add to that, or if I can move onto the next question.

Just very briefly, I think that there were definitely advantages in having a Minister in the sense that it gave an easy point of contact and actually gave profile to international. On the other hand, many of the issues are cross-portfolio, and it is good to see those international issues being embedded across the different ministerial portfolios. But it does take more effort on behalf of the international sector to make sure those global and international issues are reflected in those meetings. So, it's a mixed picture, I think.

Thank you. Zara, is there anything you wish to add, or—?

Not for this one.

That's fine. Thank you. You've touched upon this as well, but is there anything else you'd like to emphasise in terms of whether any potential additional support is needed from Welsh Government to support your work? You've mentioned some things around inflationary pay, but are there other things that Welsh Government could be doing that would help?

Sorry, I just jumped in there to say that, from our perspective, similar to what Susie said, actually, the international sector in Wales has had a particularly difficult couple of years. Not only have we seen challenge as a result of COVID, long-term furlough of staff members, and that kind of issue, we've also seen the impact of the cut to the 0.7 per cent overseas official development assistance budget, which had a significant impact on many organisations in the sector, which has really impacted our ability to work with partners in Africa and obviously other countries as well. So, I'd echo Susie's comments on that budget, but specifically, the Wales and Africa budget, I think, has been static for around five years, potentially, which does mean you feel like you're trying to do more, but you're doing it with less, and that's quite difficult, particularly during COVID where there have been more expectations of us.

09:45

If I could just come in, I think it's particularly important there, and I think it's going to be particularly important on the Taith programme. We've really welcomed more of a commitment from Welsh Government to longer term grant funding—so, two or three or four-year funding. That's very welcome. But within that is required a real need for flexibility in funding. As we work online, staffing is by far the biggest cost, as compared to activity cost, so it's the ability to shift money around within budgets, but also the ability to offer that inflation-based pay increase. And thinking about the Taith programme as it's implemented, it's important that those small organisations, particularly the very small youth sector organisations and others in the sector who want to get involved in these international programmes, are able to cover the full costs of their staff time to implement those to make sure they're done effectively and with all the due regard to issues like safeguarding that I mentioned earlier.

We have to move on now. Zara, was there anything very briefly that you wanted to add to that? No. That's great.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Heledd. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom Giffard.

Thank you very much, Heledd. We'll move on to Tom Giffard.

Diolch, Delyth. I'm just keen to get an understanding of, when working abroad, what level of engagement you all have with the Welsh Government's overseas offices. What assessment do you make of them?

Do you want me to start? Since we've been working with the Welsh Government, we've had a really good level of engagement with the local offices. Obviously, they differ from country to country, but our local representatives have managed to build some really good relationships, specifically in Beijing, Tokyo and Germany. So, yes, we've had a good experience. I think the communication has sometimes gone a little bit stagnant, but on the whole, it's been a good experience. I think we're starting to work more collaboratively with them now as we give them more access to our community on the Connect platform, which you probably don't know about because I haven't explained that yet. But, yes, it's been a good experience so far.

At Wales Overseas Agencies Group, we don't generally don't work with overseas offices, simply because they don't exist in the countries that we tend to focus on—so, Lesotho and Uganda, to name two, but obviously the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. So, we don't really access them, but then we can access Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office offices overseas, and I know they also take a Welsh interest. So, that's where our relationships are.

We also don't have a huge engagement with the offices, but we try to signpost to contacts and make the links between Welsh offices and partners we have overseas. But I wouldn't be able to comment much more on that area.

Okay. Thank you so much. Tom, was there anything else you wanted to ask on that, or are you happy?

No, that's fine. Thank you.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Hefin David.

Thank you very much. We'll move on to Hefin David.

Sorry, I've just unmuted and muted myself. I just want to take a step back to something that was said earlier with regard to ministerial responsibility. I understand the First Minister has taken responsibility directly for international strategy. Has that not given the whole issue a higher level of emphasis, or are you actually saying that it's had the opposite effect and has reduced the amount of civil service power behind international strategy? Anybody who wants to can go first, I don't mind at all. Please don't feel you have to be diplomatic.

I was hesitant because it's a slightly difficult question to answer. I think, in a sense—

They are the best questions. In a sense, I think, in theory, it would enhance the profile. We're certainly aware that the First Minister cares very much about these things, and Claire might be able to comment around issues like the people's vaccine, but, I think, inevitably, he has a huge focus right now on, for example, the COVID response and recovery after COVID. So, particularly in the midst of this situation, of course his attentions are directed that way. Inevitably, it is easier to get, for example, third sector partnership council and other meetings with other Ministers than it is to access time with the First Minister because of his other commitments. So, I think, in theory, it would give it more profile. I haven't noticed any lack—. There's not less civil service weight behind it because actually, across the departments, we're seeing a lot more engagement and that's very positive, but in terms of profile at a ministerial level, given COVID, I think it's possibly less than it was previously with a dedicated Minister.

09:50

Yes. And, counterintuitively, we're finding the same as a committee—that it's harder to pin down the First Minister than it would be a dedicated Minister, to be truthful with you. So, anybody else want to make a comment on that, or are you happy for Susie's comments to stand?

Yes. I agree with Susie on that; you can't draw a comparison because, prior to COVID, international had a profile and now, I don't know if it's because of lack of time or just focus on domestic issues, we haven't had the same access, but we have, always when we've written to the First Minister, been given ministerial attention on specific issues. So, where we haven't been able to meet the First Minister, we haven't been entirely ignored. 

I would also agree with what Susie said, but, for us, if we're going to be taken seriously as a serious global player in terms of business, I think we do need to have—. It would be important to have somebody dedicated as a figurehead for that, to position Wales as an investment destination for both people and businesses. And I do think to have that person there would be great.

That's really helpful, thank you, and it does certainly chime with our experience as a committee. Just one other question: with that difficulty in mind, do you feel that there are things that could be added and developed in an international strategy that aren't there? I know that Claire has already mentioned an ad hoc development of a strategy that you'd like to see. Is there anything big-ticket and specific that you think needs to be added? 

There are plenty of issues that we think need to be added, but I guess one of the most important things for us is the separation of development from trade and business. So, we can see that where, at UK level, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development combined and development issues have dropped down as a priority, we're very conscious that having an international strategy in Wales that also links all of those things together is quite difficult. And I'm sure that Susie will probably expand on the contradictions that happen in the strategy about global responsibility on the one hand, but driving economic growth on the other hand. Sometimes they contradict each other and the principles can be challenging, so there does need to be a separation out from them. And I also think that, probably as a result of COVID and also the Black Lives Matter movement and our consideration of our power dynamics with the people we work with, the international strategy should possibly be reviewed with those two things in mind, with a sharp focus on what we've learned through those two seismic issues in the last two years.

That reflects what you were saying earlier, so that's really good to see that consistency. Does anybody else want to add to that? Susie, did you want to say something—Claire mentioned you?

It's not a matter, necessarily, of big-ticket items that need to be added from our perspective; it is more the overall coherence and big-picture vision that global responsibility is reflected and considered throughout. There are always complexities and contradictions and challenges in there, but it's better to explore those or to be more explicit about those, and, as Claire mentioned, those two movements. But also, I do believe that the climate and nature emergencies have rapidly gone up the agenda, and if you look back at the international strategy as was, there are definitely some strange incongruities there and perhaps that also needs to be considered in a review.

From my perspective, for us, I think we'd like to see more ambition within the strategy. We think some of the targets are a little low and maybe a little bit too easy. We've been doing other projects and trying to push to do other things that we think the business diaspora can really help Welsh Government with, and help us to meet economic goals and attract businesses and people back to Wales, and engage the diaspora across the board in all areas of the economy. Particularly, we think that the diaspora can actually engage not just at a national level, but at a local level, so we think that some of the challenges that we're having up in the Valleys with skills and the economy could be solved or at least addressed in some way and supported by members of our diaspora who have got incredible amounts of knowledge, skills, experience, capital that they can share with the places that they love and they're connected to. So, we'd like to see adjustments perhaps to the goals and to the ambition of the strategy, moving forward. We think we can do much more to engage the diaspora, and we're growing steadily day by day, and the bigger we are, the more we can do. So, that would be our input on that.

09:55

Lovely, that's great. That's really helpful, thank you.

Okay. Diolch, Hefin. Susie, just briefly before we move on, you mentioned that there had been some incongruities in the strategy previously. Was that now looking back as compared with now, where the climate and nature emergencies have gone up the agenda, or were you reflecting on something more general?

I think there was some that we noticed at the time, or at least we wanted an elaboration on. So, on some of the chosen industries for investment and focus, such as cyber security, we wanted a bit more information about why they were chosen. Were there issues in there relating to human rights, conflict minerals, and those kinds of things? Whilst we don't have all the information, we felt like that wasn't explored. I think there are also some issues around focus for markets around farming and imports of meat, which were definitely not things that we would consider to be aligned to the climate and nature emergencies and tackling those. But I think also it was just that sense that there was a section for global responsibility, almost, which was the Wales and Africa programme, but it wasn't fully considered across the board. We need to make sure that issues such as trade justice, human rights and fair trade are considered throughout and not just things that are kind of added on in a different section at the end, and it was that issue that we really wanted to see addressed in terms of incongruities. But especially now we've moved on, I think with a re-read now, they're even more stark, some of those issues, and it would benefit from—. And also we've got the Taith programme now. It's a big investment, and that's got real potential to be embedded through the strategy as well.

Thanks for that, Susie.

Diolch yn fawr. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas.

Thank you. We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.

So, this one's for Global Welsh, if you'd like to expand on the role as a partnership organisation to support the delivery of the Welsh Government's diaspora engagement plan. I know you've spoken about it already, but would you like to expand a little bit further about it? Thank you.

Sorry, could you repeat the question?

Yes, sure, okay—if you'd like to outline your role as a partnership organisation to support the delivery of the Welsh Government's diaspora engagement plan.

Sure. So, we are tasked with the business diaspora element of the strategy. We're engaging with the business diaspora, growing that community. We're supporting the international team through international trade—so, supporting five trade missions per year, selective trade missions overseas, working with the team there to reach out to local diaspora and any market contacts to communicate the Welsh offer locally. We're also tasked with finding up to 10 inward investment opportunities outside of Wales through the diaspora, engaging with our community and their networks to uncover opportunities for job creation in Wales. We're also working with Welsh businesses who've got export ambitions to help them through mentorship. So, we are matching up to five businesses annually with mentors that can support their goals to export. Also, we're working with the local Welsh Government offices as well, building relationships there and supporting the communication of the Welsh offer through all of our social channels and working with them on the ground locally as well.

Okay, thank you for that response. Do people know how to contact you if they want to have that relationship, to build up relations abroad as well, for exports? How would they feed into you—through the Federation of Small Businesses, or other business channels and things like that?

10:00

So, we have a community platform, which is called Global Welsh Connect. 

That's what you mentioned earlier, isn't it. Okay, tell me more about that. Thank you. 

Yes, it's an online platform which facilitates all of our activity, essentially. So, we're focused on facilitating networking, both with the diaspora locally, wherever they are in the world, but also enabling them to connect with other diaspora around the world, and also back home in Wales. So, we're trying to be a reciprocal conduit for communication and celebrating Wales, Welsh success, ambition, helping to address challenges that our members may be facing with their businesses, and connecting businesses together. I'd have to give you a demonstration, really, to really show you what it is that we're doing on the connect platform. We've also got city hubs located around the world. So, these are volunteers who are passionate about profiling Wales and Welsh businesses and connecting Welsh people on the ground, helping to make those connections and helping to tap into their knowledge, expertise and networks. 

We also have an inward investment element to what we do. So, we understand from our research that the Welsh diaspora have obviously left Wales and have gone on, a lot of the time, to develop really affluent careers, and they may have some capital that they want to reinvest in businesses—small businesses—and often they're doing that locally to where they're based. We want to provide them with a way of investing some of that capital in Welsh businesses, so we're trying to profile some of the most exciting investment opportunities in Wales to the diaspora. And we've also got a mentoring programme. So, we understand that, often, the best way to give back is to share knowledge and skills and experience, and to do that on a voluntary basis. So, we have a mentoring programme where we match ambitious people and businesses with mentors around the world, and we also have a thought leadership programme where we share that knowledge, skills and experience and perspectives from our diaspora with our members as well.

So, we're doing a lot. We're basically trying to channel whatever it is that the diaspora want to give back through our programmes. So, that's where we're focused. And some of those obviously tie into the international strategy. 

Are you able to include ethical procurement in your conversations as well?

What do you mean by that, sorry?

So, ethical procurement chains and ensuring that the business is done in an ethical way regarding the goods, employment, things like that. Is that something that you're able to get involved with?

It's not something that we've been engaged with yet, but we're happy to explore if the need's there. 

Diolch, Carolyn. Mi wnawn ni symud yn olaf at Alun Davies. 

Thank you very much. We'll move on finally to Alun Davies. 

Thank you. I'm interested in a sort of different relationship with Welsh Government from what we've heard over the last half an hour or so, because the answer we've just received is a lot more positive. Previous answers have been a lot more equivocal. And I'm interested in how deeply embedded—and I think I'll go to Claire with this, if you don't mind—the thinking in Welsh Government is about many of these matters, because, Suzy, you spoke about the compartmentalisation, if you like, of some of these issues, which certainly I see; that chimes with my background. 

But, Claire, in terms of the work that you've been doing and co-ordinating and leading over the last few years, do you get the sense that Welsh Government has a vision that drives consistency and drives an approach across the whole of Government, or do you think that you've just got people working in silos—sorry, I shouldn't put words in your mouth—but people working in silos, doing what they've always done and just pointing at a different Minister every couple of years?

10:05

I think there does need to be some more vision-building for the sector in Wales. I think, because it's quite a small sector and budgets are quite limited, we often end up repeating what we're doing over and over again. Because what we do is important, and it's established, and, at the moment, to create something new, you'd have to disinvest from something else, which isn't something we want to do because what we are doing is measured and important. But there definitely needs to be broader and wider and more in-depth thinking. So, in the last couple of years, obviously, it's the climate and the nature emergencies, the net-zero plan is really important. We've got the sustainable development goals agenda; they were supposed to be achieved by 2030—that doesn't look likely to happen as a result of COVID. We are going to miss those goals in all likelihood now, unless there's some kind of real drive towards delivery.

But is it the result of COVID? COVID is the reason for everything at the moment—we get that. But am I convinced that the Welsh Government had already taken those decisions that would make 2030 a realistic goal? I'm not.

I think it needs much deeper thinking, and I think you need more disperse leadership through the different departments. At the moment, you do get specific people who are ambassadors or are prepared to lead a piece of work, but how that work then gets dispersed, or those kinds of needs really get down to every level of Government—I'm not sure how that happens. So, for example, and a very limited experience recently, is that you have the net-zero plan, which talks about being carbon neutral, but then we're also seeing grants being given out that don't really have to say how they're delivering carbon neutrality through their work. So, they might include flights, they might talk about using carbon-heavy transport. And there's no specific accountability on those issues, and that's just one thing I know about, and I can't talk widely about all departments of Government. But there definitely does need to be a consideration for what that means in practice and delivery on the things that Welsh Government are responsible for.

So, Welsh Government can exercise control over supply chains, for example. So, in the social partnership and public procurement (Wales) Bill, 'global' was missing from it. You'd think if 'globally responsible' was a key goal, why would that be missing from the development of something? So, there wasn't much discussion about the fact that, I think, £6.3 billion is the procurement spending in Wales, so a third of Welsh Government's total budget. That's an enormous lever to make a difference on several of the issues that Welsh Government are talking about, but then it didn't make it through into the draft Bill. So that's just an example of where these issues really need to be threaded through every department of Government. And I don't know if it's because they're new issues and people are getting accustomed and used to them, but the urgency of them means that people haven't got time to get used to them. They need to be embedded, as far as we're concerned, already, As they haven't, they need to be dealt with immediately.

Well, you're more generous to Government than I would be, Claire. I don't think these issues are new at all. I was involved in launching the Fairtrade Foundation when I worked at Oxfam in the 1990s. I'm not convinced that the Welsh Government could be caught by surprise by some of these matters. But in terms of that wider approach, and in terms of this committee's current work—what are the priorities in terms of where we're going—I'd be interested to hear from the three of you about your involvement with drawing up strategies and targets and delivery plans for Welsh Government. The international strategy was, as Susie's pointed out, very compartmentalised, but that could be a matter of the layout of a brochure, as much as anything else. But were you deeply involved in drawing that up? Do you recognise parts of it? Do you think that what is in that strategy, such as it is, is mainstreamed into Welsh Government work?

Can I come in initially on that? Is that okay? I think the answer is—. Is it mainstreamed across all work? No, it's not. There have been changes, I think, in the last couple of years, in terms of mainstreaming some issues. We do see progress around climate and nature emergencies; there are still gaps, as Claire highlighted a couple of examples. But there's also still, particularly around 'global' and 'international', a tendency to compartmentalise and to have something like—you mentioned fair trade—a fair trade nation over here, but is that properly embedded across everything else? No. And the fact that we're thinking about trade and investment, and that ethical procurements, not necessarily there in the forefront of the minds of people who are working around trade and investment because it's not been mainstreamed across the board—. And I think that there is a need for a strong vision and some strong outcome-focused goals, rather than output-focused goals. So, those that really set out where we want to be—something positive about where we want to be in five years', 10 years' time; what Wales wants to be in the world, what its role should be and could be. I think there could be really exciting opportunities there.

Some of the commitments made at COP26 by Welsh Ministers were really exciting and forward-thinking and did put Wales out there and get Wales's profile, but that coherence needs to sit across the whole. There are improvements, certainly across both some of the civil servants that we work with and across Ministers, but there is more to be done and 'international' still remains, as Claire mentioned, with the procurement Bill—it's somewhere over here, rather than embedded across all the other policy areas.

10:10

I know that Claire has just unmuted herself, so she'll want to come in in a second—oh, no, maybe you didn't want to. We're into our last four minutes, just to warn you.

Did you want me to comment? Yes, we were consulted on the international strategy and, yes, we welcomed that consultation and we've been banging the drum about the diaspora engagement for a very long time, so we're very pleased to have been consulted on that. And, yes, we do see ourselves very much reflected in the strategy. 

Again, I would agree with what Susie said about goals. It would be really good to have a proper vision of where Wales is trying to get to and be able to have some real tangible goals against that wider goal. And, I can't comment on whether it's embedded across all the teams, but, again, it comes back to the ambition element—we want to see that level of ambition growing and the willingness to put Wales on the map and become a real global nation and recognise that it's somewhere to invest in, somewhere to relocate to and somewhere to be proud of as well.

And from my perspective, I don't have too much to add in addition to what Susie said. But, fundamentally, we were consulted, but it's an enormous sector. There are 400 or so groups working in Wales on global solidarity and community linking, and then we've got the massive international non-governmental organisations as well, which is an enormous sector, and we really haven't set a growth or a view for something that's different to what we're already doing, and we know that we have to become more globally responsible.

We know COP26 set some ambitions, and we know we've got ambitions with the climate emergency and other things like that, and if those are real ambitions and something Wales wants to make a real impact on, then the strategy has to grow and it can't be limited to a couple of pages on Wales and Africa—it has to be much, much wider than that, and much, much more ambitious than that. So, we'd definitely like to see attention given to what international development means in that context.

I'm grateful to you all for that. It might be useful, Chair—we're running short on time—if Susie and Claire were to write to us outlining how they would like to see some of these matters mainstreamed and embedded into Welsh Government because it might be something we could then give some consideration to as we move forward.

I agree, and I see Susie certainly nodding and Claire smiling, so I'm sure that would be, and Zara—if there were anything that you wanted to add to that—

—obviously, we'd welcome that too, particularly as I know that a number of you have mentioned the social partnership and public procurement Bill, but not just that, but generally with what the Government should be doing. That would be really useful.

Fantastic. We are a minute before the session was due to end, so unless anyone has anything burning that they were desperate to say, and I don't see anyone—. No, that's fantastic. Well, thank you very much.

Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am eich tystiolaeth y bore yma. Mae wedi bod yn hynod ddiddorol i ni. Bydd transcript o'r hyn dŷch chi wedi'i ddweud yn cael ei anfon atoch chi i'w wirio, a dwi'n siŵr, fel dŷn ni wedi trafod yn barod, byddwn ni mewn cysylltiad i ofyn am fwy o wybodaeth gennych chi, ond os byddech chi mor garedig ag anfon y wybodaeth yna atom ni hefyd, byddem ni'n ddiolchgar iawn. Diolch yn fawr iawn eto am eich tystiolaeth. 

Aelodau, byddwn ni nawr yn cymryd egwyl fer i dderbyn y tystion nesaf. Felly, byddwn ni mewn egwyl o 10.15 a.m. tan 10.25 a.m. Fe wnawn ni aros i glywed gan y gweithredwyr sain ein bod ni yn breifat.

Thank you very much to all of you for your evidence this morning. It's been very interesting for us. A transcript of what has been said will be sent to you to check for accuracy and, as we've already discussed, we'll be in touch to request further information from you. If you would be so kind as to send that information to us, we would be very grateful for it. Thank you very much once again for your evidence.

Members, we will now take a short break to welcome the next set of witnesses to the meeting. So, we'll have a break between 10.15 a.m. and 10.25 a.m. We'll wait to hear from the sound operators that we're private.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:15 a 10:25.

The meeting adjourned between 10:15 and 10:25.

10:25
3. Ymchwiliad undydd i Gysylltiadau Rhyngwladol: Ewrop a rhyngwladol
3. One day inquiry on International Relations: Europe and international

Croeso nôl i'n hymchwiliad undydd i gysylltiadau rhyngwladol, a dŷn ni nawr yn mynd i drafod Ewrop a rhyngwladol. A gaf i estyn croeso i'n tystion ar gyfer yr ail sesiwn y bore yma? Fe wnaf i ofyn ichi, plis, i gyflwyno eich hunain ar gyfer y cofnod. Fe wnaf i fynd at Jenny yn gyntaf.

Welcome back to our one-day inquiry on international relations, and we're now going to be discussing Europe and international. May I extend a warm welcome to our witnesses for this second session this morning? May I ask you to introduce yourselves for the record? I'll go to Jenny first.

I'm Jenny Scott, and I'm director of the British Council in Wales.

Ben Lloyd. Head of policy for the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Good morning. My name is Charles Whitmore. I'm a research associate with the Wales Governance Centre.

Bore da. Pennaeth swyddfa, Addysg Uwch Cymru Brwsel, yma ym Mrwsel.

Good morning. I'm the head of office, Welsh Higher Education Brussels, here in Brussels.

Wel, mae croeso oddi wrthym ni i gyd i chi y bore yma. Fe wnaf i symud yn syth i'r cwestiwn cyntaf. Mae hyn yn faes eang iawn. Ym mha ffyrdd ydych chi'n meddwl y byddwn ni fel pwyllgor yn gallu cael y dylanwad neu'r effaith fwyaf yn y maes yma dros y pum mlynedd nesaf, os gwelwch yn dda—pwy bynnag sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf? Charles.

Well, a very warm welcome to all of you this morning. I'll move straight to the first question, if that's okay. This is a very wide-ranging topic. How do you feel that we as a committee could have the greatest impact in this field over the next five years, please—whoever wants to go first? Charles.

Thank you very much. I think, at an overarching level for us, ensuring that we're able to reflect the values and goals that we have in Wales stemming from the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the international strategy into the new governance structures and the exercise of new competencies that have returned to the UK following Brexit will probably be quite key. And I think, in particular, monitoring the Welsh Government's engagement and reporting on its activities undertaken in the new post-Brexit governance mechanisms that are emerging from the trade and co-operation agreements, or the TCA, will be quite important. There are a variety of Welsh interests enshrined in the well-being legislation and the international strategy that need to be articulated, I think, in a variety of new and different places. So, if we look at the TCA, for instance, there are a variety of specialised committees and trade committees there. We need to be ensuring that stakeholders and the Senedd itself are engaged where relevant topics emerge in those discussions, particularly as we move towards various milestones for that treaty to go under review if we feel the relationship isn't working for Wales in certain ways. For us, we're quite interested as well around the Welsh Government's engagement and support of the parliamentary partnership assembly, the domestic advisory group, and the civil society forum in particular. The latter two of which are of particular interest to us, because they provide a formal vehicle for civil society to reflect human rights, equalities, environmental, cultural, and a variety of other interests into the TCA discussions, and I think there's a leadership role here for the Welsh Government to play that could be usefully scrutinised by the committee in ensuring that the input and output from these various mechanisms are connected in Wales and reaching the right stakeholders and the right fora.

I would just add one final point on this, in that I think this extends as well to the Welsh Government's efforts to partake in inter-governmental discussions around the UK's new trade policy, to ensure that Welsh interests from the future generations legislation are also reflected in those. These are of course economic interests that are beyond the remit of this committee, I'm sure, but for the voluntary sector, these new agreements are also about how we promote a large variety of interests, as I said. Arts and culture—are we securing opportunities for our artists abroad? Are we promoting fair trade with our trade partners? Are we advocating for the human rights values that we have, I think, quite an ambitious agenda on in Wales? Are we advocating for those through these agreements as well? I think the Welsh Government needs to have this threaded through its own departments, but also in its conversations with the UK Government, because I'm quite conscious that those connections aren't always being made at the UK level.

Diolch, Charles. Symudwn at Berwyn.

Thank you, Charles. We'll move to Berwyn.

I'd just support what Charles has said on a broad level. If we go down the more specific issues around higher education, then the specialised committee on European programmes—if and when, fingers crossed, we do eventually associate to Horizon Europe, that will be a key committee for us, to make sure that the interests and priorities of the Welsh higher education sector are reflected and communicated to Welsh Government, so those can then be inputted into those discussions. I believe that that committee was the very last one to meet, I believe, just before Christmas. It has just met once. But, as I say, it's all dependent on our associating to the programme, which I hope will be soon.

Diolch, Berwyn. A Jenny.

Thank you, Berwyn. And Jenny.

I think at an overarching level I think it would be useful, particularly after the past couple of years with COVID, Brexit, and a really perhaps more domestically focused agenda. I think it's important to remember that international activity and work can actually support economic development. So, I think it's worth looking at the value and benefits of international relations work for Wales, so not just at a sort of trade and invest level, but also looking at the influence that arts and culture, education, sport, et cetera, can drive for Wales, and ensuring that Wales is making best use of the assets that it does have to take that forward. We've done a lot of research in this area, looking at perceptions, and we know that trust and attractiveness really does, can drive economic prosperity, but also influence for Wales.

As Charles mentioned, monitoring the delivery of the Welsh Governments's international strategy, I think there are areas that might need to be looked at with regard to the international strategy now post COVID, because of—. Well, not even post COVID, but because of what COVID's done and the quite dramatic change that that's made in terms of how we operate internationally. So, I think that that does need to be looked at and whether or not a more maybe cross-Government approach would be useful.

Lastly, from my perspective, the resourcing of the Welsh Government in terms of international work, I think that from my perspective it's quite a small team. I think it probably could do with more resourcing. We have a small overseas network; again, it could probably do with more resources, because I think we demand quite a lot from that without perhaps understanding how things like that operate on a day-to-day basis, and the stresses and strains. So, that would be my perspective.

10:30

Diolch, Jenny. Ac yn olaf, Ben.

Thank you, Jenny. And finally, Ben.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. I think there are two things that would have come out from the voluntary sector and community groups around this. The first, I think, is that the sector is really tied into the well-being of future generations Act and the need for the globally responsible elements of that, which a number of internationalist charities and community groups have been pushing for, well, for centuries, really, to make sure that that's embedded in a lot of the international work that is being done. I think there's a particular worry about how some of that global responsibility would sit alongside trade deals to replace European trade deals, in terms of the balance between promoting exports and retaining some of those social and environmental protections.

And then, secondly, I think we'd be really keen to see how the Welsh Government views the role of citizens and community groups as part of profile raising and supporting the links between community groups and charities and their counterparts within the European Union, and indeed elsewhere, particularly where there have been some specific examples of schemes that have done this that were European funded. I guess it's probably not clear to what extent there will be funding to replace things such as the European solidarity programme, which promoted volunteering between European nations and some arts and cultural funding as well, and, obviously, the funding is part of the purpose of that, but a wider purpose was about international co-operation between EU member states—which, at the time, the UK was able to participate in—and I guess the extent to which some of that international capacity for some of those smaller groups and individuals will exist in the future.

Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi. Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.

Thank you very much. We'll move on to Alun Davies.

I'm grateful to everybody for that. I'm interested in understanding the relationship that you all have in different ways between yourselves and Welsh Government, and the interaction that takes place between yourselves and Welsh Government, particularly possibly Berwyn, Ben and Jenny. I mean, Charles, in answering the last question, you asked an awful lot of questions. I'd be grateful if you could answer some of those as well.

If I could ask the three of you first of all about your interaction with Welsh Government, and how structured that is, and whether you see any of your issues, if you like, reflected in what the Welsh Government actually does as a consequence of that interaction.

And then, Charles, if you could potentially give us a sense of—contextual, you know; how does this reflect? Do you have any information about comparative issues between, say—? Wales and Scotland is always the easiest comparison to make, I guess. But I'd be interested to understand where you think Wales sits, given the overview that you've taken of the way in which the Government operates.

10:35

Pwy sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf gyda hynny? Berwyn.

Who wants to go first with that? Berwyn.

Felly, rydyn ni yn fan hyn yn Nhŷ Cymru ac mae'n help mawr i fod yn yr un swyddfa, mewn ffordd, â swyddfa Ewrop Llywodraeth Cymru, sy'n golygu, cyn y pandemig, roedd yn bosib inni siarad yn ddyddiol, yn bersonol gyda'r swyddogion yn y Llywodraeth. Trwy fod yn y gymuned fan hyn ym Mrwsel, rydyn ni'n cael ein gweld fel Cymry os ydyn ni'n gweithio ar gyfer sector arbennig fel addysg uwch neu ar gyfer y Llywodraeth.

Felly, o ran rhwydweithiau, rydyn ni mewn cwpl o rwydweithiau lle rydyn ni'n gyd-aelodau ac wedyn mae yna enghreifftiau lle rydyn ni'n aelodau ar wahân o rwydweithiau eraill. Felly, mae e'n gweithio'n reit dda, buaswn i'n dweud, efallai ar yr ochr fwy anffurfiol allan fan hyn na fuasem ni os oeddem ni'n ôl yng Nghymru. Ond rydyn ni yn rhannu gwybodaeth yn rheolaidd ymysg ein gilydd. Rydyn ni'n gwneud pethau ar y cyd hefyd, er enghraifft, mewn mis, fel rhan o ddathliadau Dydd Gŵyl Dewi, byddwn ni'n gwneud seminar ar symudoledd fel rhan o'r broses o hyrwyddo rhaglen newydd Taith sydd newydd gael ei lansio heddiw. Felly, ar y lefel hynny, fan hyn ym Mrwsel, rydyn ni'n gweithio'n reit dda o ran medru cyfathrebu a rhannu gwybodaeth ymysg ein gilydd.

So, we're here in Tŷ Cymru and it's a great help to be in the same office as the European office of the Welsh Government, because it means, pre-pandemic, that we could speak on a daily basis, face to face with officials in the Government. And being in the community here in Brussels, we're seen as part of the Welsh delegation whether we're working in a specific sector like higher education or for the Government.

So, in terms of networks, we are members of a couple of networks together, and there are other examples where we are separate members of different networks. So, it works quite well, I would say, perhaps on a more informal basis out here than if we were to be based back in Wales. But we do share information on a regular basis amongst ourselves. We do things on a joint basis, for example, in a month, as part of the St David's Day celebrations, we'll be holding a seminar on mobility in terms of the process of promoting the new Taith programme that was launched today. And so, on that level, in Brussels, it works very well in terms of communication and sharing of information amongst ourselves.

Sori. Ydy hynny yn gweithio? Achos, chi'n gwybod, dwi wedi, fel dŷch chi'n gwybod, treulio lot o amser o fy mywyd i yn Nhŷ Cymru ym Mrwsel. Mae'n un peth cael sgyrsiau dros baned yn ystod tea breaks, ond beth dwi eisiau gweld yw impact hynny. Beth mae trethdalwyr Cymru'n ei gael am y trafodaethau yma?

Sorry. Is that working well? Because, as you know, I've worked spent a great deal of time in Tŷ Cymru in Brussels. It's one thing to have a conversation over a cup of tea during a break, but what I want to see is the impact of that. What do the Welsh taxpayers receive as a result of those conversations?

Wel, er enghraifft, mae'r Llywodraeth yn aelod o'r Vanguard Initiative, sef un rhwydwaith mawr fan hyn. Ac mae hwnna wedi deillio i raddau allan o waith roedden ni wedi'i wneud gyda Phrifysgol Bangor a gwaith Adam Charlton fanna, sydd nawr yn rhan o'r Vanguard Initiative. Felly, mewn ffordd, mae o'n gweithio yn yr ystyr rydyn ni wedyn yn medru cymryd yr awenau mewn gweithgareddau mwy ymarferol yn seiliedig ar aelodaeth Llywodraeth Cymru o rwydweithiau fel y Vanguard Initiative. Felly, dwi'n gwybod eu bod nhw wedi bod yn rhoi ceisiadau i mewn i Horizon 2020 fel rhan o'r bartneriaeth yna.

Well, for example, the Welsh Government is a member of the Vanguard Initiative, which is one network—a major network—here in Brussels. And that emanated to an extent from the work that we did with Bangor University and the work done by Adam Charlton there, now part of the Vanguard Initiative. So, in a way, it is working in the sense that we then can take the reins in more practical activities based on the Welsh Government's membership of networks such as the Vanguard Initiative. So, I know that they have been submitting bids to Horizon 2020 as part of that particular partnership.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. May I just preface my remarks by saying we have a really good relationship with the third sector unit within Welsh Government? We've done a huge amount of work to promote the value of the voluntary sector across Welsh Government as a whole. I think it's probably worth flagging the third sector partnership council, which is the formal partnership between the voluntary sector and Welsh Government, which includes twice-yearly meetings with each Minister and with the Minister for the voluntary sector as a whole, which is, I think, designed to be the formal mechanism for raising those sector-wide views.

I think the challenge that has had is that it, I guess, inevitably, falls into silos around—. In the same way that there's no way of dividing out Welsh Government without creating some kind of barrier between departments, we fall into the same trap, because we reflect those responsibilities. And some of the international work in this space is split, obviously, between the economy Minister's department in terms of trade and so on, and climate change, around those commitments, and other departments, as well as, obviously, small bits of international work that other departments will have been doing before hand as well. So, I think, there's an extent to which we—. I guess it's never quite a priority on anyone's agenda at that sort of strategic level.

And then with individual departments within the Welsh Government, we've found engagement generally to be—. In some cases, there are some great examples of people who work with either us or with other voluntary sector organisations, and others where it's probably a bit patchier. That will be true for international issues. There are officials who tend to be quite good at doing that engagement work; they tend to be quite good at carrying that out into, I guess, what might not be seen as their core responsibility around some of the international profile raising and so on. And so, it will be, I guess, generally, I'd suspect, more positive than some of our sister organisations elsewhere in the UK would find, but there are examples—

10:40

Well, I think it has to be said that there are exemplar amongst the voluntary sector—[Inaudible.]—involves them here in Wales, and I think we have to recognise that the third sector scheme, which is unique in Wales, has enabled that contact, I guess, but it hasn't been consistent, and I suppose I wanted to reflect that there is good and bad within the same system, or could be better in the same system, at least.

We have contact, I guess, at different levels. We have met with the First Minister. I think one of the—not concerns—but I think one of the issues there is that we did find that when there was a Minister for international relations, that really did drive the international agenda, and it was easier, I think, to take that kind of cross-Government approach because that was being pulled together by an individual. I think now, we tend to have more departmental contact, so we work really well with the international relations team and we work with the department for education and their support through Global Wales, where we were partnering Global Wales, but also through programmes that we deliver for them, you know, the international education programme or Global Wales Discover. We do work with the international offices, but, again, we're mindful that they are small, so other than years such as the Wales in Germany Year, we're looking to see how we can work better with them and more effectively with them to have more impact with the work that they're doing.

We also have a number of groups and committees that Welsh Government are either invited to and sit on, for example, there's a cultural diplomacy group, which is chaired by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and run by British Council, there's a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office group for the British Council, which international relations sit on and are invited to attend. British Council Wales, we have a Wales advisory committee and we have representatives from the international relations team and department for education on our committee, so that they can feed into the work that the British Council in Wales is doing and also we can get information from them about how we can best align our work with Welsh Government. Global Wales, Welsh Government, obviously, is funding that, and we're a part of the board for Global Wales. Also, programmes like the Global Futures steering group, which is looking at international languages. We also work with Welsh Government on different celebrations or years of culture. I think probably where it might help is maybe, as I said, to have that cross-Government, cross-departmental work. We don't tend to see that at the moment and I think that's probably because that needs to be driven by somebody.

Thanks very much. I'll take this opportunity to briefly answer and give some context to the first question and the question you asked me directly, if that's okay.

So, we work in close partnership with Ben at WCVA to examine the impact of the UK's withdrawal from the EU on the voluntary sector in Wales, and in that work, we've had a very good relationship with the third sector unit, the European transition team and have recently established good relations with the Welsh Government's trade policy team as well, although that's still very nascent. And, of course, in the work that we're doing, the UK Government leads on the trade and co-operation agreements and on the governance bodies, but also on external trade and the dimensions that are reflected in those negotiations. But we welcome that the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive have secured representation on, as far as I know, most of the trade and co-operation agreement bodies. I think the work we still need to do now is ensuring that the discussions that they're having there and the views that they're reflecting are connected within Wales and so there is stakeholder engagement with us and others in feeding up the views that we think need to go up the hierarchy of the trade and co-operation agreement institutions.

We also welcome that the Welsh Government, we know, is having conversations with the Department for International Trade. As I said earlier, I think that there's also some work there to do in terms of linking up Welsh Government departments and interests—economic interests, but also human rights, equality, health, well-being, arts and culture. I think we need to be feeding those into the Department for International Trade as well. The Welsh Government established, quite early on, a trade policy advisory group that brings together different stakeholders from across civil society in Wales to try and feed into the Welsh Government's input into these discussions. It was initially quite—. As I say, third sector representation was initially quite limited on that group. We have, I think, one representative, but the Welsh Government have taken very welcome steps recently to increase the inclusion there. So, equalities groups now are represented as well.

We're undertaking a body of work now that is looking to increase the voice of civil society across those themes that we advocate for in trade discussions, and the Welsh Government have engaged fully with that and opened up membership of their trade policy group to other organisations that are taking part in our work that might like to influence that. So, that's all very positive, but then, if we look at the outcomes that we're starting to see—so, you know, if we look at the Australia trade agreement, for instance—I think the correct steps are probably being taken, but we're not really seeing much in the way of influence on that. So, if you look at the environmental provisions, for instance, they're not very ambitious. So, I think there are some lessons to be learnt. I think we generally need to rethink and reframe how we approach trade agreements between the four nations, really.

You mentioned comparisons between Wales and Scotland. I think we're in very similar and very challenging positions. There's a lot of tensions emerging between devolved policy interests and central UK Government interests, and I'm not entirely clear on how those are being reflected in inter-governmental discussions at the moment. But, if we look at the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020, for instance, recent announcements around human rights—you know, we have very different views in Wales around those ambitious things they do at the UK level. Yes. So, that's my view on that.

10:45

Thank you very much. Delyth, I'll leave things there. I think we need to consider, as a committee, how we want to take this forward, because I think it's one thing to list a lot of engagements and to list a lot of committees and a lot of groups and a lot of meetings, but I'm interested in what do people get out of all that, you know, and what does it achieve. And I think we need just to focus a bit more time on that in the future. I also think, Delyth, we need to look harder at the whole issue of trade agreements. I think the points that Charles has just made on trade agreements are very important and ones that the committee may wish to return to in the future. So, I'll leave it at that. Thank you.

Diolch, Alun. Yes, lots of really thought-provoking points that you've all made there, and I'm sure that there'll be things that we'd be wanting to raise with you in the future, as Alun has just been hinting.

Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen, felly, at Heledd Fychan.

We'll move on, therefore, to Heledd Fychan.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. You've touched upon this already, but I would like you to consider if there are any additional points you'd like to make in terms of your current engagement with the Welsh Government's overseas offices in particular and how that's working in practice. I don't know who wants to kick off with this. Berwyn, diolch.

Wel, ie. Yn ogystal, wrth gwrs, â ni'n bod fan hyn ym Mrwsel—wedi sefydlu fan hyn gyda swyddfa'r Llywodraeth fan hyn ym Mrwsel—dŷn ni wedi agor allan i weithio gyda rhai o'r swyddfeydd eraill, yn arbennig y swyddfa yn Nulyn, a wedi bod yn gweithio gyda nhw yn arbennig ar glustnodi lle mae'r partneriaethau rhwng prifysgolion Cymru a phrifysgolion Iwerddon. Mae hwnna yn flaenoriaeth mawr inni o ran ein perthynas mwy eang gydag Ewrop, y perthynas gydag Iwerddon fel gwladwriaeth sy'n aelod o'r Undeb Ewropeaidd, a dŷn ni'n edrych eto i ddatblygu mwy ar hynny. Dwi'n gwybod bod yna weithdai yn dod lan yn y misoedd nesaf yn edrych ar y perthynas rhwng Cymru ac Iwerddon. Dŷn ni wedi bod yn gwneud fan hyn yn y gorffennol rhai digwyddiadau yn seiliedig ar raglen INTERREG Cymru-Iwerddon, ac roedd o'n bwysig inni edrych ar beth gallwn ni ei wneud i ddilyn i fyny efo hynny nawr dydyn ni ddim yn gallu bod yn rhan o raglen INTERREG.

Ond hefyd dŷn ni wedi bod yn gweithio gyda—. Roedd Jenny wedi sôn ynglŷn â Wales in Germany, a buon ni'n trafod gyda'r swyddfa yn Berlin ynglŷn â'r partneriaeth fanna. Dŷn ni'n trafod gyda nhw nawr, yng nghyswllt yr Almaen, y perthynas gyda Baden-Württemberg, sydd am fod yn un o'r rhanbarthau blaenorol inni—rhwng Cymru a Baden-Württemberg—a dŷn ni'n edrych ar y cysylltiadau ymchwil ac addysg sy'n bodoli eisoes yn y rhaglenni fel Horizon 2020, sut allwn ni ddatblygu'r partneriaethau hynny hefyd. Byddwn ni'n edrych, gobeithio, wedyn i weithio gyda'r swyddfa ym Mharis pan fydd Cymru-Ffrainc, y flwyddyn yna, yn dod yn y flwyddyn nesaf.

Well, as well as us being located here in Brussels—we are co-located with the Welsh Government's office here in Brussels—we have opened out to work with other offices, particularly the office in Dublin, and we've been working with them in particular on earmarking where the partnerships are between Welsh universities and Irish universities. That is a major priority for us in terms of our wider relationship with Europe, namely the relationship with Ireland as a member state of the European Union, and we are looking to develop that further. I know that there are workshops coming up over the next few months looking at the relationship between Wales and Ireland. We've been involved in the past with events related to the INTERREG Ireland-Wales programme and I think it's very important for us to look at how we can follow that up now that we can't be a part of the INTERREG programme.

But we've also been working with—. Jenny spoke about Wales in Germany, and we've been discussing with the office in Berlin regarding the partnership there. We're currently discussing with them, in terms of the German connection, the relationship with Baden-Württemberg, which is going to be one of the priority regions for us, in terms of a relationship between Wales and Baden-Württemberg. We're looking at the research and education relationships that already exist in terms of Horizon 2020 and how we can develop those partnerships further. And we'll be looking, hopefully, to work with the office in Paris when Wales in France will be prioritised next year.

10:50

Unrhyw un arall eisiau dod i mewn ar hyn?

Does anybody else want to come in on this?

Yes, I think, as was said earlier, we work with a lot of the offices overseas. We've got British Council offices in the countries where the offices are represented, and I know that, in most of those countries, there are links between the Welsh Government and British Council offices overseas. I think that there are issues around the fact that the offices are small and are quite—. There's a small resource there, both in terms of, I suspect, staff and I'm not sure of the funding levels that they receive. So, we don't tend to ask them necessarily to do work on our behalf, because, obviously, where we have got offices, it would be, I think, putting an unfair strain on those offices to do that. But we have worked—. For example, last year, we worked with the office in Berlin on things like the Wales in Germany year, where we co-funded activity.

I think the activity so far, if I could say, has probably—. The work we've done has been maybe activity related and not strategic as such. So, I think that there is perhaps an opportunity, where, perhaps, we could share the plans that they have, the priorities that they have for their countries, to see whether or not there is an overlap with our own priorities in those countries, so that there would be an opportunity to leverage that and have a greater impact, I think. So, we don't really have that relationship at a strategic level, it's more at an input/activity level, so I think there is opportunity, perhaps, to improve that. Yes. So, I think that would be the main thing.

And the other thing is, of course, then we can share this and take a more—. Because, at the moment, where we work, some of the things that we do with Welsh Government—Alun mentioned it earlier—we work on things like seasons or years of culture et cetera, but, for example, for this year, there's Wales in Canada, but we're in the process of potentially closing our Canada office, and so we're not going to be involved in any activity in Canada. But we are for France. So, we've already started looking ahead and funding the activity for France in 2023, but that would mean that, if we look at it from that perspective, that would be only one country that you would work with per year, and I don't think that that's—. That's not, in the past, been as helpful to some of the overseas offices that are looking to develop their activity, develop their work, et cetera.

So, I think if we could have that, share that information, that planning, that longer term view for what does the Welsh Government want to achieve in those particular countries, then we would be able to share that with our offices there and maybe tailor some of our work upstage. So, for example, we're doing work in India, Pakistan, sub-Saharan Africa. So, where we can work more generally, I think, across the piece with Welsh Government, I think we can perhaps enable them to have a bigger impact, and also it will help our work as well.

Roedd Charles wedi rhoi ei law i fyny. O, sori, Heledd, mae'n flin gen i.

Charles had put his hand up. Oh, Heledd wants to come in.

Can I just pick up on Jenny's point there? Can I just ask: is there is there a tension, sometimes—? And this may be a difficult one for you to answer, but, obviously, working—you're British Council Wales, but obviously part of that wider network—there can be conflicting priorities in terms of UK Government and Welsh Government as well. Can that be challenging?

I think, at the moment, we haven't seen—. I think, when we looked at where we were working, where the UK Government want us to work and Welsh Government want us to work, there are actually alignments across most of that area. Going forward, I think, particularly with Europe—. Partly because of the way that the British Council is funded, we're seeing more of our UK Government funding directed towards overseas development administration countries, so non-EU, not North America, not parts of south-east Asia, but more at south Asia, sub-Saharan Africa. So, that might not always chime with where the Welsh Government might want to deliver activity. So, I think then we have to do things in a different way. So, it may be that we can't put funding there, but there are other ways that we can support other than through funding programmes.

Rwy'n meddwl oedd Berwyn eisiau dod i mewn ar y pwynt yma.

I believe Berwyn wanted to come in on this point.

10:55

Jest o ran y perthynas gyda Llywodraeth Cymru yn yr ystyr yma hefyd, mae'r datblygiad yn Global Wales a'r trefniant bod Ewrop nawr am fod yn un gangen o Global Wales, ynghyd ag, o ran addysg uwch, yr Unol Daleithiau, India a Fietnam—. So, bydd hynny, gobeithio, yn ein galluogi ni i gael rhyw fframwaith mwy strategol yn y ffordd rydyn ni'n datblygu'n perthynas gyda rhanbarthau yn Ewrop.

Yes, just in terms of the relationship with the Welsh Government in this context, the development of Global Wales and Europe being part of one branch of Global Wales, in terms of higher education, India and Vietnam will be part of that as well. I hope that that will enable us to have a more strategic framework in the way that we develop our relationship with the regions of Europe.

Diolch, Berwyn. Rwy'n gwybod roedd Charles eisiau—. Ie, iawn. Charles.

Thank you, Berwyn. I know that Charles wanted to come in. Charles.

Thank you. I'll just come back very briefly on the two points to that question, and I speak very much to the work that we do jointly with Ben in WCVA on this, but the only overseas office that we've engaged with has been the one in Brussels, because we're trying to support the Welsh civic society landscape to build new relationships with European counterparts that are suited to the post-Brexit context, and the Brussels office can play a key role, I think, in that emerging landscape in supporting that co-operation. I think there's something here about scrutinising the Welsh Government's efforts to monitor the European landscape for opportunities for cross-border collaboration as they emerge, and there should be opportunities. The EU does fund cross-border collaboration as a part of its external action with organisations outside of its territory. We recently, just before Christmas, were informed of an opportunity for UK-EU policy dialogue that was looking for stakeholders to engage, but we found out about that so late in the process that it was just difficult to take up, and it was difficult to get a sense of whether that was part of an overall strategy. So, I think, given how close the Brussels office is, they can play a role in helping us understand that strategy and picking up on this type of opportunity in time for us to continue to engage.

And the other point around tensions—. Obviously, funding is a big one here, I think. There is an explicit portion of the Welsh Government's framework for regional investment around cross-border co-operation. But, of course, that was drafted at a time when we didn't know about the replacements for EU funding. I'm conscious I'm talking about this when a White Paper is about to be published, so I might be getting ahead of myself, but it doesn't seem to me like there's going to be much of an international cross-border dimension to that, which might, obviously, conflict with the Welsh Government's intention to put some funding there, which is, obviously, a disappointment for the sector.

Diolch, Charles. Oedd unrhyw un eisiau ychwanegu unrhyw beth ar hyn? Ŷch chi i gyd yn hapus? Heledd, wyt ti'n hapus inni symud ymlaen?

Thank you, Charles. Did anybody want to add something on this? Are you content? Heledd, are you content for us to move on?

Ydw, dwi'n hapus inni symud ymlaen. Diolch.

Yes, I'm happy for us to move on. Thank you.

Diolch, Heledd. Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas.

Thank you, Heledd. We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.

Thank you. Again, if you want to expand further, are there any specific areas of activity that you believe would benefit from the Welsh Government involvement that are not included already in the international strategy?

Does anybody want to speak on this?

Rŷch chi gyd yn rhy poléit. Rŷch chi'n aros. Mi wnawn ni fynd at Jenny yn gyntaf.

You're all too polite. You're waiting. We will go to Jenny first.

Yes, absolutely. I think, as I said earlier, it would be—. Not to redo the strategy in any way, because that took quite some time to pull together, so, it's not about that. I think it's reviewing the strategy, is it still fit for purpose. I think particularly post COVID, post Brexit, climate change—all of the things that have come onto the agenda over the last two years, two quite dramatic years—since when the international strategy was launched, is it still—? Does it need to be reviewed and tweaked, or do the action plans accompanying it need to be reviewed and tweaked? I mean just simple things, like the fact that we're doing this online rather than face to face, all of those—. What are some of the practical aspects? And I think the international strategy was quite high level. There were some very specific things in it, but it was generally quite a high-level strategy. So, there is a need, I think, now to look at what has COVID and what has Brexit meant for, particularly the organisations we work with, the education sector and the arts and cultural sector. What has been the impact, and where do they need support in order to be able to go back to doing international work, to further develop their international work?

I think there's some sort of—. There needs to be a strategic view taken, but also, at a practical level, what can Welsh Government do to support organisations to get back when many of them have been struggling to survive: if they want to get back to the international arena, how can they do that? So, I think that for us is, rather than—. I'm not sure that there needs to be wholesale change, but it just needs to be reviewed, and does it still work?

11:00

Okay, thank you. Would anybody else like to come in?

Yes, just to say it's still fairly early days in terms of international strategy, and the fact, of course, it's been stymied by the pandemic has meant that a lot of the activities that would have taken place, we haven't been able to do. But, yes, as Jenny said, I think it's important to monitor it and see where there should be any kind of tweaking to it. But I think it should be only tweaking, really, at this stage. I think we still have to commit to some of those priorities that are in the international strategy, both in terms of the economic sectors, and there's reference there to research and education as key tools for implementing the strategy. So, yes, at this stage I would say, really, we need to try and implement the strategy and look at how we can actually develop it then.

Of course, they've got a couple of developments such as the Taith programme, and how that is actually going to be implemented alongside or within the strategy, and how those kinds of relationships with, from my point of view, European universities develop. We know also there are opportunities, even still, within Erasmus, to get involved in things like the Erasmus Mundus joint doctorates, joint Master's, Jean Monnet—I think about 20 per cent of Erasmus can actually be spent in a non-Erasmus country, and how that sits alongside the Taith programme is something that I think we'll need to monitor within the remit of international strategy, as well as more general Global Wales activities in Europe.

Mae Charles eisiau dod mewn. O, Jenny—

Charles wants to come in. Oh, Jenny—

Is it on this point, Jenny?

Thank you. Very briefly, I agree absolutely with what Jenny and Berwyn have said. I would say perhaps that it's more about contextualising the international strategy and adapting it to the new context. The point I raised earlier about there perhaps being less funding than we may, potentially, have been planning for for cross-border co-operation, and how does that fit with the delivery of the international strategy—the strategy intersects a lot of our work, so when you talk about cementing Wales as a fair nation and talking about fair trade, well, what does that mean? You need to think about what that looks like in the current context, because it's actually very difficult for us to advocate for the well-being goals in the current institutional set-up we have for developing trade policy in the UK. I think a big part for us around the well-being goals is that, if you look at it from one way, when we were members of the EU we had access to a whole different channel of opportunity structures to promote the well-being goals, because the EU tends to engage far from perfectly, but it engaged with stakeholders on establishing what trade meant, so we had those opportunities to talk about equality, human rights, about the environment and arts and culture. Now, this has been pulled back to the UK, and we'd hope that, having it closer to home, we'd be able to engage more closely on that, but we've actually seen the opposite happen, and a lot of discussions are taking place in trade advisory groups that are locked behind non-disclosure agreements, and civil society really don't have any seats at the table. So, again, in the context of implementing the international strategy, what does that mean for us? It's quite a different context, I think, than when it was drafted, and it probably needs looking at again in terms of its deliverability. 

That's interesting, thanks. I know that Jenny wanted to come back in on, I think, something that Berwyn was saying, and then I know, Ben, that you want to come in as well. 

Just very briefly, yes, in terms of things like Erasmus+, there's still £100 million coming out this coming year to be spent for Erasmus+, so there are still real opportunities for organisations to engage with Europe. I think, in terms of the strategy, one of the things that could be looked at as well, particularly where funding or resources are limited, is where are those links, where are those crosses? I think there's an opportunity to perhaps tease out some of these links. So, for example, the link between innovation and higher education is to make some of those links more explicit, so how can higher education drive innovation and business? Where are those business-higher education links that can develop an international profile and international partnerships? So, I think that there is an opportunity there, perhaps, if you review to see where those cross-sectoral links are that perhaps could be drawn out more. 

Diolch, Jenny. Ben, if I could ask for as brief an answer as possible—we'll need to move on in a moment, but I know you've been very patient. 

Yes, okay. I guess the one thing we'd want to raise, really, was just making sure that some of the activity that replaces those channels that Charles talked about in terms of engagement opportunity offer the same breadth of opportunity for people and for community groups that the predecessor did. I guess particularly around the Taith programme, we'd be looking to ensure that it was a wide range of opportunities for young people from a whole range of educational and non-educational settings, and that community groups are involved in other similar programmes where those things can be forged.

11:05

Thank you so much. We are into our final five minutes of our scheduled time. Would it be all right with witnesses if we ran over by a couple of minutes or so, if that's all right? Thank you so much. I promise we'll try and keep it to as close to the scheduled time as possible.

Fe wnawn ni symud yn olaf at Hefin David.

We'll move to Hefin David, finally.

Can I just ask: have you had much interaction with the new representative to the EU that's been recently appointed?

Yes. So, Derek Vaughan was actually in Wales House last week, and so we had meetings with him. So, we've been filling him in on where we are in terms of Horizon Europe, which really is a cornerstone for the context in terms of our relationship as higher education here in Brussels, as well as, of course, the new Taith programme. Those are—. Part of his remit is to promote those, so we want to make sure that he's fully informed of our engagements with those programmes, our concerns, our issues, as well as any examples of where we are participating in those programmes, and hopefully will be participating in those programmes. I've raised some of the issues that the sector is already facing in terms of the delay in signing off the association of Horizon, for example, and I've given him some examples that have been fed to me by European officers in universities about some of the problems that they are encountering now that that association hasn't yet been signed off. So, it's important for him to get awareness of those.

We've also been doing some work with the grouping in the European Parliament, the friends of Wales grouping, so I'm hoping that Derek Vaughan—. He is an ex-MEP, and was always very supportive when he was an MEP here of the higher education sector; he was always able to come and support any of the promotion work that we were doing here. So, hopefully, he'll be able to open some doors for us and get us to some of the decision-making officials here so that we can get our voice heard at those levels.

Okay, that was pretty comprehensive. Jenny or Charles, have you got anything to add to that? Do you want to add anything? No, okay, that's fine. Chair.

Ocê. Diolch yn fawr. Mae gennym ni dair munud ar ôl, oedd yna unrhyw beth arall?

Okay. Thank you very much. We have three minutes remaining, was there anything else?

Was there anything else burning that anyone wanted to add to anything that's been said? I can't see anyone wanting to jump in. That's fine. Well, in that case—.

Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am y dystiolaeth y bore yma. Mae nifer o'r pynciau rydych chi wedi codi—rwy'n siŵr y byddwn ni'n awyddus i edrych mewn iddyn nhw yn fwy. Rwy'n siŵr y byddwn ni mewn cysylltiad â chi eto i ofyn am fwy o wybodaeth hefyd mewn amser. Bydd transcript o'r hyn rydych chi wedi'i ddweud yn cael i anfon atoch chi i'w wirio. Ond, fel rwy'n dweud, rwy'n siŵr y byddwn ni fel pwyllgor yn awyddus i gario ymlaen i weithio gyda chi. Mae'r sesiwn y bore yma wedi bod yn ddechreuad ar drafodaeth, dim o unrhyw ffordd yn ddiwedd ar hynny. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi, ac edrychwn ymlaen at weithio gyda chi i gyd dros y misoedd a'r blynyddoedd sydd i ddod. Ond am nawr, fe wnawn ni ddweud hwyl fawr.

Aelodau, byddwn ni'n torri am egwyl fer tan 11.20 a.m. Diolch yn fawr i chi eto am eich tystiolaeth y bore yma. 

Thank you very much to all of you for the evidence this morning. A number of the issues that you've raised—I'm sure we'll be eager to look into in further detail. So, I'm sure we'll be in touch with you again to request additional information in due course. A transcript of what has been said this morning will be sent to you to check for factual accuracy. But I'm sure that we as a committee will be eager to continue work you. This session this morning has been a beginning of a conversation, not an end in any way. So, we look forward to working with you over the coming months and years. But for now, we will bid you farewell.

Members, we will break for a short break until 11.20 a.m. Thank you very much again for your evidence this morning. 

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 11:08 ac 11:22.

The meeting adjourned between 11:08 and 11:22.

11:20
4. Ymchwiliad undydd i Gysylltiadau Rhyngwladol: Chwaraeon, diwylliant a’r celfyddydau (rhyngwladol)
4. One day inquiry on International Relations: Sports, culture and arts (international)

Croeso nôl i'n sesiwn undydd ar gysylltiadau rhyngwladol. Byddwn ni nawr yn symud at ein sesiwn olaf y bore yma, sef chwaraeon, diwylliant a'r celfyddydau yng nghyd-destun gwaith rhyngwladol. Croeso i'r tystion. Mae gyda ni ddau o'r tri thyst gyda ni ar hyn o bryd; dŷn ni'n aros i geisio cael gafael ar Siân Lewis o'r Urdd. Mae hi yn brysur yn ceisio ymuno gyda ni, ond mae problemau technegol ar hyn o bryd. Ond os yw Siân yn gallu bod gyda ni, bydd hi gyda ni cyn gynted ag sy'n bosibl.

Mi wnaf ofyn i Noel yn gyntaf i gyflwyno'i hunan, plis, ar gyfer y cofnod. 

Welcome back to our one-day inquiry on international relations. We'll now move to our final item of the morning, which is focused on sports, culture and the arts in the international context. A very warm welcome to the witnesses. We have two out of three witnesses with us at the moment. We're trying to assist Siân Lewis as she attempts to join the meeting, but she is having technical issues at the moment. She will hopefully be with us as soon as possible. 

I'll ask Noel, first of all, to introduce himself for the record. 

Good morning. My name is Noel Mooney, and I'm the chief executive officer of the Football Association of Wales, responsible for running the game of association football in Wales.

Thank you very much, Noel.  

Ac, Eluned, os gallaf ofyn i chi gyflwyno'ch hunan, plis.  

And, Eluned, if I can ask you to introduce yourself as well, please. 

Bore da. Eluned Haf, pennaeth Celfyddyau Rhyngwladol Cymru, asiantaeth ryngwladol Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru. 

Good morning. I'm Eluned Haf. I'm the head of Wales Arts International, an international agency of the Arts Council of Wales. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Ac, eto, ar gyfer unrhyw un sydd yn gwylio, dŷn ni'n aros—mae Siân Lewis o Urdd Gobaith Cymru yn ceisio ymuno â ni hefyd. 

Mi wnaf i symud yn syth at y cwestiwn cyntaf. Beth dŷch chi'n meddwl ydy'r ffyrdd gorau y byddem ni fel pwyllgor yn gallu cael yr effaith fwyaf yn y maes rhyngwladol yn ein gwaith dros y pum mlynedd nesaf, os gwelwch yn dda? Pwy bynnag sydd eisiau mynd gyntaf. 

Thank you very much. And, again, for anyone who is watching, Siân Lewis from Urdd Gobaith Cymru is trying to join us as we speak. 

I'll move straight to the first question if that's okay. How do you believe that the committee could best make an impact on the international arena in the next five years, please? Whoever wants to go first.

Fe wnaf i ddod i mewn gyntaf, os ydy hynny'n iawn, gan fod fy meic i'n agored. 

I'll come in first, if that's okay, because my microphone is open. 

Mae wedi bod yn drafodaeth ddifyr iawn, wrth ddilyn y sgyrsiau yn gynharach y bore yma. Dwi yn meddwl bod yna waith pwysig iawn i'r pwyllgor yma o ran sgrwtineiddio ar draws y materion rhyngwladol. Mae'r drafodaeth ynglŷn â chydweithio ar draws sectorau wedi codi, a hefyd y cwestiwn o ran Gweinidog rhyngwladol. Dwi'n meddwl bod hyn i gyd yn bwysig iawn, ac yn barod, byddwn i'n dweud, mae cael pwyllgor fel hwn, sydd yn cynnwys 'rhyngwladol' yn rhan o'r gwaith diwylliant ynddo'i hun yn bwysig—ac efallai'n bwysicach oherwydd nad oes yna ddim Gweinidog penodol ar y funud. 

Wedi dweud hynny, mae'r statws mae Prif Weinidog Cymru, Mark Drakeford, yn dod ag o i'r prosiectau y mae'n rhan ohonyn nhw yn hynod bwysig. Mae o yn mynd i fod yn lansio 'blwyddyn ffocws ar Gymru' yn Celtic Connections sydd gennym ni y prynhawn yma, ac, wrth gwrs, mae hynny'n denu sylw ynddo fo'i hun hefyd. Mae yna gwestiwn ynglŷn â sut ydyn ni'n mynd i fod yn gallu cael partneriaeth ar draws y sectorau, dwi'n meddwl. 

Yr ail beth hoffwn i godi ydy'r pwysigrwydd a'r brys sydd yna i ailfeddwl ein gwaith rhyngwladol ni ar draws yr holl feysydd. Ac mae yna bedwar prif beth sydd yn gefndir i hyn, mewn ffordd. Dŷn ni wedi bod yn trafod hyn es cyn y refferendwm ar adael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd. Wrth gwrs, mae COVID wedi amlygu pethau yn anferthol, ac yn ystod y ddwy flynedd diwethaf mae'r ffocws wedi cael ei roi ar gydraddoldeb yn dilyn Black Lives Matter, We Shall Not Be Removed, ac mae ymgyrchoedd cymdeithasol rhyngwladol eraill yn hynod bwysig. Ond, wrth gwrs, yr un mawr sydd efallai'n ei gwmpasu fo i gyd ydy'r argyfwng hinsawdd, ac mae'r agweddau ar gyfiawnder hinsawdd sydd wedi cael eu cyffwrdd arnyn nhw y bore yma yn faes ofnadwy o bwysig. 

I'r celfyddydau, dwi'n meddwl beth dŷn ni'n edrych arno fo ydy sut dŷn ni'n gallu creu'r hinsawdd gywir i gael diwylliant yn rhan o'r trafodaethau yma, ond hefyd i ddiwylliant gymryd ei gyfrifoldeb, fel ein bod ni'n gallu cyrraedd y targedau 2030 uchelgeisiol sydd wedi dod, a hynny'n rhan o saith nod y Ddeddf llesiant. 

It's been a very interesting discussion, listening to the previous sessions this morning. I do believe that there is important work for this committee to do in terms of scrutinising international affairs. The discussion with regard to collaboration across sectors has arisen, and also a question with regard to having a Minister for international relations. I think this is very important, and already I think that having a committee like this, which includes international relations as part of culture, is very important—and perhaps more important because there is no dedicated Minister in this area at the moment. 

Having said that, the status that the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, brings to these projects is very important. He's going to be launching a focus year on Wales in Celtic Connections this afternoon, and that draws attention in and of itself. There's a question in terms of how we can draw together partnerships in terms of the sector, I believe. 

The second issue that I'd like to raise is the importance and the urgency in terms of rethinking our international work across all areas. There are four main things that are the background to this. We have been discussing this since before the referendum on exiting the EU. Of course, COVID has underlined all of this work, and over the past two years the focus has been placed on equality with regard to Black Lives Matter, We Shall Not Be Removed, and other international social campaigns are very important. But, of course, the major one that perhaps encompasses all of it is the climate crisis, and the aspects of climate justice that have been touched on this morning are very, very important.  

With regard to the arts, what we're looking at is how we can create the right environment to ensure that culture is part of these discussions, but also that culture can take its own responsibilities so that we can reach the 2030 ambitious targets as part of the seven well-being goals. 

11:25

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Eluned, a tra'r oeddech chi'n siarad, gyda llaw, roedd Siân Lewis wedi gallu ymuno â ni. Mae'n ffantastig i gael chi gyda ni y bore yma, Siân. Y cwestiwn roeddwn i'n gofyn—a dim ond Eluned sydd wedi siarad hyd yn hyn; dŷn ni ddim wedi clywed gan Noel chwaith—oedd: yn y maes rhyngwladol, beth yw'r ffyrdd gorau y byddem ni fel pwyllgor yn gallu ceisio cael dylanwad yn ein gwaith ni dros y pum mlynedd nesaf? Oedd unrhyw beth roeddech chi eisiau ei ychwanegu at hynna? Wedyn gwnaf i ddod at Noel, ond Siân yn gyntaf. 

Thank you very much, Eluned, and whilst you were speaking, by the way, Siân Lewis was able to join us. It's wonderful to see you this morning, Siân. The question that I asked—and Eluned is the only one who's contributed so far; we haven't heard from Noel either—was: in terms of the international arena, how can we as a committee best have an impact, an influence, in our work over the the next five years? Was there anything you wanted to add to that? Then I'll come to Noel, but Siân first of all. 

Dwi'n cael ychydig o broblemau yn dy glywed di ar hyn o bryd. Wyt ti eisiau cychwyn efo Noel, wedyn dof i nôl, sori, Delyth? 

I'm having problems hearing you at the moment. Can you start with Noel and then come back to me, sorry, Delyth? 

Iawn, dim problem o gwbl. Noel. 

Yes, no problem. Noel.

Thank you very much. From our side, again, I want to echo the words of Eluned, which is the importance of and the opportunity for this committee to make a real difference, which I think is great. I'm delighted to be invited here to speak a bit on football and a bit on sport, really, because having spent the last 10 years with UEFA, which is one of the largest sports organisations on the planet, one thing that we became really aware of was that to drive mass communications and mass audiences, sport is really, really important. At UEFA, we had the Champions League that had an absolutely enormous global audience. There were villages in Africa gathered around the television looking at the city, wherever was hosting the Euros. If you went into a bar in Asia or anywhere, that's what they were looking at, where the Champions League final was, where the Euros were. So, we were used to attracting huge audiences for our competitions. 

So, one of the things that this committee, because it has sport and culture and international relations together, really should do is to have a laser focus on the big things that will move the dial for Wales on the world stage, because you can have loads and loads of small things and not penetrate. The reason why the countries that really want to make an impression give so much time and put so much effort into hosting things like mega events is because they know the difference it makes to their country. There are examples such as the holding of the World Cup in Russia. It did a lot, funnily enough, for Russian culture, I suppose, and for Russian—. A lot of people—? Many people went there, but the whole world saw them. And I think, for a while at least, it helped their image globally. They were seen as very accepting on the world stage. Obviously, recent events have taken a turn, but the World Cup was massive for them, and many countries when they're hosting the Euros or a World Cup or a Champions League see a big change. 

For Wales in 2016, just playing in the Euros—. I wasn't here at the time, but I got to many of the Wales matches down in France, and you knew something very special was happening to the nation on the global stage. Just to give you an example of numbers, a Euros final has about 400 million watching it live around the world. If you compare that, for example, to a Rugby World Cup final, which is 40 million, you're talking about 10 to one just in numbers from a global sport like football that has eyeballs on it.

So, what this committee can do where, I think luckily for us, it links sport, culture and international relations—. The countries that win things have a really clear focus on what they're trying to do, and that's why you see certain countries win a lot of events. The concern I have here is that we're not laser focused in what we're going out into the world to try and get. There is discussion around it, but we don't have a real, clear strategy of what we want, so I'm hoping that this committee can, with the likes of our partners like Sport Wales and the departments behind you, have a laser focus on what you're trying to do, what you're trying to get, and let's really go and win them, because you can't be half in and half out. If you're going to win a World Cup or to win the Euros or a Champions League, or whatever the competition is—I can only speak from a football perspective—the country needs to decide it really wants this, has everyone behind it, and go and get it. If you fuddy-duddy around, you don't get these things—it's the ones that are confident and clear in what they want to do as nations. So, I think this committee really must decide on the things it wants to get out into the world, and really go and get them, rather than being kind of in and out.

11:30

Diolch am hwnna, Noel. Siân, ydych chi'n gallu'n clywed ni'n ocê nawr?

Thank you for that, Noel. Siân, can you hear me now?

Nac ydw. Mae e rili yn dawel iawn, so dwi'n cael problem pigo lan ar y sgwrs, a dweud y gwir, i bigo lan beth oedd Noel a beth oedd Eluned yn dweud. Fe wnaf i drio fy ngorau i ddilyn—ymddiheuriadau am hyn. Wyt ti eisiau jest ailadrodd y cwestiwn eto, Delyth, achos doeddwn i braidd yn gallu clywed beth oedd yr atebion?

No. It is very, very quiet. I'm finding it difficult to follow the conversation, in terms of what Noel and Eluned have been saying. I'll try my best to follow—apologies for this. Could you just repeat the question, Delyth? I could barely hear what the answers were.

Ie, siŵr. So, yn y maes rhyngwladol, beth ydy'r ffyrdd gorau, ydych chi'n meddwl, y byddem ni fel pwyllgor yn gallu cael dylanwad?

Yes, of course. In the international arena, how best would the committee be able to influence these issues?

Dwi'n meddwl, o safbwynt yr Urdd, mae'r Urdd wedi dod mewn i'r elfen ryngwladol yma yn ddiweddar iawn. Mi oedd yr Urdd yn rhyngwladol actif, fel maen nhw'n dweud, flynyddoedd yn ôl, ar gychwyn eu cyfnod nhw, ond dim ond yn y tair blynedd diwethaf—a dwy flynedd o hwnna wedi bod yn COVID—y maen nhw wedi efallai ymgysylltu ac ailgydio yn y gwaith rhyngwladol. Dwi'n meddwl mai beth sy'n bwysig i ni fel sefydliad ydy ein bod ni'n ymgorffori ac yn gofyn i'r Llywodraeth sicrhau bod pobl ifanc a iaith yn rhan bwysig o'r hyrwyddo rhyngwladol sy'n digwydd gan Gymru, achos dŷn ni'n anfon ein pobl ifanc ni o'r Urdd i fod yn llysgenhadon gwych i hyrwyddo'n diwylliant a'n hiaith ni. Ond mae'n rhaid i hwn, o bosib, gael ei blethu mewn i strategaeth lawn y Llywodraeth, er mwyn i ni fanteisio ar sut mae Cymru'n wahanol a beth gallwn ni fod yn ei wneud.

Mae'n newyddion da i glywed eich bod chi wedi lansio'r rhaglen Taith heddiw, achos bydd hwnna'n hyrwyddo llawer mwy o gyfleoedd i bobl ifanc. Ond mae'r pwyslais nid yn unig ar bobl sydd am astudio, ond hefyd y gwaith ieuenctid, a gall yr Urdd fod yn bartner cryf yn y gwasanaeth yna, o sicrhau'r cyfleoedd yna i bobl ifanc, a hefyd pobl ifanc o gefndir cwbl ddifreintiedig, i fod yn rhan o'r ymgysylltu yma. Felly, dwi'n meddwl mai ymgorffori iaith a diwylliant yw'r rhan annatod a lle liciwn i fod y Llywodraeth yn mynd o ran eu blaenoriaethau nhw, ynghyd â'r gwaith da sy'n digwydd yn barod o ran hynny, a'n bod ni'n grymuso'n pobl ifanc ni i fod yn llysgenhadon gwych ar gyfer y dyfodol, oherwydd, o fewn y strategaeth ryngwladol, cyfleoedd i oedolion sydd yno'n fwyaf ar hyn o bryd—sut y mae hwnna’n mynd i allu datblygu ar gyfer y dyfodol.

Well, I think, from the Urdd's point of view, the Urdd entered the international arena very recently. The Urdd was internationally active years ago, at its beginning, but it's only over the past three years—and two years of that has been COVID—that we've been trying to pick up the reins in that regard again. I think what's important for us as an organisation is that we ask the Government to ensure that young people and language are an important part of the international promotion of Wales, because we send our young people to be excellent ambassadors to promote our culture and our language. But this has to be intertwined into the Government's strategy, so that we maximise the opportunities in terms of Wales's uniqueness and what we can do.

It's good to hear that the Taith programme was launched today, because that is going to provide far more opportunities to young people. But the emphasis is not just on study, but on the youth work aspect of this, and the Urdd can be a part of that, to ensure that there are opportunities for young people, particularly those young people who are from deprived backgrounds. They need to be part of this strategy. So, I think incorporating language and culture are key, and I think that the Government should be prioritising this, as well as the good work already being done in that direction. But we should empower our young people to be excellent ambassadors for the future, because within the international strategy there are primarily opportunities for adults at the moment, so we need to develop that further for the future.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Siân. Mi wnawn ni symud at Heledd Fychan.

Thank you very much, Siân. We'll move to Heledd Fychan.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Bore da, bawb. Dwi'n gwybod y bydd hyn yn wahanol o ran y tri ohonoch chi, ond os ydyn ni'n edrych yn benodol ar elfen ryngwladol eich ymgysylltu chi â Llywodraeth Cymru, pa mor effeithiol ydy hynna, ac oes yna ffyrdd y gellid ei wella?

Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone. I know that this will be different in terms of the three bodies that you represent, but if we look specifically at the international element of your engagement with the Welsh Government, how effective has that engagement been and could it be improved?

Pwy bynnag sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf, os ydych chi eisiau codi eich llaw—. Siân.

Whoever wants to go first, if you want to raise your hand if you want to contribute. Siân.

Ers 2019, rŷn ni wedi efallai ail-greu ac ailgysylltu â'n strategaeth ryngwladol ni. Ac mae'n rhaid i mi gydnabod, heb gefnogaeth Llywodraeth Cymru, ar hyn o bryd, fyddem ni ddim wedi gallu ehangu'r ddarpariaeth yna i lle rŷn ni heddiw. Rŷn ni'n plethu i mewn gyfleoedd i'n pobl ifanc ni i hyrwyddo'n diwylliant ni, drwy'r celfyddydau a chwaraeon yn benodol. A thrwy'r gefnogaeth rŷn ni'n ei chael gan Lywodraeth Cymru rŷn ni wedi creu partneriaid newydd yn Iwerddon, yn Alabama, ym Mrwsel, yn Awstralia, yng Nghamerŵn, Japan, Philadelphia, Norwy ac Efrog Newydd, dim ond yn y tair blynedd ddiwethaf.

Mae'r rôl sydd gan Lywodraeth Cymru i'w chwarae yn benodol ar gyfer hyrwyddo'r neges heddwch, yr ymgysylltu rŷn ni'n ei wneud â'r brifysgol yn Alabama ar hyn o bryd, a hefyd efo'r ymgysylltu newydd efo TG Lurgan yn Iwerddon. Beth sy'n bwysig o'n rhan ni a'r gefnogaeth rŷn ni'n ei chael ydy nid yn unig ein bod ni'n hyrwyddo'r cyfleoedd i  fynd â'n pobl ifanc ni allan i fod yn llysgenhadon gwych, ond ein bod ni hefyd yn denu pobl ifanc mewn i Gymru er mwyn iddyn nhw ddysgu am ein diwylliant ni mewn ffordd naturiol a byw. Ac yn sicr, mae cefnogaeth Llywodraeth Cymru a'r weledigaeth o ran y neges heddwch—eleni, bydd y Prif Weinidog yn dod allan efo ni i Norwy i hyrwyddo'r neges heddwch—yn rhan bwysig. A gobeithio, fel ro'n i'n sôn ynghynt, efo'r cyhoeddiad heddiw ar gyfer y cynllun Taith, rŷn ni'n mynd i allu ehangu ar ein gorwelion ni ymhellach, i roi mwy o gyfleoedd gwirfoddoli y tu hwnt i'r gwaith rŷn ni'n ei wneud o fewn strategaeth Llywodraeth Cymru.

Since 2019, we've recreated and reconnected with our international strategy. Without the Welsh Government's support currently, we wouldn't have been able to expand that provision to where we are today. We do intertwine opportunities for our young people to promote our culture, through sports and culture primarily. And through the support from the Welsh Government we have created new partners, in Ireland, Alabama, Brussels, Australia, Cameroon, Japan, Philadelphia, Norway and New York, in the past three years alone.

The role that the Welsh Government has to play specifically in terms of promoting the message of peace and goodwill, the engagement that we undertake with a university in Alabama at the moment, and the new engagement programme with TG Lurgan in Ireland. What's important in terms of the support that we have is not only that we promote the opportunities for our young people to be excellent ambassadors, but that we also attract young people into Wales so that they can learn about our culture in a natural and live way. And certainly, the support of the Welsh Government and the vision in terms of the message of peace and goodwill—this year, the First Minister will be coming out with us to Norway to promote that message of peace and goodwill—are an important aspect. And hopefully, as I said earlier, with the announcement today in terms of the Taith programme, we're going to be able to expand our horizons further, to provide further volunteering opportunities to young people beyond the work that we already do within the Welsh Government strategy.

Diolch. Mae bod wedi cael datblygu partneriaeth dair blynedd strategol, ffurfiol efo'r Llywodraeth wedi gwneud gwahaniaeth anferth i ni. Mae wedi sicrhau swyddi dros gyfnod o dair blynedd, ond hefyd mae wedi golygu ein bod ni'n gallu edrych lot yn fwy dwfn i mewn i'r sector rydyn ni'n ei ariannu a sut rydym yn gweithio'n wahanol mewn cyfnod gwahanol iawn wrth gwrs.

Fel rhan o'r cyngor celfyddydau, rydyn ni'n rhan o ariannu portffolio o 67 o gyrff, sydd eu hunain efo strategaethau mawr, cryf a phartneriaethau rhyngwladol, felly. Hoffwn i ddim am eiliad feddwl mai jest gwneud o i ni ein hunain ydym ni—dydyn ni ddim. A hefyd, byddwn i'n dweud bod partneru efo'r Llywodraeth ar yr un llaw wedi ein galluogi ni i fedru gweithio’n well o gwmpas rhai o’r prif themâu ac o gwmpas y blynyddoedd—er enghraifft yn yr Almaen y llynedd, neu baratoi blwyddyn Cymru yng Nghanada eleni, a Ffrainc y flwyddyn nesaf—ond hefyd mae wedi rhoi mwy o hyder inni fedru cydweithio ar draws y sector diwylliannol efo partneriaid gwahanol sydd yma heddiw a thu hwnt. Mae hefyd wedi ein galluogi ni i fedru cario ymlaen efo’r gwaith o gefnogi artistiaid unigol a phobl lawrydd i wneud y gwaith pwysig. Mae, er enghraifft, ymgyrch Pethau Bychain, y gwnaethom ni ei lansio'n rhan o Ŵyl Ddewi y llynedd, yn un rydym yn ei bwsio drwy'r byd. Ond o ran pwysigrwydd medru gweithio gyda'r Llywodraeth mewn gwledydd, alla i ddim pwysleisio digon ar hynny, ond hefyd, wrth gwrs, efo asiantaethau'r Deyrnas Unedig fel y British Council a chynghorau celfyddydau y pedair gwlad.

Dwi'n meddwl mai un o’r pethau penodol sy’n bwysig inni ei ystyried ydy nid yn unig ein bod yn gweld Cymru fel rydym ni eisiau gweld Cymru, ond sut mae Cymru’n cael ei gweld o weddill y byd. Mae’r cwestiwn o gwmpas perceptions yn un anferth, ers cyn refferendwm Brexit. Ond dwi yn meddwl bod gan y brand 'Cymru' rywbeth newydd, diwylliannol i’w gynnig o fewn agenda llesiant. Ac mae enw Cymru, o ran gwlad fach sy’n blaenoriaethu llesiant ac yn arwain efo'n gwerthoedd, yn dechrau torri drwodd. Felly, dwi'n meddwl bod hwnnw hefyd yn rhan o’r gwaith i ni a'r fantais o fod yn gallu cydweithio yn llawer nes efo nid yn unig Llywodraeth Cymru, ond yr asiantaethau eraill y maen nhw'n eu hariannu'n strategol.

Thank you. Being able to develop a formal, strategic three-year partnership with the Welsh Government has made a major difference to us. It has guaranteed jobs over the past three years, but it's also ensured that we've been able to look far more deeply into the sector that we fund and how we work differently at a very different time of course.

As part of the arts council, we fund a portfolio of 67 bodies, which themselves have major strategies and international partnerships. So, I wouldn't like for a second to think that we're doing it just for ourselves—we're not. We're all doing it for those organisations as well. Also, I would say that while partnering with the Government on the one hand has enabled us to work better around some of the major themes and around the themed years—for example, Germany last year, or preparing Wales's year in Canada this year, and France next year—it's also given us more confidence to collaborate across the cultural sector with different partners here today and beyond. And it has also enabled us to continue with the work of supporting individual artists and freelancers to do this important work. For example, the Pethau Bychain campaign that we launched as part of St David's Day last year is one that we're pushing worldwide. As to the importance of being able to work with the Government in countries, I cannot emphasise that enough, but also, of course, working with UK agencies such as the British Council and the arts councils in the four nations.

I think one of the specific things that is important for us to consider is not just that we see Wales as we want to see Wales, but how Wales is perceived globally. The question of perceptions is a huge one, since before the Brexit referendum. But I think that the 'Wales' brand has something new and cultural to offer within the well-being agenda. And Wales's reputation as a small nation that prioritises well-being and leads on the basis of our values is starting to cut through. So, I think that is also part of the work for us and an advantage of being able to collaborate much more closely with not only the Welsh Government, but the other agencies that they fund strategically.

11:35

Thank you. We launched our strategy last September, called Our Wales, Ein Cymru, and one of the strategic pillars is Wales on the world stage. And that is about, as I mentioned earlier, hosting a mega-event to put the eyes of the world onto Wales specifically. We also want to host other events—we're in for the under-19 Euro tournament in 2026, to celebrate our one-hundred-and-fiftieth year.

We talk about the Welsh language; it's very important to us here. We've very much bought into the million speakers by 2050 of the Welsh Government. We've got a Welsh language and cultural group we've just formed in the FAW to really put the Welsh language—. I know, and everyone knows, that our supporters are very proud of the language and the culture. They do it without us. I've been to bars around Europe with them and everyone's speaking in Welsh in the bar in Tallinn or in Prague. It's amazing to see how much they love their language and their culture. But we will drive that out through a lot more communications in the coming months and years ahead. That said, we're working with Visit Wales; we're workshopping with them right now on how Welsh football can support Wales in its global image. I think that's important to say. 

We talk about language, I mean, you get into a taxi in Sidney or Rio or anywhere around the world, people will tend to know the name of Gareth Bale, and, increasingly, Jess Fishlock, I hope, and Sophie Ingle, because our women's team has been sensational over the last few months in connecting with people in Wales, but hopefully more and more around the world as we get more success from the female side. 

So, there's a global language and that, thankfully, is football, and we want to tap into that by connecting, and how we do that is: what are we good at? So, what Wales is really good at is coach education. Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Roberto Martínez—the manager of the best national team in the world—have come to Wales, and they send their managers to Wales to become coach education coaches. So, we've had a lot of requests from nations around the world for us to share information with them on the coach education side.

I want to go back to what Eluned said about the well-being Act of 2015—future generations—because, having come here from Switzerland, when I was studying that, I was really taken aback by that piece of legislation by Wales. You should be super proud of it, and what we want to do soon is, with FIFA—we're launching our sustainability strategy—in the football world, bring that Act to the world, to the 211 nations of FIFA, in an online forum where the Welsh Government can present that to the 211 countries, because it inspires our sustainability strategy, and we believe it's thought leadership in Wales on sustainability that can position us very well. We in the Football Association of Wales—. The reason I'm here is to lead us to become the best football association in the world, and to believe that we can be, across all the different areas, like high performance, women's football, governance—you name it. We wish to be the best, and we do need this committee to support us on that journey—so, between our players' recognition, between our USP, which is coach education, between our big promotion of the Welsh language, between our work with Visit Wales, between our ambassadorial work around the events, and, for me, on top of all that is really hosting mega-events here and making sure the eyes of the world are on Wales.

11:40

Thank you, Noel, or go raibh maith agat, I should say. In terms of what you touched upon—the potential there—I think we'd be really interested to know, or I personally would, in terms of that conference and any learning from that. So, that would be interesting in the future.

You touched upon how important those major events are. Is there anything more from Welsh Government that would support you in this work to be able to take messages further or further support you as well, and I can apply that, then, to Eluned and Siân?

Thanks, Heledd. To be more specific, we're about to come to the end of a feasibility study on whether we should host, or bid to host, the 2030 FIFA World Cup or the 2028 or 2032 UEFA Euros. For us, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, really, for Wales, because it would be done in partnership with Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and England. So, it would be five nations, as it stands, in the feasibility study, bidding to host amongst the top two or three global events. I mean, the World Cup or Euros are in the top three global events, along with the Olympic Games. So, we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance coming, because Wales could not host the Euros or World Cup or Olympics on its own; we would need our partners. The time has come; it's kind of all come together in a perfect storm. So, all I would hope is that we're not half-hearted when that moment comes, and it could be in the next couple of weeks we will make the decision. If we're half-hearted, there's a good chance we'll lose. If we decide we really want to bring a mega-event to Wales and we decide to go full on to get it, my belief is that we will have a brilliant chance of winning it. In the current political climate, Wales will have a magnificent opportunity to host it. So, I just hope that when we make that announcement of what we're going to do, based on politics and based on economic return from the competitions—I think that's quite soon—that this committee will get right in behind this and really put Wales onto the world stage.

Diolch am hynny, Noel. Eluned a Siân, bydd rhaid inni symud ymlaen ymhen rhyw dair munud neu rywbeth fel yna. Os gallwch chi fod mor gryno ag sy'n bosibl—dwi'n gwybod bod hwn yn bwnc pwysig iawn—ond os gallwch chi fod yn eithaf cryno, byddwn i'n ddiolchgar, plîs.

Thank you for that, Noel. Eluned and Siân, we will have to move on in three minutes or so. So, if you could be as succinct as possible—I know that this a very important topic—but if you could be relatively succinct in your response, I'd be grateful.

Ie. Os caf i ddod i mewn, dwi'n cytuno'n llwyr am bwysigrwydd cael tîm Cymru at ein gilydd ar draws portffolio diwylliant.

Yes. If I can come in, I agree entirely about the importance of bringing team Wales together across the culture portfolio.

And I'll switch to English if I may, at this point, because I do think that the experience of having hosted, in music, the world music expo, WOMEX, back in 2013, was a really important milestone for us. The landscape has changed. We've got to be really aware of the perils as well as the opportunities that have come on the back of the exit from the European Union, and perceptions in particular. We have set up, with support from Welsh Government, Scottish Government and the Arts Council of England, Arts Infopoint UK, which is to help with information provision for artists and companies coming into the UK to navigate all the restrictions and the perception issues that are emerging for international artists coming in. And COVID has just added to this, but also has maybe put issues on ice for a couple of years, so those issues are only starting, really.

I do think there are issues also around targeting funding streams that have not been delivered on the back of having exited from the European Union—so, for example, the Creative Europe programme. There have been all sorts of discussions, in the same way that Taith was launched this morning, about an equivalent programme for culture, and I do think that should be kept on the agenda, as it is in other parts of the UK as well.

Diolch, Eluned. Siân, oedd unrhyw beth roeddech chi eisiau ychwanegu?

Thank you, Eluned. Siân, was there anything that you wanted to add?

Ie. Y pwynt byr yw bod partneriaeth yn hanfodol. Rŷn ni'n gweithio efo Eluned ac efo'r FAW a'r British Council yn barod fel ffordd o bartneru. Rŷn ni'n defnyddio swyddogion Llywodraeth Cymru ar hyd y byd i wneud y cysylltiadau yna i bobl ifanc. Mae e wedi cael ei godi'n barod, ond mae'r team Wales approach yn hanfodol, ac efallai fod eisiau gofyn i Lywodraeth Cymru gydlynu mwy o gyfleoedd lle mae llawer mwy o drafodaethau yn digwydd, a thrwy hynny, gallu cynllunio yn fwy effeithiol fel partneriaid sydd yn cefnogi ein gilydd ar gyfer hwn. Felly, yn sicr, rwy'n cytuno â sylwadau Eluned a Noel.

Yes. A short point: partnerships are vital. We work with Eluned and the FAW and the British Council already as a partnership. We have benefited from the officials that Welsh Government have worldwide to make those connections for young people. It's already been raised, but the team Wales approach is vital, and perhaps we need to ask the Welsh Government to co-ordinate opportunities where discussions take place, and through that, we can plan more effectively as partners that support each other for this. So, certainly, I would agree with the comments made by Noel and Eluned.

11:45

Diolch am hwnna, Siân. Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas.

Thank you for that, Siân. We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.

Thank you. What engagement have you had with the Welsh Government's overseas offices?

We've had considerable relationships with the different offices. It varies in size and scale, obviously. One of the closest relationships, I guess, as you'd imagine, is the office in Dublin, and that was the last significant international experience we had when we had to pull 45 of our artists out of the Wales week in Dublin as Ireland was going into lockdown, which was a dramatic experience. We've worked intensively also with offices in China and in Japan and in India in particular, and also, naturally, with the office in Brussels, which has been, in a way, some sort of an extension from our work across the piece in the past—I think that might be changing now—and more recently, the office in Montreal, looking towards the year of Wales in Canada. I do think that there's an opportunity to support those offices, and it is important to work through the other structures as well, including the UK embassies. Generally, our experience has been a very positive one, but we'd love to have more support for the cultural side, naturally.

Oedd unrhyw un arall eisiau dod i mewn?

Does anybody else want to come in?

Just from the Urdd's point of view, again, like Eluned said, there are very positive relationships. We're in our infancy, possibly, with these relationships, certainly during the last two years. But Japan, with the cultural mission, we're very much engaged with the contacts there. With Canada, there are discussions now on how the Urdd are going into Canada in 2023 and providing an opportunity for young people to engage. I know that there are discussions with our international officer and those officers—the Welsh Government in Canada. North America: very active discussions happening with the offices in New York, in Philadelphia and in Alabama with regard to different visits that will be happening with our young people over there. And Dublin, of course, with the TG Lurgan connection. We were over there actively with Eluned Morgan last year—or two years ago now, rather—and that partnership has been continuing and flourishing as well. Those engagements have been vital, and yes, we're always supportive of any further contacts, but so far, very positive.

On this one, I must say we're quite limited in our interaction. I just checked here, because I wasn't aware of interaction we've really had with international offices. To be honest, I think when we go to the Euros, like in France, we will certainly have liaised with the office there, but it's quite limited and on a needs-be basis; it's not done collectively. One thing I'd love to see is—I haven't seen it—is the actual strategy for international relations by the Government; I haven't studied it, but we'd love it if there are workshops going on, building to be part of that, and to have more interaction with international offices if possible.

Your plea will have been noted there, Noel. Thank you. Carolyn, we'll have to move on in a moment, but was there anything else extra that you wanted to ask?

Ocê. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.

Okay. Thank you very much. We'll move on to Alun Davies.

Diolch yn fawr, a diolch ichi am y drafodaeth y bore yma. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi gosod eu strategaeth ryngwladol, ac mae hynny i fod i yrru gwaith y Llywodraeth yn ei chyfanrwydd yn ystod y blynyddoedd nesaf. Beth sydd ddim ynddo fe? Dŷn ni'n trafod elfennau gwahanol o'r strategaeth ryngwladol, ond mae gen i ddiddordeb os ydych chi'n meddwl bod yna rywbeth ar goll, a beth ddylai Llywodraeth Cymru fod yn ei wneud nad ydyn nhw'n ei wneud. Ble fasech chi'n gosod blaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei gwaith rhyngwladol, yn eich meysydd chi, yn amlwg, yn ystod y blynyddoedd nesaf?

Thank you very much and thank you for this morning's discussion. The Welsh Government has set out its international strategy, and that is supposed to drive the Government's work in its entirety over the next few years. What is missing from the strategy? We're discussing different elements of the strategy, but I'm interested in whether you believe that there is something that isn't captured, whether something is missing. What should the Government be doing, what shouldn't it be doing, and where would you set the Welsh Government's priorities in its work in your particular fields of endeavour over the coming years?

Efallai y dof i mewn yn gyntaf yn y fan yma, a diolch am y cwestiwn. Dwi'n meddwl mai un o'r pethau y byddwn i'n hoffi gweld yn cael ei ddatblygu ar y strategaeth ydy edrych ar ochr nid yn unig diaspora Cymru'n rhyngwladol, ond ochr diaspora rhyngwladol yng Nghymru, a faint o'r byd sydd yn byw a bodoli, a faint o ddiwylliannau sydd yn hyfyw o fewn ein cymunedau ni, ac ieithoedd amrywiol hefyd. Felly, dwi'n meddwl bod yna gyfle i gysylltu, ac efallai mai moment mewn amser ydy hyn hefyd o ran beth sydd wedi bod yn digwydd dros y cyfnod diwethaf. Mae hyn yn rhan annatod o broses rydyn ni'n ei galw'n ddadgoloneiddio'r celfyddydau, a hefyd ei wneud o'n berthnasol i bob cymuned ac i bawb yng Nghymru o ran proses democratiaeth ddiwylliannol, os liciwch chi.

Ond i edrych ar y strategaeth yn benodol hefyd, dwi'n meddwl bod yna ardaloedd penodol lle gallwn ni fod yn ailymweld o gwmpas yr argyfwng hinsawdd, i fod yn targedu, fel oeddwn i'n sôn yn gynharach, o gwmpas meysydd llesiant, a'r rhwydweithiau sydd wedi codi yn sgil hynny, a gallu blaenoriaethu, efallai, rhai o'r rhwydweithiau hynny'n benodol. Mae'r partneriaethau efo'r Deyrnas Unedig yn rhai pwysig. Fel y gwnes i sôn yn gynharach, dwi'n meddwl ein bod ni angen cael y sgwrs ynglŷn â beth ydy brand Cymru a sut mae brand Cymru'n eistedd ochr yn ochr efo brand GREAT, er enghraifft, sydd ddim bob amser wedi bod yn un mor bositif â hynny i ni yma yng Nghymru.

Dwi yn meddwl bod edrych ar ein gwerthoedd ni ar draws—. O glywed y sgyrsiau y bore yma o ran yr ochr fasnach a'r ochr fasnach deg a chyfrifoldeb bydol, mae angen inni gwmpasu'r gwerthoedd hynny a'u rhoi nhw i mewn yn ddyfnach efallai yn y gwaith rhyngwladol. Mi ydyn ni'n cael cyfle i wneud hynny yn y celfyddydau ar hyn o bryd, ond megis dechrau ydyn ni. Ond dwi'n meddwl bod gyda ni gyfrifoldeb i fod yn sicrhau ein bod ni'n cario holl gymunedau Cymru efo ni a dod â'r gwerth yna nôl ar draws yr holl sectorau, fel roedd Siân yn ei ddweud, i bobl ifanc, gymaint â phawb arall, i greu dinasyddion o'r byd yma.

Perhaps I'll come in first here, and thank you for the question. I think one of the things that I would like to see in any development of the strategy is looking at not just the Welsh diaspora internationally, but the international diaspora here in Wales, and how many cultures are vibrant, living entities in our society, and different languages. So, I think there's an opportunity to engage on that, and I think it's a moment in time in terms of what's been happening over the recent period. I think this is a vital part of the process that we call decolonisation of the arts and culture, and that we should make it relevant to every community and everyone in Wales in terms of the cultural democratic process, if you will.

But looking at the strategy specifically, I think there are specific areas that we could revisit in terms of the climate crisis, to target, as I said earlier on, areas with regard to well-being and the networks that have developed as a result of that, and prioritising, perhaps, some of those networks specifically. I think that the partnerships with the United Kingdom are important. As I said earlier, I think we need to have the conversation about what the Welsh brand is, how that brand sits alongside the GREAT brand, which is UK wide and hasn't always been that positively perceived here in Wales.

I think that it's important, looking in terms of our values and hearing the discussions this morning on trade and fair trade and global responsibility, that we need to encompass all of those values and incorporate them more deeply in our international work. We do have an opportunity to do that in the arts at the moment, but that work is just beginning. I think we have a responsibility to ensure that we do take all of the communities of Wales with us and bring that value back across all of the sectors, as Siân said, for young people, as much as anyone else, to create global citizens here in Wales.

11:50

Pwy fyddai eisiau dod i mewn nesaf ar hynny?

Who'd like to come in next on that? 

Jest i ategu beth mae Eluned yn ei ddweud. Mae fy nghefndir i efallai ychydig bach mwy, yn naturiol, yn rhan o'r gwaith rhyngwladol, portffolio rhyngwladol Llywodraeth Cymru, ers blynyddoedd. I ni, y negeseuon rydyn ni'n eu clywed nôl gan ein pobl ifanc yw jest i sicrhau ein bod ni'n ymgorffori iaith a diwylliant i bob agwedd ar y strategaeth ryngwladol. Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna'n hollbwysig i roi'r negeseuon cywir i'n pobl ifanc ni ac i bobl ifanc y byd. Ond hefyd i ddefnyddio ieuenctid Cymru i fod yn llysgenhadon ym mhob agwedd ar ein gwaith ni, oherwydd nhw yw cenhedlaeth y dyfodol; nhw fydd yn hyrwyddo Cymru yn y 10 i 20 mlynedd nesaf. Mae eisiau inni 'embed-io' hynny mewn i'r holl elfennau, dim jest y gwaith mae'r Urdd yn ei wneud, ond faint o bwyslais sydd ar gyfer yr oedran 18 i 25 o fewn y strategaeth. Mae yna gyfleoedd yna. Maen nhw'n bobl ddeallus, gwybodus sydd yn agored i'r byd ac yn barod i fod yn llysgenhadon. Felly, pwyslais ar bobl ifanc ym mhob agwedd a phwyslais ar ddiwylliant ac iaith, hefyd.

Just to endorse what Eluned said. Perhaps I've been more focused, naturally, on the international work of the Welsh Government. For us, the message that we hear back from young people is to ensure that we incorporate language and culture in every aspect of the international strategy. That's vital to share the right messages for our young people and the young people of the world. But to use the youth of Wales to be ambassadors in every aspect of our work, because they are the future generation; they will be promoting Wales in 10 or 20 years to come. So, we need to embed them into all elements of the work the Government is doing, not just the Urdd's work, and we need to ensure that there is an emphasis on the 18 to 25-year-olds within this strategy. There are opportunities there. They're intelligent, knowledgeable people who are open to the world and they're ready to be ambassadors for Wales. So, we should emphasise young people in every aspect, particularly with regard to culture and language.

I suppose I don't want to sound too biased, but I know the effect that these events have on a country and what they can do for a country, so all I would say is that the country should have a laser focus on hosting major sporting events to bring a lot of people here. Because when they come here, they'll fall in love with the place, there's no doubt about that, like I have. If you can get people into this country, they'll love it. So, if you can get an event that brings a lot of people here, we have a great chance of bringing them back many more times. So, I would really urge the Government to make a decision on what they want to host and get behind it.

Does the Government, Noel—? I don't know if the FAW has a view on this. I was in France for the Euros back then, and it was an extraordinary event with the numbers of people supporting the team. I'm wondering if the Government does enough to piggyback on those sorts of activities. There was some work around the Rugby World Cup across in Japan a few years ago, which seemed to work, although the Government were very anxious not to provide us with any targets or objectives or anything like that so we could hold them to account. But I'm interested to understand—. We've got the play-offs coming on now next month and hopefully we'll get through to Qatar later in the year. There will be people, as you said, from all around the world there, and I'm interested to understand whether you would begin conversations with the Welsh Government about any activity that they would wish to promote in the country when Wales qualify for the world cup.

11:55

Yes, very much so. For example, we've got meetings in London, with Wales Week coming up, with directors from major companies about investing into Welsh football—people we've identified. With the world cup, the world of business almost descends on wherever it's hosted, so the most powerful people in the world are there during that period, and there's absolutely no reason, whilst we're there, why we shouldn't have meetings with these people and present Wales and be very proud to do that. I mean, you could look at Germany in 2024, hopefully we're there, and what a great opportunity that would be for Wales to connect and to present itself to Germany, which is obviously an industrial powerhouse—what a chance that would be. If we get to host, of course, in 2028 or 2030 or whatever it is, a tournament here, what an opportunity that is to have the Government in and around that.

We've got, as I said, the 2015 legislation here. As somebody who came across it a bit more recently, I was really delighted for the country and for the people here that you have the future generations Act. That's something we should be very proud of here and we should be talking to the world about that. I mentioned earlier about the FIFA online conference, to sell that to the world, what Wales has. Every country has these discussions, I assume, about what they have, and in Wales, we have to identify the few things that really stand out and make us special. The well-being Act, for me, is one of the things that would, for example. To me, it's a very special movement that should be celebrated by the Welsh Government, so it's always great to hear Siân talking about it, because it's a wonderful, wonderful movement.

But specifically, when it comes to a tournament, I fully agree, Alun, that we should have a much more strategic approach to wherever we're going in the world. The eyes of the world are on that and we should really make hay while the sun shines, as they say, and make sure that we're properly—. It's not just about the team; that will be taken care of. The players will be there on the pitch, they will have their boots and they'll be playing. We should make sure that off the pitch, we're really driving the Welsh Government forward. So, I hope that wherever the Euros are, or world cup is, we have set up meetings around Welsh Government to promote the interests of the nation, you're right.