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Column 260Title :--Visiting lecturers
Description :--Tours of Polish management schools by invited British specialists
Status :--To be implemented
Title :--Fishery management
Description :--Three month programme at Hull for Polish fishery managers
Title :--Farmer/Co-operatives training
Description :--Identification and implementation of training programme for managers of cooperatives
Title :--English for management
Description :--Identification visit
Title :--Management libraries
Description :--Provision of basic library of management texts to key Polish educational institutions
Title :--WK & AM consultants
Description :--Assessment of potential productivity improvements at three Polish plants
Title :--Financial seminars
Description :--Raising the awareness of how Western financial institutions work
Title :--Electricity sector
Description :--Reconnaissance mission
Title :--IBRD social security mission
Description :--Secondment of two United Kingdom experts to an IBRD mission to look at the social aspects of economic adjustment Status :--Underway
Title :--Blood plasma
Description :--Feasibility study for establishment of a blood fractionation plant
Title :--Data Processing
Description :--Adaption of Polish econometric model to meet IMF specifications
Title :--Economic Adviser
Description :--Appointment of a macro-economic adviser to the Minister of Finance
Title :--Equipment for Ministry of Finance
Description :--Provision of office machinery
Status :--To be implemented
Title :--Post-experience training for journalists
Description :--Academic plus practical attachments
Status :--To be implemented
Column 261Title :--Local government assistance
Description :--Preparation for local government elections in June Status :- -Underway
Title :--Seminars for Polish MPs
Description :--Introduction to British parliamentary concepts Status :-- Completed
Title :--Media training
Description :--Training organised by BBC World Service
Status :--To be implemented
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has yet met heads of non-governmental organisations involved in humanitarian aid projects in Cambodia to discuss the details of further United Kingdom aid disbursements in Cambodia ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I met representatives of British non- governmental organisations on 14 November to discuss further Government support for their humanitarian activities in Cambodia. Another meeting at official level will take place early in the new year to follow up the recent visit of British officials to Cambodia.
Mr. Gerald Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultations Her Majesty's Government have undertaken on the problem of flooding in Bangladesh ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : The Government hosted an international conference at Lancaster house on 11-12 December at which the Bangladesh Government and all major bilateral and multilateral aid donors to the country were represented. The meeting was chaired by the World Bank. The meeting endorsed an initial five-year flood action plan prepared for the Bangladesh Government by the World Bank. The plan recommends a staged approach to dealing with the flooding problem in Bangladesh, and emphasises the need to identify structures that are economically and technically viable and also socially and environmentally sound. The plan starts with a series of further detailed studies and pilot activities. Some of the studies would examine specific regions of the country which are affected by flooding to devise area specific solutions. The others would establish general guidelines for the conduct of the whole programme, and include pilot work on critical aspects such as river training, flood modelling and compartmentalisation.
One or more donors offered finance for each of the study and pilot activities recommended. The United Kingdom will take the lead in one of the regional studies (in the north-west), and three major supporting studies ; and will participate in a number of other activities under the programme. The World Bank has agreed to co-ordinate this ambitious multi-country effort, and the flood action plan, which extends for an initial five years,
Column 262will be reviewed every two years and defined in more detail as the studies proceed. The cost of the studies and the initial works that they are expected to identify is tentatively estimated at some $650 million. On the basis of this initial work it will be possible to take informed decisions on a possible comprehensive programme of flood control and development, which would be a much longer-term objective.
I believe that the conference took a major step forward in initiating a programme which offers the hope of a major reduction and alleviation in the devastation which flooding can bring to Bangladesh. Her Majesty's Government and the other Governments and agencies represented intend to push the programme forward energetically. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister for visiting the conference and discussing its work with participants.
Mrs. Chalker : The main outstanding issues in the negotiation were settled at the fifth ACP/EC ministerial negotiating meeting in Brussels on 25-27 November. After further discussions, both sides subsequently confirmed their acceptance of the final outcome. The way was thus clear for signature in Lome on 15 December. As soon as the finalised text of the new convention has been received a copy will be laid before Parliament.
The general framework of ACP/EC co-operation is largely unchanged under Lome IV. The main features of the new convention are as follows :
(a) Duration : Lome IV is of 10 years duration (ie it expires 29 February 2000) with provision for review after 5 years. Financial resources will continue to be provided on a 5 yearly basis so Lome IV will be covered by two five-year European Development funds (EDF).
(b) New ACP members : The applications by Haiti and the Dominican Republic to join Lome IV were accepted. Namibia will also be welcome to join Lome when it becomes independent and if it wishes to do so.
(c) Financial package : Lome IV contains a financial package of up to 12 billion ecu (around £8.5 billion). This comprises 10.8 billion ecu (around £7.7 billion) under the seventh European Development Fund (EDF VII), an increase of 46 per cent. over the previous EDF, and up to 1.2 billion ecu from the European Investment Bank's (EIB) own resources. This financial package will cover the first five years of the new convention. The Community will also provide up to 165 million ecu over the next five years to member states' dependencies under an associated Council decision. This comprises 140 million ecu from EDF VII plus up to 25 million ecu from EIB own resources.
The EDF is financed by direct contributions from the member states and not from the EC budget. The UK contribution to EDF VII will be 1.79 billion ecu (around £1.3 billion) ; this is 16.37 per cent. of the overall sum. EIB own resources are raised on the capital markets of the world as part of its overall financial operation.
(d) Use of EDF :
(i) Aid projects and programmes : the bulk of EDF resources will continue to be channelled through national indicative programmes for each ACP state. Aid will be programmed in the same way as under Lome III, with a series of mutual commitments and obligations
Column 263designed to maximise the effectiveness of the aid provided. Rural development is likely to continue to be the focal sector of assistance for many countries. However, Lome IV places increased emphasis on industrial development and encouragement of private sector activity. Assistance will also be available in the form of finance for import programmes both from within national indicative programmes and from a separate earmarking which will be allocated on a selective basis throughout the next five years.
Investment support : specific support for investment and industrial development will continue to be available in the form of risk capital, managed by the EIB. This has been increased from 600 million ecu to 825 million ecu.
Stabex : (the arrangement for assisting ACP states facing shortfalls in their export earnings from a specified list of agricultural products). The Stabex provision within EDF VII is 1.5 billion ecu, representing a slightly increased share of the EDF. The system remains broadly the same as under Lome III, although a number of technical changes have been agreed.
Sysmin : (an arrangement which provides assistance to ACP states facing shortfalls in production or earnings from a specified list of minerals) : Sysmin also remains largely unchanged though the funds will now be provided to the ACP on grant terms. Its financial provision, at 480 million ecu, represents a slightly lower proportion of EDF VII than under EDF VI, reflecting the rate of take-up of available Sysmin funds in recent years.
Use of EIB Own Resources : the EIB will continue to provide loans, subsidised from the EDF, for investment activities in creditworthy ACP countries.
Trade Provisions : Lome IV contains further improvements to the already favourable Lome trade regime. These include improved access for a range of agricultural products and various improvements to the rules of origin designed to assist the ACP to develop processing and manufacturing industry. Substantial progress was made on the liberalisation of ACP rum access (rum is the only ACP industrial product still subject to quota restrictions). The EC agreed that the Council should take a decision by 1995 on how the quota should be abolished.
Bananas : the Banana Protocol has been retained coupled with a joint EC/ACP declaration that the interests of traditional ACP suppliers will be safeguarded should any modifications be made to the internal Community arrangements for bananas in the context of the completion of the single market.
Sugar : the sugar protocol is of indefinite duration and continues unchanged in Lome IV.
Toxic Waste : the EC has agreed to ban the export of all hazardous and radioactive waste to the ACP countries provided they ban imports from all countries.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told the House on 29 November that the United Kingdom intended to contribute $100 million to a currency stabilisation fund for Poland. It has now been agreed that these resources should be provided as a grant to the fund, which will total around $1,000 million. The fund will be available to support policies aimed at liberalisation of payments and transfers for current international transactions. It will complement resources provided by the International Monetary Fund to support an agreed programme of economic policy reform. The management of the fund will be agreed between the contributors and the Polish authorities. The fund is expected to become operational in January 1990 and to run for one year although it may be extended for a further period. Drawings on the fund will be limited and will be expected to be reconstituted. The contributors will discuss with the Polish Government how the balances remaining in the fund can most effectively be used to further assist economic reform in Poland.
The United Kingdom contribution will be part of the public expenditure provision for economic assistance to eastern Europe and is additional to and separate from the provision for overseas aid. Parliamentary approval of the new service will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Overseas Aid Vote (Class II, Vote 5). Pending that approval, the sterling cost will be met by a repayable advance from the Contingency Fund.