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11. Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact on indigenous and nomadic people in Africa of Government-supported conservation projects. 
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Clare Short: Britain has a large and growing programme of development assistance to India: we expect to spend about £125 million this year, rising to £140 million in 2001-02. This reflects the fact that about a third of the world's poorest people live in India, and we see good opportunities to work with reforming states to tackle poverty more effectively. We are supporting programmes of fiscal and public sector reform, to help improve accountability and access by the poorest to basic education, health, water and sanitation, and to promote better management of the natural and physical environment. Our programme is currently focused on Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal, and we are collaborating closely with the World bank, the Asian Development bank, UNICEF and other major development agencies. In all our programmes we take particular care to ensure the inclusion of poor women and girls and members of scheduled castes and tribes.
Clare Short: We expect to spend around £28 million on bilateral assistance to Russia in the current financial year. This is additional to the UK share of the European Commission's Tacis programme (our contribution to which is on average £12 million per annum) and as a shareholder of the World bank and EBRD. Our aim is to support the process of transition to a democracy and a market economy in a way which protects the people--particularly the poorest--during the transition and brings real benefits to the society.
Clare Short: In preparation for the Forum, my Department produced a consultation document, "Education for All: The Challenge of Universal Primary Education". Copies are available in the House of Commons Library. This document is being refined following the Forum but its threefold strategy for achieving the International Development targets for education will remain unchanged:
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Clare Short: Our development strategy for the West Bank and Gaza Strip concentrates on nation building with a view to promoting peace, stability and economic development. To promote economic development we are intensifying our policy dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, and with the European Community, the International Monetary Fund, the World bank and others and funding a programme which supports this. We are providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Economy and Trade, to strengthen its capacity to develop and apply economic policy, particularly with regard to trade with the EC and the region. Our programme also emphasises the importance of an accountable and transparent government framework in which private investors can operate. Our bilateral programme expenditure for 1999-2000 was approximately £8 million. Our contribution to the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian refugees and our share of European Community and other multilateral programmes for the Palestinians takes our average annual contribution to over £25 million in recent years.
Clare Short: We are supporting a wide range of programmes to improve the effectiveness of Government systems including policing the media and the accountability of the security sector. We have also contributed to disarmament and demobilisation programmes, humanitarian relief and reconstruction. We expect to remain engaged in Sierra Leone for the long term to support peace, disarmament and development for some of the poorest people in the world.
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Clare Short: So far, only six countries have qualified for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. A further three are expected to do so later this month. But it is disappointing that so few have reached their decision points. Some countries who could benefit from HIPC debt relief are involved in war and civil strife, or have failed to demonstrate their commitment to tackling poverty. At the spring meetings of the World bank and the IMF in April, the Government's proposal to establish a joint World bank/IMF committee to oversee the implementation process was agreed. The committee has begun its work and should provide a focus for efforts to meet the target that three quarters of eligible countries start to receive debt relief before the end of 2000.
21. Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department's aid to countries in sub-Saharan Africa to combat the spread of AIDS and HIV. 
Clare Short: Along with conflict, the HIV/AIDS epidemic poses the greatest threat to development in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV/AIDS has affected people of every class and culture in Africa. However, it is the poor who have felt the worst of the impacts because they are more vulnerable to the economic and social difficulties the epidemic brings.
We are heavily engaged in work to combat HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, both in seeking to prevent new infections and in supporting improved care for people whose lives have been affected by the disease. We currently allocate about £25 million per year to HIV/ AIDS prevention and care activities in sub-Saharan Africa and this is set to rise.
In the face of such a devastating epidemic, we cannot afford to be complacent and there is an urgent need to intensify action. In Uganda and Senegal we have seen how sustained political commitment by African Governments and a co-ordinated response in partnership with the international community has controlled and even reduced infection rates. This must be replicated elsewhere in Africa.
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