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14. Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the priorities are for her Department's work on HIV/AIDS. [132194]

Clare Short: The HIV/AIDS epidemic is an unprecedented threat to development and a human tragedy of vast proportions. The fight against HIV/AIDS is a key priority for my Department. We continue to focus on prevention, but we also place great emphasis on reducing the personal, social and economic impact of illness and death caused by the disease.

Last year my Department spent over £53 million on HIV/AIDS work and a further £35 million on reproductive health. We will do more.

Globalisation and Development

16. Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what consultation she has carried out on her White Paper on globalisation and development. [132196]

Clare Short: We have consulted widely with organisations and individuals here and in developing countries as part of the preparation of the White Paper on Globalisation and Development. In March, an outline of the White Paper was sent out to key institutions and a website established. We invited submissions from interested individuals and organisations and we received a substantial number of thoughtful contributions. My Department followed up many of these submissions with meetings and discussions. In addition, I have chaired round-tables on globalisation and development with representatives of developing countries, and have held many other high-level seminars.

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St. Helena

17. Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on progress made towards providing an airfield on St. Helena. [132197]

Clare Short: The comparative study of air and sea access is currently underway. The study team visited St. Helena last week and we expect their draft report to be produced by the end of this year. The final report and its recommendations will then need to be considered and discussed with the St. Helena Government. The results of the study cannot be prejudged and no presumption can be made that it will lead to support being offered for the provision of an airfield.


18. Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Iraq following the withdrawal of UN officials. [132198]

Clare Short: The increase in the oil price will allow $16 billion to be spent on humanitarian needs in Iraq this year. Living conditions continue to improve in Iraq, in contrast to those parts controlled by Saddam Hussein. The Government of Iraq have also refused to co-operate with the preparation of an independent report of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, or to allow experts in to consider possible ways of using oil revenues to meet local costs. The UK provides some £6 million of bilateral humanitarian aid to Iraq through international organisations.


19. Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to support poverty reduction programmes in Cameroon; and if she will make a statement. [132199]

Clare Short: We are supporting poverty reduction in Cameroon in the forestry sector. Many of Cameroon's poorest people live in, and are dependent on, the forest zones for their livelihoods. We plan to intensify this by working closely with Government, civil society and other international agencies to support a sector reform programme. The UK supported Cameroon's bid for access to the heavily Indebted Poor Countries' initiative (HIPC). To ensure that the resources released are targeted on poverty reduction, we will continue to press for action to reduce the high levels of corruption and strengthen financial management in the public sector.


20. Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact which the availability of arms in developing countries has on the stability of those countries. [132200]

Clare Short: It is well known that the proliferation of small arms has a deleterious effect on stability in developing countries and that development cannot be sustained where there is instability. We are supporting projects that address the proliferation of small arms, including the reform of police and security forces, and have been active in developing a rigorous UK policy in

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connection with the UN Conference on The Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects which will take place in 2001.

Conflict Resolution

24. Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her Department's contribution to conflict resolution. [132205]

Clare Short: We are contributing to efforts to support conflict prevention, reduction and management world- wide, both through our development and humanitarian assistance programmes, and through our support to international institutions, most notably the UN and the EC.

We recognise that a reduction in armed conflict is an essential precondition for the achievement of sustainable development. We are pursuing a number of targeted strategies for conflict reduction and the promotion of sustainable peace in post conflict countries.

Arrangements are also in hand for the implementation of two new interdepartmental initiatives on Conflict Prevention to enhance collaboration between my Department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence. One will be for Africa--to be managed by a Ministerial Committee headed by myself; and the second for the Rest of the World--to be managed by a Ministerial Committee headed by the Foreign Secretary.


25. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to ensure that development assistance is not granted for the construction of dams whose effect would be to restrict the flow to countries downstream. [132206]

Clare Short: We are not currently involved in providing development assistance for dam construction but we understand the importance of dams for water storage, and the regulation of river flows. We also recognise the potentially negative effects of dams, including changes to downstream flow regimes. In this context both insufficient releases during times of low flow, and excess releases in times of flood, are of equal relevance. Both have potentially devastating effects on the lives and livelihoods of people living downstream. We look forward to the launch of the report of the World Commission on Dams, in London next month, for which we have contributed financial support. This will provide guidance on balancing the positive developmental benefits of dams, against the detrimental social and environmental impacts. It will inform any future assistance we may give on dams projects, and provide a basis for a position paper on dams and development that we will issue next year.

European Union Aid

26. Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in other European Union member states about the efficient delivery of European Union aid to developing countries. [132207]

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Clare Short: I frequently meet my counterparts from the other EU member states. We most recently met as a group at the May 2000 Development Council. My Under-Secretary of State attended a seminar in Paris in June to discuss reform with EU Development Ministers and officials and non-governmental organisations. I met the French Development Minister, Charles Josselin, in July to discuss plans for improving EC development policy during the current French Presidency of the Union. This issue will also be discussed at the next meeting of the Development Council on 10 November.

International Monetary Fund

27. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the activities of the IMF as they affect developing countries, following its annual meeting. [132208]

Clare Short: At the Annual Meetings, IMF Governors including the UK strongly supported the objective of making globalisation work for all and reaffirmed the importance of the IMF's role in developing countries. The IMF's key responsibilities are to promote international financial stability, contribute to the establishment of sound macro-economic and financial policies and encourages pro-poor economic growth. The Government particularly welcome the commitment to speed up progress in implementing the enhanced initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). We have strongly supported strengthening the link between the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and countries' Poverty Reduction Strategies. We also welcome efforts to improve collaboration between the IMF and the World bank. We will press for further progress in all these areas. We will also continue to encourage the IMF to take greater account of the relationship between stabilisation, structural issues, poverty and growth, and to support broad debate within countries about the design and impact of their policies.

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