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Select Committee on International Development Fourth Special Report


FOURTH SPECIAL REPORT

The International Development Committee has agreed to the following Special Report:—

ECGD, DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES AND THE ILISU DAM: FURTHER REPORT

The International Development Committee reported to the House on ECGD, Developmental Issues and the Ilisu Dam: Further Report in its Fifth Report, Session 2000-01 (HC 395), published on 4 April 2001. The Government Response to that Report was received on Wednesday 9 May 2001. It is reproduced as an Appendix to this Special Report.

APPENDIX: GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE COMMITTEE'S REPORT

ECGD, DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES AND THE ILISU DAM: FURTHER REPORT

I am pleased to attach the Government's response to the comments made in the Committee's report into "ECGD Developmental Issues and the Ilisu Dam" published on 29 March 2001.

The response seeks to address the Committee's interpretation that the Ombudsman's report into the exchanges between the FCO and the DTI/ECGD confirmed the Committee's notion that FCO advice did not extend to the more general issues of human rights and conflict in the region.

Please advice me if you have any further observations or comments that the Committee might wish to make.

Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Trade

9 May 2001

International Development Committee's Fifth Report "ECGD, Developmental Issues and the Ilisu Dam", March 2001

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO IDC REPORT OF 29 MARCH 2001

The Government does not accept the Committee's interpretation that the Ombudsman's report appears to confirm the Committee's suspicion that FCO advice on human rights was limited to the issue of resettlement and did not extend to the more general issues of human rights and conflict in the region. The Ombudsman's summary of the exchanges between FCO and DTI/ECGD refers to advice being given by the FCO to DTI on policy towards the Kurds, human rights abuses in south east Turkey and, in the context of briefing for the then Minister for Trade's visit to Turkey in May 1999, detailed background on the general issue of human rights in Turkey. The Government response (published on 24 October 2000) to the Committee's report of 12 July 2000, and Mr Richard Caborn's letter of 24 January 2001 to the Chairman of the Committee made clear that the FCO had stressed the importance of environmental, social and regional issues, including the human rights implications for the local population, particularly as regards resettlement, loss of property and compensation.

The Government welcomes the Ombudsman's conclusion that the Government had, to a very considerable extent, already recognised the degree of public concern raised by the Ilisu Dam and responded to it. The Government also welcomes the Ombudsman's conclusion that the ministerial and official correspondence should not be released, in order to protect the confidentiality of the decision making process. The Government was happy to agree to the release of the Ombudsman's summary of the exchanges between FCO and DTI/ECGD.

The Committee recommended that the FCO should provide ECGD with an analysis of the human rights implications of every project for which ECGD is considering cover. As the Government response (published on 24 October 2000) to the Committee's report of 12 July 2000 made clear, it is now part of ECGD's Mission to take account of the Government's international policies on sustainable development, human rights, good governance and trade, whilst furthering its core aim of benefiting the UK economy by assisting exports and investment overseas. In December 2000 ECGD published Business Principles to guide its business practice and policies in relation to matters such as human rights, sustainable development, developing countries, business integrity and transparency. A new Impact Questionnaire is now being used to screen applications for potential environmental, social and human rights impacts. A formal mechanism has been established to ensure that Other Government Departments, including FCO are fully consulted on sensitive cases.


 
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