THE WORK OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
PREVENTION AND POST CONFLICT RECONSTRUCTION [SIXTH REPORT, SESSION
46. The Committee's Report on Conflict Prevention
and Post Conflict Reconstruction drew, in part, on the Committee's
examination of humanitarian crises which were the direct consequence
of wars such as Sudan and Kosovo, and from the Committee's visits
to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda in 1998 and to FYR Macedonia and Albania
in 1999. Throughout the Committee's existence, it had become clear
that issues associated with conflict permeate all areas of development
policy. The inquiry was one of the longest conducted by the Committee,
lasting over 18 months. A great deal of evidence was gathered
by the Committee both through written and oral evidence
and in the course of the Committee's visits.
47. The final Report was extremely wide-ranging covering
issues from arms exports and private security firms to the policies
of the World Bank and IMF, and the use after conflict of truth
and reconciliation commissions.
48. The Government, in a very positive response,
welcomed the Report and the Committee's interest in this "difficult
and highly complex area". Since the publication of the Government
response, a number of further developments should be noted.
49. First, the Government response noted that initial
conflict impact assessments were being conducted in Ghana, Sri
Lanka and Uganda and that further work was planned in Sierra Leone
and Kosovo. Since that time, the assessments of Sierra Leone and
Kosovo have been dropped and a new "conflict assessment"
project is underway examining four case studies: Moldova, Nepal
and Sri Lanka (which have now been completed) and Kyrgyzstan.
Secondly, the Government announced in July that funds would be
allocated for conflict prevention in Africa, to be managed by
a Ministerial Committee headed by the Secretary of State for International
Development, and for the Rest of the World, managed by a Ministerial
Committee chaired by the Foreign Secretary. The new arrangements
will come into effect in April 2001 for a period of three years.
50. In its Report, the Committee expressed disappointment
that legislation to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal
Court had not been introduced in Parliament and recommended that
it be included in the legislative programme of the next session.
Subsequently, draft legislation to enable ratification was published
on 25 August 2000 and, in the Queen's Speech on 6 December 2000,
the Government committed itself to introduce a Bill to ratify
the statute of the International Criminal Court ensuring that
the UK would be among the first sixty states to ratify. The Government,
in its memorandum, also provided further information on post-conflict
reconstruction in Rwanda which was examined by the Committee in
51. The Committee also made a number of recommendations
with regard to the private sector and conflict prevention.
Since the publication of the Government response, DFID has begun
to take part in a series of discussions with the FCO and the US
State Department to develop a code of conduct for businesses in
the oil and mineral extractive industries specifically addressing
best practice in risk assessment and risk reduction, the relationship
between companies and public security services and guidelines
on the use of private security companies. Elsewhere, whilst the
Home Office has published proposals for updating the UK law on
corruption and the bribery of public officials, no Bill has, as
yet, been introduced despite the recommendation of the Committee.
The Committee supported the recommendation of the Foreign Affairs
Committee which called for the Government to pursue both unilateral
and multilateral measures to bring the activities of non-governmental
military companies under some form of legislative control. The
Government, in its response, made a commitment to publish a Green
Paper on mercenary activity by Autumn 2000.
The Department in its memorandum, stated that "The FCO ...
has indicated its intention to publish the Green Paper by November
2000". However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has yet
to publish a Green Paper on mercenary activity.
52. Since the publication of the Report, the Committee
has maintained an interest in the issue of conflict prevention.
Committee representatives have attended DFID conferences on Security
Sector Reform and Military Expenditure and an open day on DFID's
Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department. It should also be
noted that the Committee has returned to a number of issues raised
in the Report: the policies of the World Bank and the IMF in our
inquiry into the Prague 2000 Annual Meetings of the Bank and Fund;
the issue of trade in the Committee's inquiry into the WTO; the
issue of corruption in the Committee's current inquiry on that
subject; and Government policy on strategic export controls in
the course of the Committee's joint inquiry with the Defence,
Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry Committees.
AND DEVELOPMENT [SEVENTH REPORT, SESSION 1998-99]
53. As with the Committee's Report on Conflict
Prevention and Post Conflict Reconstruction, the Committee's
Report on Women and Development was necessarily broad and
wide-ranging. The Report concluded that the overarching aims of
development assistance the eradication of extreme poverty
and the access of all poor people to their human rights
could not be achieved without special attention to the nature
and causes of women's poverty. The Report drew on a wide range
of written and oral evidence and on the Committee's visit to Bangladesh,
India and Pakistan (which, between them, contain more than a third
of the world's poor). The Report discussed a number of elements
which are central to strategies to eliminate gender imbalances
in development: access to basic education, gender-sensitive services
and resources for women's health, access to credit, the elimination
of discrimination and violence against women, and political will.
54. As with the Conflict Report, the Government very
much welcomed the Committee's Report and its interest in the issue.
Since the publication of the Report, DFID has published its target
strategy paper on "Poverty Elimination and the Empowerment
of Women" which reflected many of the concerns raised
by the Committee in its Report, but failed to acknowledge the
Committee's Report. The Government has informed the Committee
that plans are now well advanced for a comprehensive evaluation
of its support for gender equality. In Bangladesh, a new gender
strategy has been developed which, among other things, points
to the need for better data to support women's equality in that
country a recommendation made by the Committee.
The Government is also in the process of addressing gender concerns
through the media. A new media and conflict guide is about to
be published which includes guidance on mainstreaming gender in
this work and assessing impact.
FUTURE OF SANCTIONS [SECOND REPORT, SESSION 1999-2000]
55. The Committee's Report on The Future of Sanctions
examined issues relating to the humanitarian/developmental
impact of sanctions on developing countries and discussed proposals
to reduce both unintended consequences and unwarranted harm.
56. The Committee came to a number of conclusions
and recommendations about past and present sanctions regimes focussing,
in particular, on the comprehensive economic sanctions in place
against Iraq and on sanctions imposed on developing countries.
The Committee's Report also made suggestions to improve the effectiveness
and alleviate the humanitarian impact of sanctions by improving
procedures for information gathering, by providing technical assistance
to developing countries to improve their implementation of sanctions
regimes and by improving and expanding humanitarian exemptions.
The Report also made proposals for the targeting sanctions: on
financial assets and on other goods and services such as arms
57. The Report was widely disseminated and, following
its publication, the Committee was informed by a witness to the
inquiry that its conclusions had been discussed in a special session
of the Security Council on Sanctions. The Government response
to the Report was, on the whole, positive although it rejected
Committee suggestions that insufficient effort was being expended
by the Government effectively to implement financial sanctions
noting that, in the UK, it is the responsibility of financial
institutions to ensure that targeted accounts are frozen and up
to them to decide which systems they wish to use to achieve this
end. The Committee concluded that elements of the Government response
were disappointing and continued to demonstrate a "somewhat
in the targeting and monitoring of sanctions.
58. One problem encountered by the Committee in this
inquiry was that vital UN officials were not allowed to give oral
evidence to parliamentary select committees. In this instance,
the Committee was able to work around this by taking evidence
in private from Hans Von Sponeck, the then UN Humanitarian Coordinator
in Iraq, and by taking public evidence from Claude Bruderlein,
a 'Special Advisor' to the UN and from Ambassador Robert Fowler
Canadian Ambassador to the UN but also Chairman of the
Angola Sanctions Committee. The Committee believes that this issue
the accountability of UN agencies requires further
consideration. At present, UN rules prevent their officials from
giving evidence to national parliaments. We have, however, previously
mentioned the willingness of the heads of certain UN bodies, and
other multilateral organisations, to give evidence to the Committee.
There is some confusion in this area which the UN could usefully
35 Sixth Report from the International Development
Committee, Session 1998-99, Conflict Prevention and Post-Conflict
Reconstruction, HC 55-I, paras 110-138 Back
Sixth Special Report from the Committee, Session 1998-99, Government
Response to the Sixth Report from the Committee, Session 1998-99:
Conflict Prevention and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, HC 840,
p. xix Back
Seventh Report from the International Development Committee, Session
1998-99, Women and Development, HC 160-I, para. 32 Back
Second Report from the International Development Committee, Session
1999-2000, The Future of Sanctions, HC 67, para. 142 Back