Select Committee on International Development First Special Report

Memorandum submitted by the Department for International Development


(Seventh Report 1998-99)

Progress in the development of conflict impact assessments

The DFID conflict assessment project is moving into its final phase, having completed three of the planned four case studies - Moldova, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The remaining activities include conducting the Kyrgyzstan case study and the preparation of a synthesis of main findings & draft guidelines for carrying out strategic conflict assessments.

Information on DFID/MoD/FCO co-ordination in the recently announced joint post-conflict fund

The recommendations of the Reviews on Conflict Prevention in Africa and the Rest of the World are being taken forward jointly by DFID, MoD and FCO. In July it was announced that funds would be allocated for conflict reduction 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 (headed by a Ministerial Committee chaired by the Foreign Secretary). The new arrangements will come into effect from the financial year 2001 for a period of three years. Officials from the concerned Departments are working on the accounting arrangements, procedures and priorities for the operation of the two initiatives. There will be further details in response to the Select Committee report on the Departmental Report.

An update on post-conflict reconstruction in Rwanda and the contribution of DFID, and of multilaterals to which DFID contributes

The UK remains firmly committed to supporting Rwanda's post conflict reconstruction. The Secretary of State visited Rwanda in May, her third visit in three years, to discuss progress on commitments made under the Memorandum of Understanding signed in April 1999. Progress has been good in a number of key areas including economic reform and reconciliation, but there are many challenges remaining, including regional security. Rwanda remains committed to the Lusaka peace process. However, their presence in the DRC, along with other Lusaka signatories, continues to attract international criticism.

On the economic front there has been a successful outcome to the IMF first review under the second annual Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement. In July, the IMF announced the release of US$ 12.5 million and the balance of DFID Programme Aid, £4.4 million was also released. Discussions are now underway between the Government of Rwanda and the IMF to agree targets for the 3rd year of the PRGF. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Process is also well advanced, with support from DFID totalling £1 million, so the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) decision point could be reached by late 2000. DFID is now proceeding with the design and appraisal of the next phase of DFID Budget and Education sector support for consideration by the Secretary of State in October.

Elections are planned for late October to elect non-party leaders at Commune level. This follows local non-party elections at Cell and Sector level, the lowest administrative level, in 1999. DFID is providing £350,000 to help establish the National Election Commission (NEC) and provide post election evaluation. Progress on work to develop the use of traditional, community-based justice systems, aimed at reducing the numbers of prisoners currently held without trial, has been slower than hoped, but following the October elections we would expect some progress in this area.

DFID has also provisionally agreed to provide support to the National Unity and Reconciliation Summit planned for later this year. The NURC was established to promote broad dialogue and co-existence amongst the Rwandese and is a key institution to help achieve reconciliation in Rwanda. The summit will involve Rwandan communities, national leadership and the international community to review the reconciliation process and the challenges ahead.

Progress in ratifying the Statute on the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Draft legislation to enable UK ratification of the ICC Statute was published for consultation on

25 August. The Government looks forward to receiving comments on the draft Bill from Parliamentarians, organisations and individuals before the end of the consultation period on 12 October. This process should help to ensure that the Bill, when introduced, is in the best possible shape.

The Government is committed to progressing this legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The proposed legislation will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Scottish Executive is bringing forward separate Holyrood legislation.

Effectiveness of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)

The Government supports the ongoing extension of the UNDAF process to all appropriate UN programme countries. We will press for greater depth and quality of the co­ordination achieved between UN agencies and with other donors through the UNDAF mechanism, since there is anecdotal evidence that this varies considerably from country to country. DFID will encourage UNDP, as the UN agency mandated to co­ordinate the UN's development efforts, to strengthen its co­ordinating role and to give as much priority to this work as to its programme delivery.

It will be important for the World Bank and the UN to work closely together to ensure that the UNDAFs, the Comprehensive Development Frameworks and the Poverty Reduction Strategies are coherent and complementary. DFID will continue to press them to do so.

Outcome of discussions between DFID and private sector representatives on codes of conduct and conflict situations

DFID has taken part in a series of discussions with FCO and the US State Department, to develop a code of conduct for businesses in the oil and mineral extractive industries. The code has been jointly drafted by NGOs and businesses, and addresses best practise in risk assessment and risk reduction; the relationship between companies and public security services; and guidelines on the use of private security companies.

DFID held a successful conference on Business and Peace at Lancaster House in May 2000 which brought together a wide range of participants, including from businesses, NGOs, governments and academia. DFID is now seeking to convene in­country round tables to promote similar dialogues between businesses, government and civil society in conflict prone countries.

Conclusions of the Global Citizenship Unit (GCU) on the role of business in conflict prevention and a copy of the manual on best practice for British companies operating overseas

No manual on best practice has been produced. The GCU, in consultation with DFID and other Government Departments, is finalising an introduction to corporate citizenship which will be less prescriptive than the document originally envisaged. It is due to be published by the beginning of next year.

Progress on the introduction of legislation to make the corruption of foreign officials a criminal offence

The Government is committed to the introduction of this legislation. The Home Office published proposals for updating the UK law on corruption in June 2000 which would involve clarification of the legal position and consolidation of the existing Prevention of Corruption Acts (1906 and 1917) and the earlier Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act of 1889.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation process, these proposals will be incorporated in a Bill which will be introduced when Parliamentary time allows. Consideration is being given to parallel changes to the law in Scotland which is now the responsibility of the Scottish Executive.

When enacted the law will include a clear definition of the concept of corruption and enable its application to both the public and private sectors. The law will have wider applicability and there will be no doubt under the law that it is an offence to bribe a foreign public official to further a business transaction. The Government has also proposed that, exceptionally, this offence should be subject to extra-territorial jurisdiction: that is corrupt acts by UK nationals will be subject to prosecution in the UK courts even if the bribe is paid abroad.

Progress on the production of the Green Paper on mercenaries

The FCO, as lead Department for this work, has indicated its intention to publish the Green Paper by November 2000.

Information on progress in obtaining more transparency and further reform of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, and on progress in control of trafficking and brokering.

The Government will continue to support the development and improvement as appropriate of the Code of Conduct during the annual reviews of its operation. In particular, the Government intends to encourage EU partners to apply the same level of transparency to their export licensing decisions and actual exports as the UK has done in its Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls. The Government will also continue to support the publication of consolidated Presidency reports on the outcome of the annual reviews. As noted in its response to the Committee's report, however, the Government would not expect such reports to contain details of denial notifications circulated by Member States or subsequent consultations, as the Code of Conduct specifies that these will remain confidential.

The Government has decided to introduce a system of licensing for arms trafficking and brokering. This will go significantly further than the White Paper on Strategic Export Controls proposals on trafficking and brokering. This means that weapons transfers organised between third countries from the UK will be subject to licensing requirement. Full details of the Government's proposals on trafficking and brokering will be set out when the Government announces its proposals for new export control legislation following conclusion of the current review of this White Paper.

SPHERE project & monitoring NGO activity in humanitarian crises

DFID continues to support the SPHERE project. The Humanitarian Charter and guidelines on Minimum Standards in Disaster Response have been finalised and published. This has been followed through by promoting international dissemination of the guidelines, piloting the standards in a range of operational situations and developing training.

DFID is funding a number of other initiatives aimed at promoting the accountability of humanitarian agencies, including the Humanitarian Accountability Project (formerly known as the Humanitarian Ombudsman Project). This project seeks to develop a mechanism to ensure that the concerns of people affected by conflict and disaster are heard by and acted upon by humanitarian agencies. The sensitivity of the humanitarian system to the needs of the people it serves will thereby be improved.

The DFID Guidelines on Humanitarian Assistance continue to request agencies to state, when submitting project proposals, whether they are signatories to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organisations in Disaster Relief and whether they are involved in any other quality or standards initiative. DFID is working on measures to support NGOs in improving their security standards, for example by funding country-specific security training courses.


This issue has been fully dealt with in the response Mozambique section of this memorandum.

Department for International Development
October 2000

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