|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
13. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on UK aid to east and central Africa. 
Clare Short: The purpose of UK development assistance is to help the countries of the region to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Where possible we support countries' own poverty reduction strategies, for example by financing work to help them to design and implement pro-poor economic and social policies, improve the quality of governance and tackle HIV/AIDS. In countries affected by conflict we support initiatives to reduce the threat and impact of conflict, and provide emergency and rehabilitation assistance. Total UK assistance to the region in
21 Nov 2001 : Column: 311W
200001 amounted to £516 million. Figures for the UK share of multilateral assistance are not yet available, but in 1999 this totalled £75 million.
15. Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to promote development and poverty reduction in Serbia. 
Clare Short: Following the resumption of our bilateral programme in October 2000, we moved quickly to support economic and social reform in Serbia, and to help safeguard the well-being of the poorest people in Serbia. During the winter of 2000 we provided £10 million of emergency aid. We also provided a grant totalling £8.4 million to pay arrears of welfare benefits for the poorest families. We are assisting the Serbian authorities to make key economic, social and governance reforms that are necessary for sustainable and equitable development and poverty reduction. We have supported the development of strategies for reform in privatisation, banking rehabilitation and health care. We have worked closely with the World Bank, with whom we are discussing a joint programme of support to social policy reform. We are funding the work of the Serbian Development Aid Coordination Unit, which is helping the government and donors to use aid effectively.
Our share of the EU's programme in Serbia in 2001 is £25 million. This is additional to the EU emergency programme, started before the fall of Milosevic, of which our share was £20 million.
We will shortly publish a Country Strategy Paper for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which describes our future plans for Serbia and Montenegro.
16. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is giving to the UN to enable the co-ordination of humanitarian relief to Afghanistan. 
Clare Short: We have set aside £40 million to respond to the current crisis affecting Afghans in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries. About £37 million has already been allocated to agencies for their work in the region to fulfil their humanitarian goals. This includes £24 million to UN agencies. Our financial assistance is complemented by the provision of technical personnel, logistical, material and other practical support.
Co-ordination of humanitarian assistance is the responsibility of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which has appointed a Regional Humanitarian Co-ordinator based in Islamabad. We have allocated £2 million to OCHA in response to the current crisis to support these efforts. This includes the provision of technical personnel who have set up a humanitarian information centre (HIC) to collate and communicate humanitarian information on the needs and programmes to all concerned agencies. This contribution is also being used to increase the capacity of the offices of the UN resident co-ordinators in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan; and to deploy personnel and equipment to support the UN in re-establishing its presence in Afghanistan.
21 Nov 2001 : Column: 312W
We have also provided £1 million to support the work of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, who is working to develop a consensus among Afghans and the international community on the future governance of Afghanistan.
19. Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. 
Clare Short: The humanitarian situation remains fragile. However, UN agencies, particularly the World Food Programme, and the Red Cross Movement continue to make good and steady progress in the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Afghanistan.
The World Food Programme met its target for October of delivering 53,000 tonnes of food into Afghanistan and Afghan staff have managed to keep supplies moving inside the country. The situation inside Afghanistan is changing rapidly. We will work with the World Food Programme to try to ensure that supplies continue to be delivered into Afghanistan and within the country.
26. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to ensure that aid going to Afghanistan is reaching Afghan refugees. 
Clare Short: My Department is channelling its humanitarian assistance to Afghans through international humanitarian organisations and non-governmental organisations with experience in the region and a track record to deliver. Our best assessment, based on information from a range of humanitarian agencies suggests that distribution systems inside Afghanistan have by and large continued to deliver to those in need.
There are good prospects for opening additional routes into the country, particularly with the changing political situation. We hope that the international organisations, particularly the UN and Red Cross, will be able to improve delivery of food, healthcare, and other assistance and that some of the internally displaced will be able to return home before the winter gets worse. Plans are now being made for their international staff to return as soon as possible. In addition, we hope that it will be possible to accelerate deliveries so that winter stockpiles can be built closer to the people who need them. However, such progress is dependant on improved security.
27. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to her oral statement of 1 November 2001, Official Report, column 1100, what proposals she has for the collection of unexploded cluster bomb ordnance by (a) the Halo Trust and (b) other organisations in the next 10 years. 
Clare Short: I announced an allocation of £2 million for immediate humanitarian mine action assistance to Afghanistan on 15 November. We expect this to include the clearance of unexploded cluster bomb ordnance. Our assistance will be channelled through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) with whom we will discuss appropriate requirements including projects with UK demining organisations, including the Halo Trust.
29. Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support the Government are planning to provide to de-mining operations in Afghanistan. 
21 Nov 2001 : Column: 313W
Clare Short: I announced an allocation of £2 million for immediate humanitarian mine action assistance to Afghanistan on 15 November. Our assistance will be channelled through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) with whom we will discuss appropriate requirements.
18. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of the connection between poverty and poor governance. 
Clare Short: Poor countries frequently suffer weak administrative systems, badly managed security sectors, corruption and weak economic management.
Without effective government, poor countries will not be able to achieve the millennium development goals. This argument is set out in our White Paper "Making Globalisation Work for the Poor" and has recently been elaborated in a strategy paper, "Making Government Work for Poor People". This describes the governance capabilities developing and transitional countries require to reduce poverty. Copies are available in the House of Commons Library and on DFlD's website.
20. Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her recent meeting with the presidents of Uganda and Rwanda. 
Clare Short: I refer the hon. Member to my oral answer earlier today to the question asked by the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) at columns 305-6.
21. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she next expects to meet the Secretary-General of the UN to discuss the effectiveness of UN humanitarian aid. 
Clare Short: I have no specific plans at the moment to meet the Secretary-General of the United Nations, but expect our paths will cross at one of the many forthcoming high level meetings. My Department is in regular contact with colleagues at the United Nations on a wide range of issues, including the effectiveness of UN humanitarian aid.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|