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Indo-Pakistani Relations

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the crisis in Indo-Pakistani relations. [26522]

Mr. Bradshaw: We are concerned about the rising tensions between India and Pakistan. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken on several occasions to his Indian, Pakistani and US counterparts in recent weeks. The UK continues to call for an end to external support for terrorism in Kashmir and urges both countries to exercise restraint and find a solution through meaningful dialogue. The Prime Minister reiterated this during this recent meetings with the Indian and Pakistani leaders on 6 and 7 January.



Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will promote international measures to reduce the risk to rural workers in developing countries caused by the hazardous use of pesticides. [27435]

Clare Short: We fully support the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC), and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which create a framework and promote political will to tackle the problems that poor management and hazardous use of pesticides pose to health, the environment and livelihoods in developing countries.

DFID also supports the revised Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)'s International Code of Conduct on the Distribution of Use of Pesticides, which provides a widely accepted framework of good practice relating to pesticide management. DFID complies with the OECD Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC)'s Guidelines for Aid Agencies on Pest and Pesticide Management.

DFID does not supply pesticides to developing countries through its programmes (except in emergency conditions such as locust plagues) or support pesticide subsidies. DFID promotes the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which was recognised in UNCED Agenda 21 as the preferred approach to crop protection for development programmes. IPM provides a means to promote crop protection strategies with minimal external inputs, and maximum consideration for the sustainability and better understanding of production systems, integrity

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of the environment, and safety of the producer and consumer. By reducing the need for pesticide applications through the use of pest-resistant crop varieties, natural enemies and cultivation techniques, IPM has increased the sustainability of farming and ecological systems at minimal cost and reduced health risks to farmers.

More information is available in a key-sheet for sustainable livelihoods on IPM (co-funded by DFID) from DFID or at the website address: keysheets/ipm/pdf.

UN Poverty Development Programme

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much the United Kingdom's financial assistance to the United Nations Poverty Development Programme was in each of the last three years. [25902]

Clare Short: There is no UN Poverty Development Programme. Our core voluntary contribution to the United Nations Development Programme was £35 million in 1999; £35 million in 2000; and £37 million in 2001. We also provided additional non-core funding for a number of specific UNDP projects in a number of countries.


Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to provide assistance (a) directly and (b) through other agencies, to assist orphans in Afghanistan. [25910]

Clare Short: Every effort is being made to minimise the suffering of all vulnerable Afghans, including children and orphans. Our aim is to support the UN-led international humanitarian and recovery effort, for which we have provided assistance of £60 million through UN agencies, the Red Cross and NGOs since last September.

My Department has so far allocated around £10 million from these funds to UNICEF and other aid agencies to support activities focused on children, including orphans. We have also allocated over £2 million to the UN Trust Fund to support the Afghan Interim Administration, which includes a Department concerned with orphan affairs.

Humanitarian Service (Civilian Roster)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will introduce proposals to develop a national civilian roster for humanitarian assistance along the lines of the Danish International Humanitarian Service or the Norwegian NORDEM. [26671]

Clare Short [holding answer 11 January 2002]: A mechanism for international disaster response exists under the coordination of the United Nations. My Department's priority is to improve and strengthen this mechanism, which involves the affected nations, the United Nations and Red Cross systems, non-governmental organisations and donor Governments.

While our ultimate aim is to build a better international humanitarian system, there is a role for donor Governments such as the UK to fill gaps in rapid direct response. The UK already has a capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies around the clock which is

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as respected as the Danish and Norwegian services mentioned, under arrangements existing within my Department.

We are able to field well-equipped teams of experts with a broad range of skills and also maintain stockpiles of relief items. As and when we need to complement our own existing specialist staff for emergencies we can call upon other organisations under existing arrangements, such as RedR (Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief) and International Health Exchange. With DFID support, these agencies maintain databases of suitably qualified disaster specialists including engineers, logisticians, and qualified medical staff who have been selected and trained beforehand for work in this area. My Department also manages the UK contribution to the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC) system under which qualified British experts are made available for overseas service.

In addition, DFID has established arrangements with other Government Departments to facilitate rapid disaster response. This includes the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who assist in global surveillance of disasters; the Home Office, with whom we have an arrangement for the deployment of UK Fire Service Search and Rescue personnel; and the Ministry of Defence from whom we can request the deployment of military assets, in support of emergency humanitarian operations.


Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the World bank in respect of the UK air traffic control system to be sold to Tanzania. [26289]

Clare Short: There has been considerable discussion between DFID and the World bank about the proposed export of a BAE air traffic control system to Tanzania.

The World bank is concerned about the system's technical applicability and its value for money. These concerns were discussed with donors and undertakings given by the Government of Tanzania prior to the International Monetary Fund and World bank board meetings in November 2001. The Government of Tanzania undertook to work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation in identifying Tanzania's civil aviation requirements and to explore the modification of the contract with BAE to meet these requirements. On this base the bank and fund boards agreed that Tanzania would reach Completion Point under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative at their November meetings.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid has been given to Tanzania since 1997; and what forms it has taken. [25921]

Clare Short: In the financial years 1996–97 to 2000–01 DFID provided a total of £273.5 million in development assistance to Tanzania. This includes Project Aid, Programme Aid, Technical Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance, as set out in the table.

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DFID's Development Goal is to support Tanzania in institutionalising and implementing its Poverty Reduction Strategy (launched in 2000) to achieve its key targets for reducing income poverty, improving health and education outcomes and reducing vulnerability.

Bilateral aid to Tanzania 1996–97 to 2000–01

Project Aid25,650
Programme Aid159,217
Technical Co-operation59,774
Grants/Other Aid in Kind20,408
Humanitarian Assistance8,454


Job Losses (Nantgarw)

Mr. David: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Assembly Education Secretary on the measures which have been put in place by ELWa in response to the job losses at Nantgarw in South Wales. [23400]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with the First Minister and meetings with other Assembly Ministers when we discuss a variety of issues.

I regret the decision taken by General Electric to shed around 350 jobs at its plant in Nantgarw and the effect this has had on those who have lost their jobs, on their families and on the community.

I understand that 310 workers at the GE plant took voluntary redundancy terms at the end of the 90 day consultation period, which ended on 3 January 2002. A further 10 took redundancy on compulsory terms and the remainder are still in negotiations with GE and the trade unions.

GE has set up a task force that comprised representatives from ELWa, the Employment Service, the Welsh Development Agency and the trade unions to help find retraining opportunities for those who have lost their jobs.

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