|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Private military companies based in the UK are not at present subject to a licensing regime in respect of the provision of military services. One of the options set out in the FCO's discussion paper "Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation", published on 12 February, is for the introduction of a licensing regime.
Hilary Benn: Increasing women's access to reproductive health services is a high priority in Africa, where women are affected by poverty, high maternal mortality and, increasingly, by HIV/AIDS. DFID is working with national Governments and other organisations to improve sexual and reproductive health. We invested £150 million on this last year, and expect to invest more this year.
Clare Short: We maintain a substantial development programme to West Africa, and plan to spend around £130 million and contribute £37 million through the EC over the next three years. We provide further support through the World Bank, Africa Development Bank and UN system.
6 Mar 2002 : Column 327W
Clare Short: I meet my European counterparts regularly, and discuss West African issues with them as appropriate. In particular I have encouraged other European countries to become more deeply engaged in Sierra Leone, both politically and financially. I travelled to Guinea and Sierra Leone with the French Development Minister last May.
Clare Short: I believe that 2002 offers a real window of opportunity to bring Africa's longest running conflict to an end. I am convinced that with greater international pressure on the main parties, Sudan can be helped towards a just and lasting peace. The human rights of the people of Sudan can be better protected with peace and a stable social and economic environment in place throughout the country. The same applies to the consideration of Sudan's longer-term development needs. Development partnerships will not be effective without peace and political stability.
Clare Short: We are working with the FCO, to increase the international effort to bring about peace in Sudan. Efforts have been stepped up following my visit to the country in January when I was able to discuss the prospects of peace with Sudanese leaders on both sides of the conflict.
I believe the UK can play a significant role in helping resolve the conflict and that our involvement would be welcomed by both sides. The Prime Minister recently announced the appointment of a UK special Representative for Sudan who will be answerable jointly to myself and the Foreign Secretary and supported by a dedicated team drawn from both Departments. He is working closely with the US and Norway and we will maintain close liaison at official and ministerial level.
Long-term development of Sudan cannot be achieved without an end to the war. My Department continues to address urgent humanitarian needs arising from conflict and drought and has provided over £40 million of humanitarian assistance since 1997. We are liaising closely with the World Bank and European Commission to try and ensure that their engagement reinforces the search for peace.
Clare Short: A "Comparative Study of Air and Sea Access" was published last July. A copy of the report was placed in the Library of the House. It identified options, which have since been under consideration by the St. Helena Government. As part of that process, the views
6 Mar 2002 : Column 328W
of the islanders have been sought in a referendum. The outcome was a majority preference in favour of air access, as an alternative to replacing St. Helena's dedicated passenger and supply ship. Island representatives are currently visiting the UK to discuss next steps.
12. Mr. Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's priorities are for the International Development Association's 13th replenishment negotiations. 
Clare Short: Our priority for the International Development Association's replenishment (IDA 13) negotiations is to build on the progress achieved under the last replenishment, particularly in consolidating a sharper poverty focus and embedding the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper process as the Lynchpin of the World Bank's engagement in low-income countries.
Clare Short: As I informed the House in April 2001, DFID withdrew from projects with the Zimbabwe Government relating to economic management because these could no longer meet their objectives. This has not impacted on levels of assistance to Zimbabwe, rather it has helped us give greater priority to humanitarian assistance and direct help for the poor.
We have of course been preparing strategies for the post election situation and will work with others to provide support for any government committed to responsible reform. If there is no such government we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance.
Clare Short: We strongly support the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) because it is an African owned and led initiative. We are continuing to work within the international community to ensure an appropriate response, including through the G8, which is preparing an Action Plan for Africa to be presented at the Kananaskis Summit.
6 Mar 2002 : Column 329W
Clare Short: We seek to reduce the poverty of children, which causes suffering to today's children and jeopardises the well being of future generations, by working to address the causes of deprivation in their communities. Support for children's rights to basic health care, education, nutrition, shelter, protection from violence and abusive labour, along with sustainable livelihoods for their parents, is central to our work towards the millennium development goals.
We are working to energise the international system to achieve the goals. The goals include the target of, by 2015, lifting one billion people out of abject poverty, universal primary schooling, and reducing under-five child mortality by two-thirds.
Clare Short: Senegal, like Uganda and Thailand has shown that political leadership to fighting the disease is a vital element in slowing the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These countries have also demonstrated the importance and effectiveness of strategies which promote awareness and behaviour change through information, education and community mobilisation; prevent infection through condom promotion and treatment of sexually transmitted infections; and support and encourage voluntary counselling and testing.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|