|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
5. Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to strengthen the work of the Ethical Trading Initiative in promoting core labour standards in developing countries. 
Hilary Benn: DFID has supported the Ethical Trading Initiative since its establishment. The ETl's corporate members have a combined turnover of £100 billion and, working with trade unions and NGOs, they are trying to improve labour standards in supplier companies. We recently agreed funding of £1.3 million for the ETI over the next three years.
Clare Short: I recently agreed funding of £1.315 million to strengthen the work of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) over the next three years. This will be disbursed in yearly tranches. The tranche for 200203 is £513,000. This is 47.5 per cent. of total ETI income in this year. Subsequent years will see a decrease in the proportion of DFID funds as a proportion of total funds, to 40 per cent. in year two and 26.5 per cent. in year three.
We have provided £780,000 since the ETI was set up in 1998 to the end of March 2002. This new three-year grant of £1.315 million represents 38 per cent. of total ETI income over this forthcoming three-year period. This new funding will enable the ETI to build on the excellent progress it has made over the last three years and to
15 May 2002 : Column 683W
develop expertise and knowledge in new areas which will help its increasing number of members continue to improve labour conditions in the supply chains of corporate members. The remaining 62 per cent. will be generated by corporate and NGO membership fees and a small amount of trading income from services provided to non-members, such as for training. The corporate membership fee total over the period is expected to be £1.92 million, or 56 per cent. of total income. However, ETl's "learning by doing" approach is very demanding on members' time and other resources and this contribution has been conservatively valued as a further £1.8 million over three years.
DFID has supported the Ethical Trading Initiative since its establishment in 1998. It is an alliance of major British retailers, non-governmental organisations and trade unions dedicated to the improvement of labour standards throughout the supply chains of its corporate members. The ETl's corporate members bring together almost £100 billion in annual turnover. Significant proportions of the corporate members' supply chains are located in developing countries and the ETI therefore has a considerable worldwide reach. The corporate members are committed to independent verification, and work to bring their supply chains into compliance with International Labour Organisation standards in a way that brings benefits to workers in developing countries.
Clare Short: So far, 26 out of a total of 42 countries have qualified for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, and we expect Cote d'lvoire to qualify soon. Five countries either are not opting or do not qualify for HIPC. Many of the remaining countries are in conflict and cannot gain debt relief until they make peace.
Clare Short: So far, 26 out of a total of 42 countries have qualified for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, and by the autumn, Cote d'lvoire could be added to the list of countries benefiting from the Initiative. Relief of more than US$60 billion will be provided to these countries, reducing their debts by more than two-thirds on average. Of the 26 countries, 21 have reached decision point and are receiving interim debt relief on their 'flow' of payment, and five have completed the HIPC process, and have received an irrevocable reduction in their stock of debt. We hope that a further three will reach their completion point this year. The prospects for the remaining eleven unsustainable countries are not good. SixBurundi, Congo Republic, Liberia, Myanmar, Somalia and Sudanare still affected by conflict; Togo has governance problems; Central African Republic, DR Congo and Comoros might go through next year and Lao PDR is undecided as to whether to opt for HIPC relief. Angola, Kenya, Vietnam and Yemen are regarded as sustainable cases, eligible for relief from the Paris Club.
15 May 2002 : Column 684W
7. Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the MOD over restoring payments from her budget to military units engaged in peacekeeping for local development work in (a) the Balkans and (b) Chechnya. 
8. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to her oral statement of 17 April 2002, Official Report, column 558, on Afghanistan, what action she has taken to provide farmers with a chance of making a living by planting crops other than poppies. 
Clare Short: There is no quick or easy solution to the problem of drug cultivation in Afghanistan. We are supporting long-term development and poverty reduction strategies in order to create an environment in which a reduction in the opium poppy crop can be sustained beyond the next harvest.
Clare Short: Good progress is being made with the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The Interim Afghan Authority has prepared a national development framework and draft budget. Major investment and advisory projects are being designed in key sectors. The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund has been established. Preparations are well advanced for the Emergency Loya Jirga next month that will appoint a Transitional Authority for the coming two years. Meanwhile, humanitarian assistance continues to be provided. Recovery activities are gathering pace, although it will take some time for the benefits to be felt by ordinary Afghans. Refugees are returning to Afghanistan in increasing numbers. But the security and political situation is still fragile. Much remains to be done: reconstruction will require a long-term effort.
At the Tokyo conference in January, donors pledged $4.5 billion in aid over the next two and a half years. The agreed objective was to support the establishment of a secure and stable sovereign state based on the rule of law, able to absorb returning refugees, no longer a haven for international terrorists and drug traffickers, and in stable relationships with its neighbours based on mutual respect and non-interference. The continuing necessity of humanitarian relief was recognised.
15 May 2002 : Column 685W
multi-donor missions covering a range of areas, including health, education, agriculture, public finance, transport, infrastructure and community development.
The UK is playing its part, in the political, military and development arenas. Our leadership of the International Security Assistance Force has helped to bring stability to Kabul, establishing the authority of the Interim Administration. We have provided support for poppy crop eradication. We have disbursed around £60 million since 11 September through direct contributions to multilateral agencies and quick impact projects. We have plans in hand for further expenditure of about £40 million this financial year. It is clear that this year, and perhaps next, the majority of this assistance will need to continue to fund humanitarian and recovery programmes. As now, this will include direct contributions to UN agencies and NGOs, quick impact projects to kick-start the recovery process and to underpin the Interim Administration until the Emergency Loyal Jirga, practical support to the political process, and help to establish the Afghan Authority for Assistance.
For the longer term reconstruction effort, we believe it will be important to avoid overburdening the Transitional Authority with many bilateral programmes, each funded by different donors with their own procedures and reporting mechanisms. For that reason we will channel much of our assistance through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. We intend to commit at least half of our Tokyo pledge£100 millionto the fund. We have already paid in our first contributionthe first donor to do so. We are encouraging other donors also to maximise their contributions to the fund, which we believe should be the main source of funding both for the reconstruction programme and for any quick impact recovery work.
Our bilateral technical assistance is deliberately focused on support for capacity building in the Ministry of Finance and Central bank, in conjunction with the World bank and IMF. We also plan to support security sector reform, drawing on funds from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool.
Clare Short: The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains serious. However, although some areas remain inaccessible due to volatile security conditions, the United Nations is now able to access 80 per cent. of the country, humanitarian aid is being delivered in significant quantities, and agencies are adapting their programmes from the provision of relief to include recovery activities. Since October 2001, the international community has contributed over $750 million to Afghanistan to meet humanitarian and recovery needs, as identified by the United Nations in its Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many refugees have returned to Afghanistan from (a) Iran and (b) Pakistan in the last six months; and what proportion of these have been provided with adequate food and shelter when they return. 
15 May 2002 : Column 686W
Clare Short: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate that approximately 820,000 people have returned to Afghanistan from Iran and Pakistan in the last six months: 145,000 from Iran and 675,000 from Pakistan. Approximately 535,000 (65 per cent.) of those have returned with assistance from UNHCR as part of their assisted voluntary return programme. As well as transportation, returnees taking part in UNHCR's programme receive plastic sheeting, a repair kit, blankets, kitchen equipment and other relief items. Assisted returnees also receive an emergency ration of 150kg of wheat from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
According to the Interim Administration a total of approximately 16,000 hectares of opium poppy have been destroyed so far. This is equivalent to approximately 74 tonnes of heroin which is up to three times the estimated UK annual consumption. The amount destroyed represents about a third of the crop in the main poppy-growing areas. Eradication continues in regions where the harvest starts later.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|