|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Clare Short: Bill Griffiths, Director of WRG Associates, and Nemat Shafik, Vice-President for Private Sector Development and Infrastructure at the World bank, have been recruited as non-executive Directors to sit on DFID's Management Board. Mr. Griffiths will also chair our Audit Committee.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the European Commission's proposal for the reform of the common agricultural policy, with particular reference to farmers in developing countries; and if she will make a statement. 
24. Mr. Savidge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of World Bank proposals to fast-track support for primary education in certain poor countries. 
Clare Short: The Government are strongly committed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on education and is working to mobilise the international community in support of them. The World bank has a critical role in supporting countries as they seek to give priority to education, and primary education in particular, within the overall context of their poverty reduction
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1130W
strategies. We have been working with the Bank to develop its new Action Plan for accelerating progress towards Education for All.
We believe the World bank Action Plan's fast-track initiative provides an opportunity to try to ensure that no country genuinely committed to economic development, poverty reduction and good governance is denied the chance to achieve universal primary education through lack of resources. The Government were successful in calling for the fast-track initiative to include Nigeria and Ethiopia, where over 14 million children are out of school. It offers 18 poor countries the chance to qualify for additional financing for primary education if they can demonstrate that their Government is fully committed and has effective policies in place. A further five countries can apply for assistance in building capacity, filling gaps in data and developing effective policies for primary education.
The Government are committed to further increasing our support for basic education, particularly in Africa. We will continue to support the Fast Track proposals and participate in on-going discussions with the World bank about implementation arrangements.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she expects the additional resources committed for good quality primary education to the group of 18 countries selected to receive immediate financing to be provided. 
Clare Short: The UK believes that the countries of Eastern Europe need to privatise and restructure their steel industries as part of their transition from central planning to open market orientated economies. Privatisation and restructuring help to improve efficiency and enable governments to redirect subsidieswhich currently keep inefficient companies afloatinto investment in essential public services.
The UK does not provide direct financial support to the steel industry in Eastern Europe. The UK is a shareholder in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) which both support the restructuring of former communist economies in Eastern Europe, including through non-concessional loans to support steel industry privatisation and restructuring.
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1131W
renewable energy. Poor people will rely on fossil fuels and traditional biomass resources for many years to come, so cleaner more efficient uses of these energy resources should not be ignored.
Our recent consultation document 'Energy for the Poor' invited comments on the role that DFID can play in providing poor people in developing countries with access to energy for poverty reduction. The final Paper will be produced in August.
We have a number of on-going activities in the energy sector in specific countries, which are listed on the attachments to this reply, together with details of our research work in this sector. We are also a contributor to the multi-donor technical co-operation facilities (ESMAP and PPIAF), which have activities in the energy sector, some of which include renewables. Brief details of the work of these are also attached to this reply.
28. Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans her Department has to ensure that the work done to reduce the debt burden of highly indebted poor countries and other countries is not undermined by recent declines in commodity prices. 
Clare Short: The Government have been working to try to ensure that countries exit the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative process with sustainable debt levels. At the Annual Meetings of the World bank and IMF we asked the World bank staff to revisit the debt sustainability analyses of all commodity dependent low-income countries, including HlPCs. The IMF and World bank analysis shows that, although the situation varies from country to country, the external debt indicators for most HIPC countries have deteriorated, and several HIPC countries now face unsustainable debt burdens as a result. Following UK pressure, the World bank and IMF Boards have agreed to provide additional relief to countries in this situation. This was reconfirmed at the Spring meetings, in April, and Burkina Faso became the first HIPC country to benefit from 'topping up' at Completion Point.
Clare Short: The Government's strategic objective for the world summit is to make globalisation work for sustainable development, especially for the poorest. We see the summit as part of a broader process that includes the Millennium Declaration, the WTO Doha Development Agenda and the agreement reached at the Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey.
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1132W
The Working Group on Access to Medicines, which I chair, has brought together UK Government, pharmaceuticals and others over the last year to look at options for bringing about widespread, sustainable and predictable differential pricing of medicines, including HIV/AIDS drugs. Good progress has been made. The final meeting will be held tomorrow and the group will report back to the Prime Minister by September.
Affordability is only one of four key factors that influence access to medicines. Others are the need for sustainable financing, the rational selection and use of existing drugs and reliable health and supply systems.
On sustainable financing, we have pledged $200 million over five years to the Global Fund to Fight TB, AIDS and Malaria (GFATM). We have also committed over £1 billion since 1997 to strengthening developing countries' health systems, building their capacity both to deliver medicines to the poor and to make effective choices about the selection and use of drugs.
Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if the Government support a continued role for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the EU candidate countries after accession. 
Clare Short: Yes. We have refined the view taken in the UK's institutional strategy paper for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) that accession to the EU would complete transition for eligible countries and should trigger a graduation from EBRD operations. We now consider that there will still be important transition challenges in less advanced sectors of the countries of Central Europe and the Baltics after they join the EU. Working within its three key principlestransition impact, additionality and sound bankingthe EBRD will continue to have a role assisting the countries address these challenges. The UK believes that the EBRD should take a strategic approach, co-ordinating closely with other public institutions and working to widen the benefits of transition to those who have benefited least.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|