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HIV/AIDS

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what future plans she has to help tackle HIV/AIDS in Southern African countries. [73693]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development is strongly committed to tackling HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. We are working through national AIDS councils, and directly with ministries, civil society and the private sector. We are supporting efforts both to prevent the spread of the disease, and to care for those living with the disease and their families as well as children orphaned as a result of AIDS. Large new commitments to combat HIV/AIDS (totalling #71 million) include assistance to Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

As well as our specific support to HIV/AIDS initiatives, we aim to ensure that all our work in the region addresses the impact of HIV/AIDS, which affects every area of development.

Southern African countries will also benefit from access to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria to which we contribute, and from our work with international partners and the pharmaceutical industry to reduce the cost of medicines in lower income countries. Investments we have made in vaccine development and microbicides should also benefit Southern Africa in the future.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how the Government plans to implement the Accord on Patents for drugs in poorer countries, with particular reference to HIV/AIDS drugs; and how this will relate to the recent Doha developments on patented drugs. [74606]

Clare Short: The Ministerial declaration on the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) and Public Health agreed last November in Doha, recognised the need for a flexible interpretation of TRIPS to enable developing countries to protect public health.

The Doha Declaration was a major achievement, but the International Community have to meet their commitments if the declaration is to lead to an improvement in poor people's access to medicines. In particular, an effective and workable solution must be found to the problem of how developing countries with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the

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pharmaceutical sector are to make effective use of compulsory licensing, by the agreed December 2002 deadline.

Zimbabwe

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the process by which farm workers' organisations in the UN World Food Programme monitors those forced off farms in Zimbabwe; and what steps the Government are taking to meet their humanitarian needs. [70893]

Clare Short: I will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Millennium Development Goals

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if, as a result of the G8 talks, she estimates that the UK will be on target to meet the millennium development goals; and if she will make a statement. [73568]

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact of the most recent G8 meeting on the capacity of the UK Government to meet its millennium development goals; and if she will make a statement. [72987]

Clare Short: I refer my hon. Friends to the reply I gave to the Member for Cardiff, Central (Mr. Jones) on 19 September 2002, Official Report column 415W.

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if the United Kingdom is on target to meet its millennium development goals. [74141]

Clare Short: Latest forecasts from the World Bank suggest that globally, meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015 is attainable. There has been progress. The proportion of people living on less than $1 a day in the developing world fell from 29 per cent. in 1990, to 23 per cent. in 1999.

Progress has also been made against almost all the other 2015 Millennium Development targets. The proportion of children completing a full course of primary school increased from 68 per cent. to 73 per cent.; the under-five mortality rate decreased from 88 to 84 deaths per 1,000 births; and the proportion of people with access to an improved water source increased from 73 per cent. to 79 per cent.

However, to meet all of the Millennium Development Goals we must do more. The Sub-Saharan African region presents the biggest challenge to meeting the Goals. We therefore need to make an enormous effort internationally to accelerate progress in Africa. My Department is doing everything possible to help accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

A detailed description of progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals is contained in a recent World Bank publication: World Development Indicators 2002, which can be found at the following website:

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http://www.worldbank.org/data/wdi2002/worldview.pdf.

Girls Education

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent action she has taken to help promote education for girls in developing countries. [73675]

Clare Short: Since 1997 we have committed over #700 million to support sustainable primary education programmes, with a strong focus on gender equality. Over the past year we have also worked with the UN Girls' Education Initiative to ensure stronger collaboration and coordination among donors, including the European Union, the UN system, the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

Drought

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial assistance her Department is providing to the countries of Southern Africa affected by severe drought. [73673]

Clare Short: Since September 2001 we have committed #71.6 million in bilateral assistance for the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa. In addition, the UK's share of assistance provided through the European Commission is about #17 million.

Famine

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assistance (a) the UK and (b) the EU has provided to tackle famine in Southern Africa; and if she will make a statement. [74755]

Clare Short: Since September 2001, the UK has provided #71.6 million for food aid, logistical support and essential medicines for the six countries identified as having exceptional food shortages. As part of this effort we are also providing seeds and fertilisers to assist families to plant for the coming cropping season.

The EU has committed Euro148.5 million to the same six countries since January 2002. The UK share of this, which is additional to the #71.6 million commitment above, is about #17 million.

Debt Repayments

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will press for the immediate suspension of debt repayments under the HIPC initiative for (a) Malawi, (b) Mozambique and (c) Zambia [74525]

Clare Short: Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia – which are among the very poorest countries in the world – have all qualified for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative. Malawi and Zambia have reached Decision Point, and are already receiving debt relief. Mozambique has passed Completion Point and is now receiving full debt relief. These countries have completed a full poverty reduction strategy paper setting out how resources, including savings from debt

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relief, will be spent, thereby ensuring the maximum possible impact on poverty reduction. To address the current food security problem in the region, the UK has provided #26.5 million in humanitarian relief to these three countries since September 2001.

Kiribati

David Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assistance her Department has given in the last five years to (a) education and (b) health projects in Kiribati. [73974]

Clare Short: 1. DFID has provided assistance in health and education to Kiribati in a number of different ways in the last 5 years. We:





2. The UK is also contributing to EC programmes in Kiribati. 12 million euros were allocation for the period 1995–2001. Interventions include an allocation of 1.6 million euros for a national training programme to provide in-country training to meet Kiribati's manpower needs and skills requirements. A second phase of the programme, costing 6.4 million euros, will be implemented to provide outer island adults and

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school leavers with the skills, needed for employment. This 5 year programme will also further strengthen the Tarawa Technical Institute and extend its activities to the outer islands. The health sector, particularly outer island primary health care, may become the focus for future cooperation between Kiribati and the EC under the Cotonou Agreement.


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