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Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made on the Government of Belize's application for relief under the Commonwealth Debt Initiative. 
Clare Short: Following an assessment by my officials in August 2002, I wrote to Prime Minister Musa on 24 September 2002 advising him that I was able to agree debt relief amounting to #1.4 million under CDI for the period 30 June 2001 to 1 July 2002.
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Clare Short: Low public sector wages are one of the major constraints to the improved provision of services in many of our partner countries. However, all countries, not only developing ones, have limits regarding the affordability of pay increases. My Department is working with developing country governments in reforming all aspects of public sector management, which includes, where relevant, strategies to increase revenue as well as improving terms and conditions of service. Other reforms are also importantsuch as better recruitment practice and performance management for all staff. But these reforms can be implemented only where Governments are committed to their implementation; we cannot demand that action be taken.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the estimated impact of the level of public sector wages on the potential for corruption in developing countries. 
Clare Short: There is conflicting evidence on the impact of low public sector wages alone on the potential for corruption. It is widely assumed that extremely low public sector wages create a motivation for corrupt practices. However, there is increasing evidence that public sector wages will only have an impact on the levels of corruption when it is part of a comprehensive package of civil sector reform, including among others, merit-based recruitment and promotion, replacement of corrupt personnel (particularly managers) and appropriate training.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which developing countries are in receipt of support from her Department in the development of parliamentary commissioners for the investigation of corruption. 
Clare Short: DFID's collaboration with the World Bank Institute on anti-corruption programmes in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe includes assistance specifically directed towards parliamentarians and parliamentary oversight committees. This can cover both the role of Parliament in the budget making process and the subsequent scrutiny function through oversight institutions such as Public Accounts Committees, Offices of Auditor-General and Offices of Ombudsmen. Countries covered by this programme are Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and the Ukraine.
The document recognises that fair and effective criminal justice systems are critically important to the elimination of poverty. In many countries we are supporting partner governments to improve the effectiveness of policing, to support penal reform, and to
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promote speedy and fair trials. Civil society groups are supported in their efforts to provide community safety and protect human rights.
Innovative sector-wide programmes in Uganda, Nigeria, and Malawi support efforts to improve co-ordination among different actors in the justice system, and to address common problems. More sector-wide programmes of this kind are in the planning stages, and should commence in the next 12 months.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to make the (a) reporting and (b) recording of corrupt practice in development programmes easier. 
Clare Short: DFID procedures are designed to uncover corrupt practices in programmes that we finance. We encourage and investigate any reports or allegations of corrupt practices, respecting the confidence of the informant in line with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the role of local media in combating corruption in developing countries; and what steps she is taking to support local media in developing countries. 
Clare Short: Well targeted investigative journalism can expose corrupt practices in government and promote accountability in public life. DFID supports media development in a number of developing and transition countries, and published guidance on developing free and effective media to serve the interests of the poor in July 2001. Copies of XThe Media in Governance" are available in the House of Commons Library and on our website.
Clare Short: We have committed #20 million to a new multilateral initiative that will provide technical assistance to strengthen banking and financial supervision in developing countries. In addition, we are engaged in various activities to improve the delivery of banking services to poor people, and to small and medium-sized enterprises. This includes an #18.5 million challenge fund to promote innovative financial services for the poor, and support to microfinance institutions in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what precautionary steps are taken to reduce the potential for petty corruption in development projects funded by her Department. 
Clare Short: All proposals for development projects funded by DFID are required to set out acceptable accounting, procurement and audit arrangements in order to minimise the risk of petty corruption. Projects are also subject to periodic monitoring to ensure that resources are used as agreed. Where weaknesses are identified in systems used by partner governments or organisations, we seek assurances that such weaknesses are being tackled and provide support where needed to help to ensure that this is effective.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what evidence has been collected over the last 12 months on instances of petty corruption in development projects funded by her Department. 
Clare Short: Cases of petty corruption directly affecting DFID project funds are reported to our accounts department. Ten such cases were reported in the 200102 financial year, involving a total sum of nearly #60,000.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what systems are used to audit the effectiveness of sector-wide approaches to donor funding; and if she will publish reports she has commissioned into the effectiveness of sector-wide approaches. 
Clare Short: DFID assesses the effectiveness of its support for sector-wide approaches (SWAps) in the same way as it does for all forms of assistance, namely through a combination of regular monitoring by the relevant programme team and by independent evaluation and research. Reports, such as the forthcoming Basic Education Evaluation that considers the effectiveness of Education SWAps, will be published on completion. A growing body of literature is already available publiclyfor example on the Overseas Development Institute's site www.odi.org.uk/pppg/cape/advisory/swaps.html.
Clare Short: We have not done an independent assessment on the effect the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire is having on UN famine relief efforts in Africa. Currently most UN famine relief efforts in Africa are directed towards Southern and East Africa. So far we have received no indications that UN resources committed to these relief efforts are being stretched or redirected in response to the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire.
Clare Short: The UK is not providing any direct assistance to the Government of the Ivory Coast. Our assistance to Cote d'Ivoire is primarily channelled through contributions to the EC and other multilateral organisations. The table shows the latest available figures and the imputed UK shares:
|Total net oda 2,000 US$ millions||UK imputed share 2,000 US$ millions|
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