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20 Nov 2002 : Column 191W—continued

World Bank

John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress is being made to increase the number of executive directors representing southern governments on the Board of the World bank. [80935]

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John Healey: The UK's White Paper on International Development, published in December 2000, highlighted the need for developing countries to have a more effective voice in international institutions. And at the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World bank, the Development Committee called on these institutions to prepare a joint paper on broadening and strengthening the participation of developing countries in International Financial Institution decision making for the spring meetings in April 2003. It is within the context of this broader discussion on increasing the voice of developing countries that we expect representation on the Executive Board to feature. The UK would welcome positive consideration of ways to increase the representation of developing countries on the Executive Board, and African countries in particular. We will be working with the IMF and World bank over the coming months to explore this further.

World Bank and IMF

John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans there are to publish the minutes of the (a) World bank and (b) International Monetary Fund, and if he will make a statement. [80949]

John Healey: Enhancing the transparency of the IMF and World bank is a critical part of our work on strengthening crisis prevention, improving economic cooperation and promoting global stability and growth. Greater transparency can help strengthen policy frameworks, ensure that vulnerabilities are addressed at an early stage, and strengthen effectiveness and accountability.

(a) There are currently no plans for the minutes of World Bank Board Meetings to be published. However, since April 2001 the bank has been moving towards making the Executive Board more transparent, and we fully support these efforts. Most important decisions, including those relating to selected policy, strategy and topical issues, are announced through press releases or at press conferences of senior bank officials. Chairman's Concluding Remarks (and Summings Up) on discussions of Country Assistance Strategies, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers/Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, Sector Strategy Papers and Heavily Indebted Poor Country documents are publicly available. Chairman's Concluding Remarks on discussions of other policy, strategy and topical issues can also be made publicly available—though this requires the agreement of the Executive Board. Approvals of individual lending operations are announced through issue of press releases and fact sheets providing summary data on the project.

(b) The IMF has also made real progress in its publication policy in recent years. There has been a significant increase in the publication of Public Information Notices summarizing the surveillance (Article IV) discussions of the Board, of Article IV reports themselves, and of Chairman's statements, news briefs and press releases following Board discussions on the use of Fund resources and on policy issues. Nevertheless, the UK believes that the IMF can build on this progress and that there is considerable scope for further reform. The IMF's Transparency policy was discussed by the Executive Board in June 2002. At this

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discussion the UK supported the proposal that access to Executive Board minutes should be accelerated from 20 years to five years and pressed for even further acceleration. Unfortunately, this view was not shared by others on the Board and access to Board minutes was only reduced to 10 years.

To promote greater transparency in the UK about our role in the IMF, we publish an Annual Report to Parliament on the UK and the IMF. This includes the voting record of the UK Governor and Executive Director, and provides an indication of the position we take at Board discussions. Only in the case of highly market sensitive information would we not provide this information. In our experience this is already strengthening public and parliamentary understanding of and support for the work of the IMF.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Coffee

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action is being taken to diversify agricultural sectors away from coffee production in Sub-Saharan African countries. [80947]

Clare Short: Diversification requires the establishment of a more favourable environment at both domestic and international level. We are working to support a variety of activities within coffee producing countries in order to generate the economic growth, and other conditions, that provide enhanced opportunities for livelihood diversification. We are also working to improve trade access to OECD markets.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with representatives of the (a) United Nations and (b) World bank regarding the coffee industry in (i) Central Africa, (ii) South America and (iii) India and Eastern Asia; and if she will make a statement. [80941]

Clare Short: My Department regularly interacts with different agencies of the United Nations, the World bank and other partners to discuss the economic situation, including performance of different industries and commodity, in the three geographical regions mentioned. These are complex issues and I do not intend to make a statement at this time.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action is being taken to encourage international coffee roaster companies to carry out value added processing within developing countries. [80945]

Clare Short: Coffee processing involves the transformation of green coffee beans into a number of products including roast and ground, soluble (instant) coffee, decaffeinated coffee extracts and various speciality coffees. The decision to undertake coffee processing in the developing country of origin is a strictly commercial one. This decision is undoubtedly influenced by a number of considerations such as the domestic operating environment (e.g. reliability of supporting infrastructure), assurance of bean supply and quality requirements, transport costs, the buy-in strategies adopted by retailers, packaging and labelling

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requirements as well as size of the domestic market and trade access to other markets. The UK, through its development programme and other endeavours at the international level, is supporting a range of actions designed to create a more favourable investment climate in many coffee producing countries.

Africa (Health Budget)

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of her Department's health budget for the current year for Africa is allocated directly to (a) hospitals, (b) clinics, (c) NGOs and (d) Governments; and if she will make a statement. [80551]

Clare Short: Last year (2001–02 ) DFID estimates its spend on health related activities in Sub-Saharan Africa was #108 million. This figure does not include money channelled through multilateral agencies.

It is not easy to disaggregate this figure according to the categories listed, nor is it sensible. Where possible through provision of direct budgetary support, we support Governments' entire health systems. Where we provide assistance to other sectors, this too can contain 'Health' spend, for example mainstreaming teaching on HIV/AIDs and reproductive health into a country's national curriculum.

Angola

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment her Department has made of the reintegration of ex-soldiers into civil society in Angola. [80566]

Clare Short: The formal reintegration of ex-soldiers has not yet started in Angola. The Government of Angola is in the process of developing its Angola Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (ADRP), with assistance from the World bank. Until the ADRP has been agreed, little progress will be made on putting in place appropriate social structures to receive the ex-combatants. It is therefore essential that the ADRP is finalised as soon as possible, in close collaboration with the international community. This programme should be consistent with the Government's own Norms for Return and Resettlement. It should also be set in a broader framework encompassing the return of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs).

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the progress of the National Reconciliation Programme in Angola. [80567]

Clare Short: Following the cease-fire in Angola, the National Reconciliation Programme has been replaced by the National Commission for the Social and Productive Reintegration of the Demobilised and Displaced. The new commission's detailed priorities have not been made clear to the international community; nor have the spending plans associated with them. With the help of the World bank, the Government of Angola is working on an immediate post-conflict recovery plan which the international community expects will be presented to donors at a conference organised by the Government of Angola in the first

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quarter of 2003. Until the international community has seen the document, it is difficult to comment on the Government's plans.

Without national reconciliation, a fully inclusive national dialogue, and sustainable poverty reduction, the cease-fire is unlikely to be transformed into a lasting peace. We take every opportunity to make this clear to the Government of Angola. My Department is establishing an office in the British embassy in Luanda which will help to strengthen further HMG's efforts to ensure a peaceful transition in Angola.


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