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27 Nov 2002 : Column 264W—continued


Aid (Poorest Countries)

Mr. Paul Marsden : To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to press other EU countries to (a) apply the EU Procurement Directive regarding tied aid and (b) increase the proportion of aid given to the poorest countries. [83192]

Clare Short : We support the Commission's efforts to ensure that member states' aid programmes comply with Community law. The Commission has recently presented to the Council of Ministers a Communication

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on Untying which reiterates member states' obligation to apply the Procurement Directives to their bilateral programmes.

Poverty elimination is the stated objective of EU development programmes. Nine of the fifteen member states provide more than 70 per cent. of their aid to the poorest countries. The record for Commission-managed aid is much less poverty focused and is 45 per cent. We continue to press in the Council and in annual budget discussions with the European Parliament for higher priority to be given to poor countries in allocating EC development funds.

Developing Countries

Phil Sawford : To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to help Governments in poorer countries in their efforts to provide targeted support and protection for local producers. [82911]

Clare Short: My Department provides support to Governments of developing countries that are designed to meet the different circumstances and needs of a broad range of producers living in those countries. These include efforts to make Government policy more responsive to the demands of poor producers, activities to strengthen the operation of local institutions, interventions designed to improve food security as well as support designed to lead to improved delivery of rural goods and services. We also provide support to a range of international organisations that work closely with Governments in developing countries and seeks to enhance the effectiveness of any interventions agreed between these parties.

East Timor

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what discussions her Department has had with (a) the Government of Indonesia, (b) the Government of East Timor and (c) the UNHCR to ensure the return of children being held illegally in West Java to their families in East Timor; [80569]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.

The violence and confusion surrounding the 1999 referendum on East Timor's status and the subsequent Indonesian withdrawal led to some children becoming separated from their families. There are no reliable figures for the number of children that were separated but the UNHCR estimates around 800 cases remain unresolved, mostly in West Timor.

We are in regular contact with the UN Mission in East Timor and UNHCR on this sensitive issue, most recently, on 4 October 2002. We have also encouraged the Governments of Indonesia and East Timor to find a solution to this problem.

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Mr. Laurence Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with (a) the Prime Minister and (b) international organizations about providing debt relief to Ethiopia. [83155]

Clare Short : We support international efforts to reduce Ethiopia's debt burden. Ethiopia qualified for interim debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) at Decision Point (DP) in November 2001. Irrevocable relief will be provided at HIPC Completion Point, which is expected within the next two years. Savings resulting from HIPC assistance will amount to around US$ 96 million per year on average until 2021. Ethiopia owes the UK £15.4 million. Provided Ethiopia remains on track with its programme of economic reform, Ethiopia will not be required to make any further payments on its debt to the UK after DP.

Mr. Laurence Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what long term plans she has to provide Ethiopia with development aid to help that country develop (a) irrigation system and (b) food storage facilities; and if she will make a statement. [83158]

Clare Short: An important component of our long-term development assistance to Ethiopia is work on improving food security. As one aspect of their food security strategy the Government of Ethiopia plans to increase access to irrigation and so help boost agricultural productivity. DFID is supporting the establishment of the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office in Addis Ababa, which in coordination with Sudan and Egypt, plans to improve use of Nile waters for a range of users including irrigation. We have funded improvements in the food storage facilities of the Ethiopian Food Security Reserve Administration, which now has expanded capacity and a more efficient stock management regime. The EFSRA plays a vital role in ensuring the stability of food supplies to organisations distributing food relief to those in need.

Good Governance

Mr. Caton: Mr. Martin Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria her Department employs in assuring good governance in other countries. [83364]

Clare Short: Our strategy to support developing and transitional countries build the institutions of an effective, inclusive, modern state is outlined in the document XMaking Government Work for Poor People", which was published in September 2001 and placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

We encourage poor countries to take the lead in improving the quality of governance in developing countries. To this end we have helped the development of the governance assessments that will form part of the peer reviews of African countries in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). We are also working with the World Bank and other international development agencies to ensure that

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governance issues are properly reflected in poverty reduction strategies beingprepared for decisions on debt relief and for World Bank and IMF lending

These objectives and indicators are included in DFID's Service Delivery Agreement of its Public Service Agreement.

Sustainability Strategy

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the sustainability strategy is for her Department; and how it has changed since the Earth Summit in Johannesburg. [83445]

Clare Short: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 15 October 2002, Official Report, column 651W.

My Department does not have a free-standing sustainability strategy. We focus on improving the effectiveness of the international development effort to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, including the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability. This continues to be our focus following the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

My Department works to promote economic growth that is equitable and environmentally sustainable, and works with developing countries to ensure that their poverty reduction strategies reflect the need to manage environmental resources sustainably. The World Summit gave an impetus to this work by integrating sustainability into the international agenda agreed at the Doha meeting of the World Trade Organisation and the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development.


No-fly Zone (Scotland)

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what process is required to introduce a no-fly zone of (a) commercial and (b) military flights over towns and cities in Scotland; [83528]

Mr. Spellar: Following a request from the appropriate Government Department or, in some cases, the local police force, the Civil Aviation Authority drafts a Statutory Instrument (SI). This is ratified by the Department for Transport before being notified to the entire aviation community by means of a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). The SI, which may be temporary or

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permanent in effect, is binding on civil aircraft only, but military aircraft will normally comply. This process applies to all UK airspace.

Towns and cities or petro-chemical plants do not have specific 'no-fly zones' unless already in the vicinity of restricted airspace. The Rules of the Air Regulations 1996 prohibit flying by civil aircraft below a height 1,500 feet above any town or city (unless landing or taking off). Military regulations in Volume 3, Part 1 (UK Military Low Flying System) of the UK Military Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) introduce avoidance criteria for military aircraft.

From January 2001 to 10 September 2001 there was no change to airspace restrictions in Scottish airspace currently published as permanent in the UK Air Navigation Order (ANO) and Aeronautical Information (AIP). These include the Highlands Restricted Area (HRA) and sites such as Dounreay, Faslane, Rosyth and Chapelcross.

From September 2001 the following temporary airspace restrictions have been in operation for the periods and reasons shown:

In addition, temporary restrictions were imposed around Hunterston and Torness Nuclear Power Stations from 3 November 2001, which were made permanent as from 5 September 2002.

The Government continue to monitor the number and extent of no-fly zones across the UK.

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