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2 Dec 2002 : Column 527W—continued


Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Yemen regarding potential military intervention in Iraq. [83887]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions with the Government of Yemen, but officials have regular discussions with the Yemeni Government, including on Iraq.



John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what initiatives her Department is supporting in Afghanistan to help create alternative livelihoods for those growing opium poppies. [82929]

Clare Short: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Dr. Tonge) on 23 October 2002, Official Report, columns 319–20W.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the level of aid being provided to Afghanistan by the British Government. [84748]

Clare Short: At the Tokyo conference on Afghanistan's reconstruction in January, the UK pledged £200 million over five years. We have recently increased our allocation for the current financial year to £65 million for both humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, of which we have already distributed £52 million. In addition to this the UK Government have also allocated £1.8 million from the Mines Action Programme to address the problem of landmines, and a further £18 million from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool for Security Sector Reform.

Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline

Dr. Tonge : To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the World Bank regarding the application for funds from the International Finance Corporation for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. [83732]

Clare Short: I have had no discussions with the World Bank about the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. No proposal for International Finance Corporation (IFC) support for the pipeline has yet been submitted to the IFC Board, of which the UK is a member. We understand that such a proposal is likely to be submitted in mid to late 2003, following completion of IFC processes for environmental and social appraisal. There may also be an informal board discussion of the project early in the new year.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with EU Ministers about trade rules with Ethiopia affecting (a) tariff and (b) EU farming subsidies, with regard to (i) coffee and (ii) other products. [83154]

Clare Short: At the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 18–19 November I took part in discussions, with fellow EU Ministers,

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about the current state of the international coffee market. At this meeting I reiterated, with reference to Ethiopia as a case in point, some of the challenges facing a number of commodity dependent countries. I highlighted the need to assist these countries by promoting economic diversification as well as by delivering on CAP reform.

We recognise the damaging impact that trade-distorting subsidies have on developing countries agriculture sectors. At the Doha Ministerial meeting last year it was agreed that agriculture negotiations would aim to achieve Xsubstantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support". The UK fully supports these negotiations and is pressing for ambitious reform of the CAP to help the EU to participate effectively in the WTO negotiations.

While there is some preferential trade access to the EU for developing countries, more needs to be done to reduce the tariffs that the EU currently applies to a range of agricultural and non-agricultural products that offer potential alternative export trade opportunities for these countries. In order to tackle these barriers, the Doha meeting agreed that we should reduce barriers to trade in all products and particularly tariff peaks, high tariffs and tariff escalation. To ensure these negotiations result in liberalisation that benefits the world's poor, we are working to make these commitments become a reality.

Through our direct assistance programme we have worked with the private sector on a scoping study of opportunities and constraints relating to Ethiopia exporting horticultural produce to EU markets and are now planning some follow-up work.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she plans to have with EU Ministers with regard to delivering emergency aid to Ethiopia; and if she will make a statement. [83157]

Clare Short: The situation in Ethiopia was discussed briefly at the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) on 18–19 November. It will be discussed in more detail at the next GAERC on 9–10 December. Ministers agreed that we needed to monitor developments closely. I will continue to raise the matter with EU Ministers when appropriate.

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Mr. Dawson : To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many companies have signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. [84050]

Clare Short: The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative was announced by the Prime Minister at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002. At that initial stage, BP, Shell, Rio Tinto, BhP Billiton and Anglo-American committed to developing a framework for transparency in the extractive industries.

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Since then, we have drawn up a set of principles underpinning the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which we will use to bring more companies and governments on board. A growing number of non-UK based oil and mining companies, industry bodies and UK asset fund managers have expressed interest in joining the multi-stakeholder coalition to devise mechanisms to make transparency a reality.

Fair Trade

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is giving to the promotion of fair trade. [84501]

Clare Short: Through the Development Awareness Fund, DFID has provided £120,000 to the Fairtrade Foundation (FTF) over three years (2001–03) in support of its efforts to target new consumers through its annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaigns. The Fortnight is designed to highlight the positive developmental impacts of fair trade and the range of fair trade products on offer.

DFID is also funding a project that addresses a recognised bottleneck within fair trade—namely the limited number of products for which international fair trade standards exist. This project (at a total cost of £300,000) aims to develop five new product standards, secure the registration of 20 new producer groups and help bring an additional 20 new fair trade products to supermarket shelves over the next two years. The target is to increase the retail value of fair trade sales in the UK to over £100 million by 2004, and by so doing, extend the benefits of fair trade to a greater number of producers in developing countries. By expanding the scale of fair trade activities, the project also aims to secure a sustainable future for the FTF, so that its core operational costs (including the cost of subsequent product development) are fully funded from the income it receives from licensees.

DFID's support to the FT movement is part of a broader programme to encourage wider adoption of ethical trading codes and standards by major transnational corporations, and continuing efforts to reform the international trading system.

Immunisation Programmes

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions her Department has had with the World Health Organisation regarding the availability of vaccinations for immunisation programmes in developing countries. [83733]

Clare Short: DFID and WHO are both board members of the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), which is a major international initiative to enhance access to vaccines and immunisation in developing countries. The issue of vaccine supply has been extensively discussed within this forum. DFID has also held talks with Unicef, who are key players in the issue of vaccine procurement.

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Overseas Aid

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has made to the US Government calling for them to raise overseas development assistant to 0.7 per cent. of GNI. [75059]

Clare Short: I have made clear on many occasions to our own Government, to the USA and other developed countries, the need for donors to work towards the 0.7 per cent. target of official development assistance as a proportion of GNI. The Government itself has committed, in the Comprehensive Spending Review, to reaching a ratio of 0.4 per cent. by financial year 2006–07. I welcome the establishment by the USA of the Millennium Challenge Account, which will increase US development assistance by 50 per cent. in cash terms by 2006. I hope that the USA will continue to expand its development assistance programmes towards the levels of ODA/GNI achieved by most other developed countries. US Assistance has the potential to make a very significant contribution towards the reduction of poverty in the world.

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