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11 Dec 2002 : Column 339W—continued

West Africa (Cocoa Production)

24. Mr. Pond: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures her Department is taking to assist those employed in West African cocoa production. [84710]

Clare Short: It is imperative that we help producers in developing countries benefit from international trade, in order to facilitate economic growth and to help contribute to poverty reduction. Thus through the Doha Development Agenda agreed at the 4th WTO Ministerial in November 2001, the UK is arguing for significant reductions in trade distorting policies and greater access for developing country products to OECD markets, particularly for agricultural goods.

At a country-specific level, the UK Government are providing direct support to West African Governments for the development of smallholder agriculture. Specifically in Ghana, the UK supports feeder roads construction in cocoa growing areas, which has restored access to markets and provided alternative short-term employment for farmers. The UK has also supported a fair trade initiative to market Ghanaian chocolate in the UK.


26. John Robertson: What assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Angola. [84712]

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Clare Short: The humanitarian situation in Angola remains serious. Since the ceasefire, already over-stretched aid agencies have been able to access several thousand more severely malnourished people. The 2003 UN CAP states that 4.3 million Angolans depend on some form of humanitarian assistance and the WFP has raised its caseload figure of people requiring assistance to 1.9 million. However, humanitarian agencies are still unable to reach 200,000 people and 40 per cent. of the countryside due to damaged infrastructure, inadequate road networks and mine infestation. Up to one million people may be cut-off during the upcoming seasonal rains.

This year, my Department has provided almost #8 million in humanitarian support. This includes #2 million to the International Committee for the Red Cross and Medicins Sans Frontieres, #300,000 to the United Nations Development Programme for demining, #250,000 to assist the International Organization for Migration with the resettlement of internally displaced people (IDPs), and over #2.5 million to the World Food Programme (WFP).

Zimbabwe (Governance)

27. Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her policy on aid to Zimbabwe, with special reference to promotion of good governance. [84713]

Clare Short: Our assistance for Zimbabwe is focused entirely on the interlinked crises of the food shortage and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Both are set in the context of disastrous national policies on the economy and governance. We do not believe that the people of

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Zimbabwe should be deprived of international support in the current crises because of the gross misgovernment of their country.

HIPC (World Bank)

28. Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department is doing to increase the transparency of World Bank decisions affecting poverty in heavily indebted poor countries; and if she will make a statement. [84714]

Clare Short: Since April 2001, the World Bank has been moving towards making the work of its executive board more transparent. We have encouraged and are supportive of these efforts. The Chairman's concluding remarks or summings up are now made publicly available on most board discussions, including those on the debt sustainability analyses that underpin decisions on the level of debt relief to the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs). These analyses are prepared jointly by the World Bank and IMF in collaboration with the Governments in the countries themselves.


Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what efforts the Government are making to assist in the process of having open and democratic elections in Afghanistan in December 2003. [84201]

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

The UK is working closely with the Transitional Authority, the UN and international partners to secure the full implementation of the 2001 Bonn Agreement, the framework within which elections in 2004 will take place. Our focus is on working to ensure the elections take place in a context of stability—political, economic and security.

We are in continual dialogue with the Transitional Authority, supporting its efforts to rebuild the mechanisms of government. We contributed #1 million to the office of the UN Special Representative to assist with their work developing a political framework and #1 million to the Afghan Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank to assist them with capacity building and restructuring. The UK has earmarked a further #1 million for the development of an independent judicial system.

The UK has pledged #200 million over the next five years for both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and is also contributing 19 per cent. of the European Commission's Euro1 billion assistance package over the same period. Our contribution of #13 million, last week, helped Afghanistan clear its debt arrears to international financial institutions and enabled the Afghan Transitional Authority to access an Asian Development Bank concessional loan of #100 million to support the reconstruction effort.

The UK led the multi-national ISAF, authorised by the United Nations Security Council, from December 2001 until June 2002.

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Security Sector Reform (SSR) is the best way of extending the ISAF effect outside Kabul. The UK has committed #22 million for SSR including support for the Office of the National Security Adviser.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian aid she plans for Argentina; and if she will make a statement. [84689]

Clare Short: None. We are focusing our effort on working with the international financial institutions which are providing support to address Argentina's economic crisis.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans her Department has to increase its total spending on HIV/AIDS projects over the next three years. [86243]

Clare Short: My Department places HIV/AIDS high on our list of priorities of countries and is making significant contributions to combating the epidemic. In our bilateral programme alone, expenditure on HIV/AIDS-related work has increased from #38 million in 1997–98 to over #200 million in 2001–02. DFID's overall programme in Africa is set to increase from #640 million to #1 billion by 2006 and HIV/AIDS will remain one of the highest priorities for the region. We will continue to support health system strengthening and comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and mitigation programmes. We will also support the development and implementation of national AIDS control strategies to combat the epidemic, and to provide assistance in the framework of such strategies.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department spent on HIV/AIDS programmes in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002 through (i) bi-lateral, (ii) NGOs and (iii) bilateral aid. [86244]

Clare Short: Data are not held centrally in the format requested and to collate them would incur disproportionate costs. However, my Department has spent the following amounts on HIV/AIDS related work through the bilateral programme, including through NGOs.

# million

We have also made the following multilateral contributions to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS):

# million

We have also in this period provided funding to other international agencies with significant HIV/AIDS programmes, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the European Community (EC) and the World Bank. However, it is not possible to determine the portion of our contributions used for HIV/AIDS work as opposed to the other work of these agencies.

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Tanzania (Prison Overcrowding)

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has made to the Government of Tanzania regarding prison overcrowding in the country; and if she will make a statement. [84983]

Clare Short: DFID provides budgetary support to the Government of Tanzania's Poverty Reduction Strategy which this year increased resources for prisons, police, and the judiciary. Legal Sector Reform is a key priority of the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Denmark is the lead donor for this work. We are aware of concerns on lack of progress and DFID have been asked to participate in a joint donor and government appraisal early in 2003 to agree on next steps.

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