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Western Sahara

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the decision of the UN to extend the Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara until 30 April; and what impact he expects this to have on Morocco. [154462]

Mr. Rammell: We have consistently supported the efforts of the UN Secretary General and James Baker III, his Personal Envoy, to find a solution to the dispute over Western Sahara. We supported UN Security Council Resolution 1523, which extended the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April, allowing Morocco the opportunity to consult further with Mr. Baker on the final Moroccan response to the latest UN Proposals, known as the Peace Plan. We continue to urge Morocco to engage constructively with Mr. Baker.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation with regard to the imprisonment of Western Sahara Polisario activists in Morocco. [154463]

Mr. Rammell: Ministers and officials regularly call upon the parties to the Western Sahara dispute to take action on human rights issues and we also raise specific cases. For example, my officials raised with the Moroccan authorities the cases of some of the 12 Saharawi activists who were subsequently released by the Moroccan authorities on 7 January 2004. We also raise with the Polisario and Algerian authorities the over 600 Moroccan prisoners of war who continue to be held by the Polisario, many on Algerian territory. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, taking action with the appropriate authorities where necessary.


Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at which EU General Affairs Council meetings in the last six months he has called for the toughening of EU sanctions against the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe; and what specific measures he called for. [155437]

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Mr. Straw: We have been consistent advocates of tough EU sanctions against Mugabe. The present measures consist of an arms embargo on Zimbabwe, and an assets freeze and travel ban on leading members of the regime. I have raised the matter with relevant EU Foreign Minister colleagues on a number of occasions and so have officials on my behalf with their counterparts. The result is that with our strong support, these measures were extended on 19 February for a further year.

We also sought and secured an increase in the number of senior ZANU-PF figures subject to the travel ban and assets freeze, from 79 to 95. This includes several additional individuals who bear particular responsibility for the abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe.

The 23 February General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), which I attended, issued a strong statement deploring the failure of the government of Zimbabwe to address the EU's concerns over the deteriorating situation in the country. The GAERC also made clear the EU's intent to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe, on the basis of need.


Agriculture (Africa)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of (a) employment, (b) exports and (c) gross national income in (a) Nigeria, (b) Ghana, (c) Tanzania and (d) Kenya is accounted for by agriculture. [155405]

Hilary Benn: Accurate data on agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa are not always available. For example, some smallholder farmers may not be taken into account in those agricultural censuses and surveys that focus on 'formal' agriculture. DFID does not produce its own data—the following have been collated from other sources which we believe to be among the best available:

2001 labour force employed in agriculture(12) (percentage)2001 agricultural exports as percentage of total(13)2001 agricultural production as percentage GDP(14)

(12) World Resources Institute (2001) sourced from FAOstat.

(13) World Bank (2003) African Development Indicators 2003.

(14) World Bank (2003) World Development Indicators 2003.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of (a) employment, (b) exports and (c) gross national income in (i) Mozambique, (ii) Malawi and (iii) Lesotho is accounted for by agriculture. [155407]

Hilary Benn: The SADC 2000 Human Development Report suggests that in 1990 the percentage of the labour force deriving its primary source of income from agriculture was 87 per cent. in Malawi, 83 per cent. in Mozambique and 40 per cent. in Lesotho (where only

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10 per cent. of the land area is suitable for cultivation). These figures are broadly in line with more recent assessments in the three countries. In all three countries, a higher percentage of households derive at least some of their livelihood from farming.

Agriculture contributes 93 per cent. of export earnings in Malawi, 6 per cent. in Mozambique and 1 per cent. in Lesotho.

Agriculture represents 33 per cent. of GDP in both Malawi and Mozambique, and 18 per cent. in Lesotho.


Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the allegations that foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority from the EU has been diverted to the Al-Aqsa brigade. [155043]

Hilary Benn: The European Union takes such allegations extremely seriously, and has responded by in investigating the matter. The Commission, on the basis of the material it has examined, has not found any evidence of European funds being used for terrorism or other purposes other than those agreed with the Palestinian Authority. A comprehensive report on the matter, by the EU's Anti Fraud Office, is due to be published shortly.

Bush Meat

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when the inter-departmental ministerial group on biodiversity will discuss bushmeat. [153152]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

The first meeting of this group is likely to take place soon after my return from the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity later this month. Bushmeat is an issue that the Group will want to consider, but all arrangements for this meeting, including the agenda, still have to be finalised.

Central America

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures are in place to deal with Central American garment factories that are found not to comply with the relevant codes of conduct. [155279]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: If a Central American garment factory is found not to comply with codes of conduct enshrined in national legislation, the relevant government institution is responsible for taking remedial actions, as laid out within the legislation. If, however, a garment factory is found not to comply with the corporate codes of conduct specified by the retailers with which the garment factory has a contract, remedial actions are identified by the independent monitor by the retailers to ensure compliance. If these actions are not taken, the factory is liable to be fined by the retailers, or in serious breaches, to losing the contract. The threat of losing a contract is a powerful incentive for a factory to implement these actions.

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Chad-Cameroon Pipeline

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) when independent external audits of the Chad/Cameroon pipeline project will be undertaken; [155408]

Hilary Benn: DFID is not directly involved in funding or implementing this World Bank project. DFID therefore does not have first-hand information on detailed implementation issues concerning external auditing, fiscal accountability, environmental and safety compliance or oil spill response plans.

However, DFID is confident that the World Bank's systems for the monitoring and implementation of this project, and for the investigation of any warranted complaints are appropriate.

Since the project was approved in June 2000, exceptional resources have been allocated by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, to monitor and support the project's implementation against Internationally agreed standards. This includes the establishment of the Independent Inspection Panel (IIP) and the External Compliance Monitoring Group (ECMG).

In relation to the quality of auditing and fiscal accountability, the World Bank policy identifies two sets of appropriate auditing standards: the International Standards on Auditing published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Auditing Standards published by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions. Project arrangements provide for regular audits of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline projects accounts, plus independent opinions from the International Advisory Group (IAG) and the External Compliance and Monitoring Group (ECMG), which carries out regular independent supervisions of the technical and environmental aspects of the project, and from the Inspection Panel which may investigate complaints from people who believe they have been negatively affected by a World Bank project.

The Chad-Cameroon pipeline is subject to a number of monitoring and supervision controls to ensure quality control, application of environmental regulations, design and implementation adhere to International rules and regulations. The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) has strict requirements and specifications, and compliance with these by all parties is spelled out in legally binding agreements. Strong remedies are provided in legal agreements with all parties in case they fail to comply with this obligation. The EMP represents an extensive analysis of the potential environmental and social impacts of the project.

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The World Bank are being advised by the ECMG in monitoring the implementation of the Environmental Management Plan, and by an International Advisory Group on broader implementation issues, including those that need to be addressed to achieve the project's developmental objectives. Both the ECMG and IAG make regular site visits. These third party reviews supplement the Bank's own monitoring and supervision of the project which includes site visits, internal reporting and continual discussions with the project sponsors.

The above measures are additional to on-going monitoring by the Consortium and by the Governments of Chad and Cameroon. The Consortium provides quarterly reports which are publicly available.

DFID's interest is as a member of the Executive Board of the World Bank. We do and will continue to take our role on the Executive Board seriously, ensuring that issues identified by the Independent Inspection Panel and External Compliance Monitoring Group are raised, monitored and rectified.

The investigation reports mentioned above are publicly available and can be found on http://www.

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