Previous Section Index Home Page

4 Apr 2005 : Column 1203W—continued

Democratic Republic of Congo

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government
4 Apr 2005 : Column 1204W
are taking to assist rural populations living in and depending on the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo to obtain security of land tenure. [224107]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development (DFID) is not currently providing direct support to rural populations living in the forest areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However natural resource management has been identified in our country engagement plan as one of the key areas of possible future UK support to the DRC. We are developing a DRC natural resources strategy, due later this year, which will indicate the nature of any likely support, including the forestry sector amongst others. DFID also keeps in regular touch with the World Bank and non-governmental organisations on forestry issues in the DRC.

DFID is also funding a review of the management of natural resource extraction in the DRC, to help in the establishment of more transparent means of natural resource management in the future for the benefit of the Congolese people.

Fair Trade

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action the Government have taken to encourage the adoption of fair trade rules by (a) the European Union, (b) the World Bank, (c) the IMF and (d) other international bodies. [224162]

Hilary Benn: The UK Government are fully committed to a framework of rules for world trade that is fair as well as free, that works in the interests of the world's poor, and provides developing countries the opportunity to trade themselves out of poverty. This can only be achieved through the multilateral system, particularly the world trade organisations (WTO) and the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA).

DFID is working with its partners in the EU to press for a successful outcome to the Doha round and to ensure impact of the EU's trade policies on developing countries is taken into account. For example during negotiations between the EU and African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries over Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) we are working to ensure EPAs are designed to deliver long-term development, economic growth and poverty reduction in ACP countries. The UK Government also works closely with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international bodies such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to ensure developing countries receive support to engage in trade negotiations and integrate progressively into the global trading system.


Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the extent to which Rwanda's new land policy safeguards the livelihoods of the rural poor; what assessment he has made of its likely impact on security
4 Apr 2005 : Column 1205W
in the country; and if he will make a statement on how the UK will engage with Rwanda on the issue of land reform. [223852]

Hilary Benn: Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa with 90 per cent. of a population of over 8 million people earning their livelihoods from the land. Most families operate at the level of subsistence agriculture, producing almost entirely for their own consumption. Tenure of some 90 per cent. of the arable land in Rwanda is currently based upon customary rights, with no formal written title. Rwanda faces the challenge of trying to promote economic growth and reduce poverty in an economy largely dependent upon unsustainable, low productivity subsistence agriculture, while at the same time addressing a historical legacy of land disputes in the interests of national reconciliation.

Rwanda's Draft National Land Policy (June 2004) has the overall objective

Safeguards for the Livelihoods of the Rural Poor

The draft policy and land law include provisions that contribute to safeguarding the livelihoods of the poor in the following areas:

However, the draft land law gives the government and its officials considerable administrative powers in order to achieve its policy objectives. Protecting the livelihoods of the rural poor will depend upon the way in which these powers are exercised.

Likely impact upon security in Rwanda

A lack of consistent policy and an absence of procedure for dealing with land was a contributory factor in the conflict in Rwanda that culminated in the genocide in 1994. The land reforms seek to remedy this and hopefully make an important contribution to achieving long-term peace and security in Rwanda.

How the UK will engage with Rwanda on the issue of land reform

DFID has been providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Land in Rwanda since August 2002 and supported the development of the Strategic Plan for Agricultural Transformation in Rwanda". From this engagement we judge that the Government of Rwanda are sincere in their intentions of taking forward land reform in the best interests of all Rwandan people. The Government have noted that the land reform process
4 Apr 2005 : Column 1206W
will take at least 10 years and that the procedures envisaged in the policy and law will need to be carefully tested before they are implemented across the country.

DFID's Rwanda programme is planning to provide support to produce a road map" for the implementation of the land reform proposals. The support will focus on consultation with those affected by the land reform proposals; will test approaches to land reform based upon local priorities and provide the required, structured training for the Ministry of Land and other key Government of Rwanda staff involved in land reform.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what total aid budget to Rwanda is planned for 2005–06. [224579]

Hilary Benn: The total UK aid budget for Rwanda for 2005–06 is £47 million.

Of this, £31 million will be transferred to the Government of Rwanda as Poverty Reduction Budget Support to enable Rwanda to meet the costs of implementing policies and programmes under Rwanda's Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Working in co-ordination with other donors in response to specific needs of the Government of Rwanda as set out in the DFID Country Assistance Plan for Rwanda, the remaining £16 million of the total UK commitment to Rwanda for 2005–06 will be provided in the form of projects and programmes. These will provide targeted technical assistance for capacity building activities in Government of Rwanda Ministries and other bodies. UK funded technical assistance in 2005–06 will focus support in the following areas: education; social protection (including support to genocide survivors); improving gender equity in public policy; land reform; civil service reform; support to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and public financial management.

In addition to our bilateral commitment to Rwanda, the UK has contributed an estimated €5.8 million to planned European Commission development programmes Rwanda for 2005.

Shipping Lines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's spending was in each of the last two years with the shipping lines (a) P&O, (b) Nippin Yusen Kaisha, (c) Mitsui Osaka Shosen Kaisha, (d) Orient Overseas Container Line and (e) Mediterranean Shipping Corporation. [217316]

Hilary Benn: DFID has not made any direct payment to the shipping lines cited. All of DFID's shipping needs are met by specialised freight handling companies who we pay directly. We do not require these companies to maintain a central report of payments made to individual shipping lines and this information could be obtained only by incurring a disproportionate cost.
4 Apr 2005 : Column 1207W

Next Section Index Home Page