|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): We have agreed to reach the UN aid/GNP target as soon as possible, but are not prepared to set a timetable for reaching it. The increased funding for the aid programme announced by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 29 November demonstrates our commitment to a substantial aid budget.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We received the report in September. Since then we have agreed to provide £365,000 to Save the Children Fund for a further village rehabilitation project, which includes special measures for assisting female-headed households, and for a pilot income-generation project for very poor urban households, many of which are headed by women. We have distributed the report widely to other aid agencies, in particular the UN agencies, who have welcomed it as a basis for targeting food aid and other assistance.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: International treaties are binding on states and not on individuals. The United Kingdom is party to both treaties and it must comply with its obligations under them. In so far as acts of Ministers and civil servants in the discharge of their public functions constitute acts which engage the responsibility of the United Kingdom, they must comply with the terms of the treaties.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Many states have accepted international obligations not to possess nuclear weapons (for example, by becoming non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the non-proliferation treaty). Otherwise there is no general prohibition of the possession of nuclear weapons. Whether the use or the threatened use of nuclear weapons was unlawful in any individual case would depend on the particular circumstances of that case.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The President of the United Nations Security Council issued a statement on 30 November in response to the Secretary-General's report on the situation in the refugee camps in Zaire and the proposals put forward in that report. We fully support that statement, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Government's consultative paper Tackling Drugs Together, launched on 19 October, demonstrates the Government's firm commitment to tackling the menace of illicit drugs both at home and abroad.
In his reply of 24 November to my honourable friend the Member for Swindon, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary set out the action the Government is taking to improve the effectiveness of international co-operation against drug traffickers. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is actively involved in supporting these activities.
In this context, we have raised the profile and priority of drugs in our bilateral contacts with other countries, taking advantage of ministerial contacts where this would be useful and through our diplomatic missions abroad.
At the multilateral level, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary stressed at the United Nations General Assembly on 28 September that "the international community needs to give full support to the UN International Drugs Control Programme (UNDCP), which has responsibility for leading the global effort in this field. The UN is the best resource for tackling this global menace". We are providing an extra £1.2 million to fund UNDCP projects. This will bring total United Kingdom assistance to other governments (including through UNDCP) to £8 million in this financial year.
The United Kingdom, as Chairman of the group of UNDCP major donors, will continue to encourage others to increase their contributions to UNDCP. We are moreover actively encouraging the international financial and development institutions to give higher priority to drugs and crime in their country programmes.
We also play a prominent role in other international meetingsfor example, in the Dublin Group of donors, which seeks to develop a dialogue with governments of producer and transit countries on drugs issues. We are also encouraging the EU to be more active in combating drug trafficking, particularly in areas of intergovernmental co-operation. We have, for example, been at the forefront of efforts to associate countries of central and eastern Europe with EU work on drugs and organised crime; and we have taken a leading part in EU efforts to develop co-operation with other neighbouring countries in the Mahgreb and Levant. We are furthermore encouraging the Commonwealth to give the issue of drugs and crime a higher political priority.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The EU arms embargo on Syria was lifted on 28 November. All applications for the sale of arms will be considered on a case-by-case basis in the light of the international guidelines to which we are committed. These include whether a proposed transfer would be likely to increase tension in the region or contribute to regional instability.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: I represented the United Kingdom at the Council. There was extensive discussion of the situation in Rwanda. an action programme totalling 67 mecu (c£52 million) was endorsed and the importance of national reconciliation underlined. Further progress was made on co-ordination between Community and member state aid programmes, notably through agreement on joint guidelines on food security and education. There were also useful exchanges of view on the state of play on the mid term review of the Lomé Convention, future assistance to South Africa and evaluation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): These are operational matters for the Highways Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, to write to the noble Lord.
The Highways Agency's contractors are currently installing lighting on a 7-mile (11 km) length of the A.2 from its junction with the A.296 almost to the M.2 (Junction 1). With the completion of the work
The present lighting scheme is justified economically on the basis of a projected 30 per cent. reduction in the night-time accident record. The scheme, which complies fully with the latest Department of Transport design standards, involves the installation of lighting columns providing a 15-metre mounting height for lanterns of 'flat glass' construction using high pressure sodium lamp sources. This type of equipment minimises lighting spillage beyond the highway and is considered to be the most environmentally friendly currently available.
Although it is not our practice to carry out full environmental assessments in respect for road safety schemes on existing unaltered road, we are careful to ensure that any adverse effects are kept to an absolute minimum. This applies particularly in environmentally sensitive urban areas. The department's publication Road Lighting and the Environment sets out the policy on this. The A.2 lighting scheme was discussed with members of the Landscape Advisory Committee, who made special day and night-time inspections of the lit and unlit sections of the road. Their recommendations were incorporated into the design. A full environmental assessment has been carried out in respect of the M.2 widening scheme.
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page