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UK Youth Parliament

12. Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to engage with the UK youth parliament to further the objectives of her Department. [152220]

Clare Short: Raising young people's awareness and understanding of development issues is the top priority of my Department's development awareness work, and we are working with the formal and development education sectors to achieve this. Currently we are not directly engaged with the UK youth parliament. However we will follow its work with interest and will seek suitable opportunities to share information on international development issues.

Third-world Poverty

14. Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of gross national product the UK proposes to spend on her Department's activities in 2001-02 on alleviation of poverty in third-world countries. [152222]

Clare Short: Early indications are that the UK is on track to reach an oda/GNP ratio of 0.29 per cent. for calendar year 2000, up from 0.26 per cent. in 1997. We cannot determine what the figure will be for 2001-02 with any certainty at this stage. The recent spending round settlement increased DFlD's development budget to

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£3.6 billion in the financial year 2003-04 and the Government will ensure that the oda/GNP ratio will rise to 0.33 per cent. by that year.


15. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her plans for assistance to Cambodia. [152223]

Clare Short: We will continue working with the Royal Government of Cambodia and other partners to improve the livelihoods of poor people, especially those living in rural areas. Provided that the policy environment in Cambodia is sufficiently sound, the amount of assistance allocated by DFID under the main bilateral programme will increase substantially over the next three years from the level of £3.7 million planned in the current financial year. Our Country Strategy Paper for Cambodia was published in March 2000 and is available in the Library of the House.


16. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the aid programme for Zimbabwe. [152224]

Clare Short: The economic and political situation in Zimbabwe is deeply worrying. The economy is set to shrink by a further 6 per cent. this year and the poor of Zimbabwe in particular are suffering badly--jobs are being lost, prices are increasing and there is a potential for food shortages.

I have kept the UK development programme under close review since 1997. We have since made clear that we support land reform in Zimbabwe but having fulfilled our commitments under the Lancaster House agreement could only fund reform which was transparent and provided land to poor farmers. I have recently authorised a £20 million HIV/AIDS programme because one in four adult Zimbabweans are HIV positive. I am sure the House will agree that we should do what we can to lessen the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe as a result of the behaviour of their Government.

World Trade Organisation

17. Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her discussions with other Governments on a new WTO round of negotiations. [152225]

Clare Short: I have recently visited India and South Africa, where I spoke with political leaders about the need for a "Development Round" of trade negotiations. I stay in regular contact with Pascal Lamy, the EU's Trade Commissioner. Later this month I am hosting a meeting of EU Development Ministers, at which the Directors General of the World Trade Organisation and United Nations on Trade and Development will speak. DTI Ministers, officials and my officials are also working hard to build a consensus on a new trade round with developing countries.

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18. Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made with respect to the Country Plan for Tanzania; and if she will make a statement. [152226]

Clare Short: We published our three year Country Strategy Paper for Tanzania in May 1999 after extensive consultations in-country with Government, private sector, civil society and other agencies. Tanzania has since 1999 published the Tanzania Assistance Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. We welcome these and are reviewing our programme in Tanzania in order to strengthen our support for these initiatives. Our office in Tanzania is engaged in intensive discussions with Government and other partners and I expect to receive a report on progress and recommendations for our future support in June 2001.

Trafficking in Human Beings

19. Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has made to the UN on appointing a commissioner on the trafficking of children. [152227]

Clare Short: A UN mandate already exist on the sale of children and the Committee on the Rights of the Child is dedicated to monitoring the implementation of the convention on the Rights of the Child. At the Millennium Summit, the Prime Minister signed the optional protocol to this convention which strengthens the protection it provides against the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Government have also signed a new convention against transnational crime, which includes a protocol on trafficking of women and children.

Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of efforts to stop trafficking in humans in Africa. [152426]

Clare Short: We are determined to do all we can to see an end to trafficking in humans in Africa. Along with our EU partners we have expressed our concerns in international organisations such as the UN Commission for Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation. In the past year in Sudan, the EU Commission has provided financial support to the Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC): CEAWC has already organised the return of some 550 abducted women and children there. Our ambassador in Khartoum has been active in visiting the areas affected and in attending CEAWC workshops to urge greater effort.

AIDS (Sub-Saharan Africa)

20. Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what initiatives she has to fight AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. [152228]

Clare Short: HIV/AIDS is the single most important development challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. The epidemic is undermining economic growth and fundamentally threatens social and economic development in many countries in the region. DFID continues to give greatest priority to prevention, but we also place great emphasis on reducing the personal, social and economic impact of illness and death caused by the disease.

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As national strategic plans to tackle the epidemic improve, we have begun to place our support within the framework of those plans. For example, we have recently approved significant HIV/AIDS related programmes in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe totalling over £60 million, and a £20 million programme is being designed to support Mozambique. A new programme for South Africa is also planned for this year. We have also committed £7.5 million to a regional initiative on HIV/AIDS with the Southern Africa Development Community.

In addition, the Government are exploring the potential of a number of options for increasing the long term affordability and availability of treatment for HIV/AIDS and related infections which will benefit sub-Saharan Africa, while maintaining a focus on the development of long term sustainable health systems which are needed to deliver them.

Overseas Development (Expenditure)

21. Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the level of public and private sector resource transfers from the UK to developing countries in the last financial year, expressed as a percentage of GNP. [152229]

Clare Short: Figures on levels of public and private sector transfers to developing countries as a percentage of GNP are collated in calendar years and the latest data available are for 1999. In that year, public sector transfers represented 0.23 per cent. of GNP. This figure shows a drop from recent years, caused by some one-off anomalies in the timing of commitments and expenditure. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw) on 3 May 2000, Official Report, column 127W, which further details the reasons for this anomalous drop. The level of private sector transfers as a percentage of GNP in 1999 was 0.46 per cent.


22. Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her Department's support for poverty reduction in Ghana. [152230]

Clare Short: During my recent trip to Ghana, I had constructive meetings with the new Government, and representatives from civil society and business. There is a sense of optimism, but the economic situation is dire. I strongly encouraged the Government to apply for HIPC status as they are currently paying massive interest on international and domestic debt. The President has since announced that Ghana will apply for HIPC status. We are the largest bilateral donor and our programme of support may reach £58 million next year, focusing on health, education, rural transport and reform of government systems.

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