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14. Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the Indian Government about further assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake in Gujarat. [692]

Clare Short: My Department is in active discussions with the Indian Government regarding the possibility of our providing assistance to help strengthen disaster management arrangements in the country, in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake and other major disasters. To this end, an expert DFID team has recently visited India to assess the current situation and will be putting forward recommendations shortly.

Our priority has been to ensure that those who survived the earthquake were cared for until normal services were restored. In my statement to the House on Monday 29 January, I announced an overall allocation of up to £10 million to support the emergency relief efforts in Gujarat without reducing spending in other parts of India. To date nearly £9 million of the total allocation has been disbursed. We are considering allocating the balance to help strengthen natural disaster management capacity.

Good Governance

15. Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to encourage improved governance in developing countries in receipt of British aid. [693]

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Clare Short: Our strategy on good governance is outlined in the consultation document "Making Government Work for Poor People", which was placed in the Libraries of both Houses in June 2000. We have made commitments of £650 million for the period 1997–98 to 2000–01 to programmes where governance was a principal element. A further £1.3 billion was committed over the same period on programmes where governance was a significant element.

Trade Negotiations

17. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she has given to developing countries to enable them to represent their interests at international negotiations about trade. [695]

Clare Short: Currently the WTO is hosting negotiations on trade in services and in agricultural products. For agriculture, we are funding a consultant at the South Centre to assist developing countries develop negotiating proposals. We are in the process of establishing a scheme with UNCTAD to provide assistance for developing countries for the services negotiations. We aim to add to the work that the WTO Secretariat and the EU's new ACP office do for countries with low representation at the WTO by strengthening the work that organisations like the Commonwealth Secretariat and AITIC undertake. An important element of beneficial representation at the WTO is good trade policy capacity in capitals. We are running many programmes in developing countries to build such capacity.

Ilisu Dam

19. Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her Department's involvement in decisions on granting export credit for the proposed Ilisu hydro-electric dam in Turkey. [697]

Clare Short: DFID was first consulted about this project as a part of ECGD's wider Whitehall consultation in January 1999. At the beginning of that year, DFID commented on ECGD's terms of reference for an independent review of environmental and resettlement impact reports produced by the project sponsors. Turkey is not a priority country for DFID and since mid-July 1999 DFID has had no further advisory input into any decisions on the project.

HIV/AIDS (Sub-Saharan Africa)

21. Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her policy on combating HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. [699]

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. We know what needs to be done to tackle the disease, and I strongly believe that commitments by the international community must now be transformed into a worldwide effort to contain the spread of the disease.

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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.

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 support of the national response 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 £25 million to support the International Partnership Against AIDS in Africa, and £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 is needed to deliver them.


22. Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much bilateral aid was granted to Nepal in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [700]

Clare Short: The total bilateral aid given by HMG to Nepal in each of the last five years is as follows:


(7) Provisional

Palestinian Authority

23. Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement about UK aid to the Palestinian Authority. [701]

Clare Short: Britain is providing assistance to the Palestinian Authority to help reduce poverty and support democratic and accountable government in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinians are suffering badly from the effects of the current conflict and the economic sanctions imposed by Israel.


24. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she last had discussions with the Chinese Government regarding human rights abuses in Tibet. [703]

Clare Short: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office leads for British Government on the dialogue on human rights in China and raises this regularly with the Chinese Government. In addition to those held at the multilateral

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and European levels, discussions on human rights are taken forward at the UK-China human rights dialogue, last held in February 2001.

During my last visit to China in October 2000, I discussed a number of issues with the Chinese Government, including human rights. My Department's main concern is to help those people in all parts of China who live in abject poverty. Since 1978, China has experienced a remarkable reduction in poverty, and continues to achieve impressive social indicators, for example low child mortality and high rates of enrolment in primary education. There has been a significant improvement in respect for the economic and social rights of the poor in China. We will continue to press the case for more progress on civil and political rights.

Civil Society Programmes

(South-eastern Europe)

25. Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to develop civil society programmes that will contribute to stability in south-eastern Europe. [704]

Clare Short: Strengthening of the role of civil society is one of the main objectives of our programmes in south-eastern Europe.

In Serbia we are designing a major project to assist co-operation between civil society and government in service delivery. In Croatia we have agreed a programme of support to the Government Office for NGOs, support to civil society co-operation with government and to evaluation of government grants to NGOs. In Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina we are supporting major social policy projects, which include the involvement of civil society in design and delivery of programmes. In Albania we have also assisted with the government's arrangements for consultation with civil society on its poverty reduction strategy. In Macedonia we are working with civil society agencies to develop a network of citizens advice and information services.

Refugees (Middle East)

27. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support Her Majesty's Government will give to refugees and refugee resettlement in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. [706]

Clare Short: We have increased our support to UNRWA to help with both its regular operations and its special measures to address the growing social and economic hardship in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Our contributions in 2001 will exceed £18 million.

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