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Developing Countries (Governance)

24. Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she next plans to meet representatives of the World bank to discuss governance in developing countries. [6136]

Clare Short: I have had discussions with the president of the World bank, James Wolfensohn, and his senior officials on a number of occasions throughout the year and, among other topics, have discussed governance.

My Department considers good governance to be crucial to achievement of the international development targets, and has recently published a Governance Target Strategy Paper. This sets out our agenda for building the capability of the state in developing and transitional countries, to govern in ways that promote poverty eradication. Copies of this document are available in the House of Commons Library and on our website.

An important priority in our governance strategy is to work in close collaboration with other development agencies, including the World bank, to promote and support a more coherent approach to making government work for poor people. My officials are pursuing this goal with colleagues in the World bank in the context of the Poverty Reduction Strategy framework, on a number of governance-related areas, including public financial management, public sector reform, and judicial reform.


25. Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had regarding the Ilisu Dam project in south-east Turkey. [6137]

Clare Short: I have had no discussions on this project.


26. Mr. Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to help developing countries fight corruption. [6138]

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Clare Short: Our bilateral programmes provide a wide range of assistance depending on the particular needs of each country. This includes support for national anti- corruption strategies (including support for specific anti-corruption agencies); strengthening capacity for public sector budgetary and financial management procurement, accounting and audit; reforming civil service management, enhancing public oversight through strengthened parliamentary committees, developing measures to reduce judicial corruption and supporting civil society to promote transparency and accountability in public life.

We are also providing support to the UK National Criminal Intelligence Service, as current secretariat to the Egmont Group of national Financial Intelligence Units, to assist developing countries in developing financial intelligence systems to counter money laundering and are working closely with the Home Office to strengthen arrangements for mutual legal assistance, including providing practical guidance to developing country Governments to help them access the UK system.

The Department is also collaborating with other bilateral development agencies and contributing to multilateral efforts, in particular through supporting the implementation of international conventions against bribery in international trade and strengthening regional anti-money-laundering mechanisms.

United Nations Agencies

28. Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the United Nations agencies in respect of which her Department acts as the United Kingdom lead Ministry. [6140]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development is the lead Ministry for the following United Nations Agencies:

We work closely with the FCO in respect of the following two agencies, where we take the lead on specific issues relating to our work:

Forced Labour

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress member states have made in ratifying and implementing the provisions

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of the conventions relating to the elimination of forced and compulsory labour covered by the ILO's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. [8072]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I have been asked to reply.

Out of a total of 175 member states, 159 have ratified ILO Convention 29 (Forced Labour), and 155 have ratified ILO Convention 105 (Abolition of Forced Labour). Member states which have ratified the Conventions must report to the ILO on implementation every two years, and member states which have not ratified must report on progress towards ratification every four years.

Sustainable Development Summit

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what consultation she (a) has had and (b) will have with (i) the Department for the Environment and (ii) non-governmental organisations regarding the UK's proposals for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. [8312]

Clare Short: My Department is closely involved, at both official and ministerial level, in planning and agreeing HMG objectives for the summit. DFID is also in close touch with development NGOs. We will make available a briefing note on the UK position well in advance of the summit. WSSD is one of the three themes for the 2002 series of Development Policy Forums which take place across the UK in the first six months of next year.

Microcredit Programme

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if the Government will (a) support the Microcredit programme and (b) propose an increase in the level of UN funding for it; and if she will make a statement. [9029]

Clare Short: Microcredit has a very important role to play in achieving the Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.

Poor people need continuous access to appropriate savings, credit and other financial services. Put together, these services help poor people take advantage of opportunities to increase their incomes and build more secure livelihoods.

For this reason, DFID has made multi-year investments totalling some £100 million, strengthening micro-finance institutions throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. Its bilateral programmes and partnerships with many other agencies support the development and dissemination of best practice in micro-finance. DFID collaborates with many expert institutions in this field. They include the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, a coalition of donors and micro-finance practitioners developing new tools and approaches to improve delivery of micro-finance services all over the world.

DFID has also collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme in the Micro-Start programme, and the jointly funded micro Save Programme in East Africa that pilots and replicates new pro-poor savings methodologies. DFID also works with the International

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Labour Organisation to further the spread of post-conflict micro-finance. We support the allocation of further financial support to this sector, based on the principles of enhancing and replicating best practice, and accessing quality financial services to millions of poor families worldwide.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much economic aid has been given to Russia in the last three years; and in what programmes her Department is involved in that country. [9027]

Clare Short: In 1999 the international community provided $1.816 billion in net official assistance to Russia. This year, my Department plans to provide approximately £40 million, of which £26 million will be through our direct programme and most of the balance through the EC. The purpose of DFID assistance to Russia is to support the Government's economic and social modernisation programme in order to reduce poverty, as set out in our country Strategy Paper 2001–05 a copy of which is available in the Library. Current priorities include support to WTO accession, public administration reform and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what percentage of the sexually active population in (a) Botswana and (b) Namibia is infected with HIV/AIDS; how many and what percentage are being treated with anti-retroviral drugs; and if she will make a statement. [9064]

Clare Short: The best data available are derived from annual surveys of pregnant women seeking ante-natal care. Extrapolations from the 2000 data suggest that up to 306,000 people aged 15 to 49 in Botswana and 190,000 in Namibia are HIV positive. This means that 38.5 per cent. of 15–49 year olds in Botswana and 22.3 per cent. of this group in Namibia are infected. At present, no one in either country receives free anti-retroviral drugs (ARV) from the Government. The Government of Botswana plan to introduce a comprehensive scheme to provide free ARV treatment to all who are HIV positive by the end of the year. Botswana has a national Mother to Child Transmission programme that includes the provision of a single dose of Nevirapine to reduce the risk of peri-natal and ante-natal transmission of HIV.

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