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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 30 January 2002

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Sustainable Development Summit

6. Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the agenda for the world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg in September. [29129]

Clare Short: The UK Government are working to try to ensure that the world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg in September commits the international community to work for the systematic reduction of poverty in a sustainable planet. It is only on this basis that the world community will be able to agree on the need to manage the resources of the world sustainably. My own hope is that the summit will bring the development and environment agendas together and thus strengthen the international commitment to poverty eradication.

10. Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the United Kingdom's involvement in the preparation for the world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg in September. [29133]

Clare Short: The UK is fully engaged in preparations for the world summit. The Prime Minister was the first world leader to announce his intention to attend. A Cabinet Committee has been established, under the chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister, to co-ordinate the Government's approach. We are working hard—within the EU and internationally—to ensure a successful outcome at Johannesburg.

HIV/AIDS

7. Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department provides to the Government of Nigeria in helping it to tackle AIDS. [29130]

Clare Short: Nigeria has an infection rate for HIV of 5.8 per cent. in the sexually active population. This is the level at which we normally see an exponential increase in infection rates. In some parts of Nigeria the rate is already 20 per cent. Given that one in four of the population of sub-Saharan Africa live in Nigeria, this situation poses a major threat. I recently approved a £50 million seven-year programme that supports behaviour change and distributes condoms using social marketing, targeting vulnerable and high-risks groups. We intend to do more.

25. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is giving to Botswana and Namibia to tackle the AIDS epidemic. [29148]

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Clare Short: We are supporting a £7.5 million regional HIV/AIDS programme with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The programme aims to develop capacity in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland to mount an effective response to the HIV epidemic. DFID is also financing Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), and Soul City, a regional non- government organisation, for HIV/AIDS work in the region.

Zimbabwe

8. Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many projects are being funded by Her Majesty's Government in Zimbabwe; and what their costs are. [29131]

Clare Short: In Zimbabwe we are spending £18 million this year on 18 programmes, mostly aimed at providing food and medicines and slowing the spread of HIV and AlDS. Our aim is not to assist the Government, but to help the poor.

28. Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her response to food shortages in Zimbabwe. [29151]

Clare Short: DFID has provided £4 million since September 2001 for a supplementary feeding programme implemented by NGOs, targeting 300,000 people (predominantly children) in the worst hit areas of Zimbabwe. At the beginning of January we announced a contribution of £6 million for the UNDP's Humanitarian Assistance and Recovery Programme; £3.5 million for further feeding programmes and £2.5 million for essential medical supplies and improved access to health care services.

Education Investment

9. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her priorities are for education investment in the poorest countries. [29132]

Clare Short: Our priority in education is to achieve the millennium development goals of universal primary education in all countries by the year 2015 and gender equity in primary and secondary schooling by 2005. Since May 1997 we have committed over £600 million in support of them. Our recent paper "Children out of School" proposes an eight-point plan of international action for accelerating progress towards the 2015 target.

14. Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what importance she places on the role of education in the context of Government assistance to developing nations. [29137]

Clare Short: We give very high priority to education because education is a precondition of development and poverty reduction. We want other development agencies to do likewise. DFID's focus is on ensuring that we achieve the target of quality primary education for all children by 2015. Our education strategy paper, "The challenge of universal primary education", sets out DFID's overall approach and threefold strategy for delivering this goal.

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Child Poverty

11. Mr. Luke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to combat child poverty in developing countries. [29134]

Clare Short: We seek to reduce the poverty of children, which causes suffering to today's children and jeopardises the well-being of future generations, by working to address the causes of deprivation in their communities. Support for children's rights to basic health care, education, nutrition, shelter, protection from violence and abusive labour, along with sustainable livelihoods for their parents, is central to my Department's work towards the millennium development goals.

We are determined to do our utmost to energise the international system to achieve the goals. The goals include the target of, by 2015, lifting one billion people out of abject poverty, universal primary schooling, and reducing under-five child mortality by two thirds. The goals are achievable given greater and more united international effort.

Agriculture Funding (Uganda)

12. Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding is planned for agricultural developments in Uganda in the financial year 2002–03; and if she will make a statement. [29135]

Clare Short: My Department plans to spend approximately £3.35 million on rural livelihoods projects in Uganda in the financial year 2002–03. In addition, DFID intends to provide £35 million of general budget support to the Government of Uganda, which will be used to support Government programmes, including an innovative strategy for rural poverty eradication, known as the plan for the modernisation of agriculture (PMA). This incorporates reforms to key strategies that determine livelihood opportunities for the rural poor, including extension, research, lands and marketing.

Kenya

13. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on development aid to Kenya. [29136]

Clare Short: The aim of British development assistance to Kenya is to reduce poverty. Direct assistance in 2000–01 totalled £52 million, including £15 million as budget support and £12 million on drought relief. We also support the provision of primary school textbooks and materials, HIV/AIDS prevention and care, reproductive health care, malaria prevention, private sector development, public service reform and initiatives to promote civic education and improved access to justice for poor people. In addition, Britain contributed substantially through multilateral agencies including about £2.7 million through the EC's aid programme.

Air Navigation Contract (Tanzania)

15. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the developmental impact of the air navigation contract with Tanzania. [29138]

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Clare Short: There is general agreement that Tanzania needs a civilian air traffic control system to ensure safety in the country's air space. The issue is whether the contract with British Aerospace meets Tanzania's needs, and represents value for money.

The Government of Tanzania are working with the World bank and the International Civil Aviation Organisation to address these issues. The developmental impact will depend on whether the system is technically appropriate and affordable within the Government of Tanzania's budget, which is being targeted on priorities set out in its poverty reduction strategy.


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