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20. Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is giving to help developing nations negotiate effectively in international organisations; and if she will make a statement. 
Clare Short: In our second White Paper on international development, Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor (2000), we made a commitment to work towards a stronger and more effective voice for developing countries in the policy and regulatory mechanisms of the international financial system. To this end we are providing capacity-building support in diverse ways, bilaterally and in collaboration with other donors, to small states and least developed countries in order to strengthen their negotiating capacity.
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the Agency for International Trade Information and Co-operation, which helps countries with little or no representation at the WTO in Geneva;
the independent, Geneva-based, Advisory Centre on WTO Law which helps countries take a case through dispute settlement at the WTO;
a Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights and Development Capacity Building Project with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and ICTSD (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development), which aims to improve the ability of country partners to participate effectively in negotiations on intellectual property rights; and
the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) to strengthen the region's capacity in trade negotiations with the European Union on the Cotonou Agreement, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Clare Short: In 2000 only 38 per cent. of EC official development assistance payments went to poor countries down from 52 per cent. in 1999. Accurate figures for EC spending in 2001 will be available early next year. However, it is likely that the share of EC spending in low income countries will have risen since expenditure from the European Development Fund in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries-most of which are low income-is reported to have increased significantly.
There have also been improvements in the budgetary allocations for Asia, which has the largest number of poor people of any region. Last year we secured an extra e70m for Asia including humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. In the Preliminary Draft Budget for 2003 these increases have been sustained and are balanced by cuts in assistance to the Balkans now that the emergency reconstruction phase has ended.
23. Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress towards cancellation of unpayable debt owed by the poorest countries to the IMF and World Bank she expects from the G8 summit in Canada. 
Clare Short: Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the World Bank and IMF have agreed to meet their shareestimated at US$10.8 billionof the total estimated US$36.4 billion costs for the Initiative. We are currently exploring with our G8 partners whether there are further actions they might wish to support
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on debt. It is important to ensure the full financing of any multilateral debt relief, to reduce the risk of skewing development resources away from other very poor countries who have handled their debt well. We will therefore be raising the issue of HIPC financing, and the possible need for further contributions to the HIPC Trust Fund.
24. Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to help promote socially responsible business practice by UK companies that invest in developing countries. 
Clare Short: Many companies are now recognising the key role they are able to play in making globalisation work for the poor. They are also realising that socially and environmentally responsible business practices in developed and developing countries can make their operations more sustainable. Many UK businesses are playing a leading role in the development of socially responsible business practices, but there is still much progress to be made. My Department supports a number of socially responsible business initiatives aimed at improving the social, ethical and environmental impact of businesses operating in developing countries. It is also supporting research to develop tools to measure the poverty impact of such initiatives.
25. Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations her Department has made to the EU with regard to removing barriers to trade for developing countries. 
Clare Short: The UK recognises that, even with the preferential trade access available to many developing countries, the highest tariffs continue to fall on historically sensitive products of interest to developing countries, particularly agricultural goods, textiles and clothing. In order to tackle the substantial barriers to trade, a new trade round was launched at the fourth WTO ministerial meeting in Doha in November last year with a pro- development agenda. The meeting resulted in agreement on the need to reduce barriers to trade in agriculture and manufactured goods. In response to this, my Department is working with the DTI and DEFRA to ensure that these commitments become a reality.
26. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid her Department is providing to Zimbabwe; for what purpose; and what steps they are taking to ensure that it reaches the intended destination. 
Due to the continuing poor policy environment, I have recently permanently closed a number of activities which were previously suspended, as it is now impossible for these to achieve their original objectives. This included a project on poverty monitoring and analysis with the
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Ministry of Social Welfare, and the civil society Land Resettlement Challenge Fund. One remaining programme, supporting a local district council, will cease in September on completion of outstanding works. All other programmes work with non-Governmental and multilateral organisations, and we continue to monitor these very closely to ensure maximum impact on intended beneficiaries.
Clare Short: With an adult HIV infection rate of 35 per cent., it is estimated that AIDS claims the lives of over 2,000 Zimbabweans weekly and that up to 900,000 children have lost one or both parents. AIDS is a major factor in poverty, affecting the lives of sufferers and those who care for them and orphaned children. It is a priority for DFID's programme in Zimbabwe.
Currently DFID is spending around £6 million annually in Zimbabwe on the provision of condoms and other contraceptives; targeted HIV prevention; the provision of drugs for sexually transmitted infections and TB; and strengthening civil society organisations that care for people living with AIDS. DFID supports innovative ways of reaching young people, sex workers, and mobile populations including partnering with Coke-Zimbabwe to promote condom use in rural areas.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the New Partnership for Africa's Development in bringing good Government to Zimbabwe. 
Clare Short: As an African owned and led initiative, we believe that NEPAD is of significant importance, but is a long-term process. Peer review of governance issues is one of its key elements. If Zimbabwe signs up to this, such reviews can help increase pressure for reform, a message that may carry greater weight coming from Africa's leaders.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she last held meetings with officials from the Government of (a) South Africa and (b) Nigeria to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe. 
Clare Short: I have had no such meetings recently. Officials from my Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have frequent contacts with representatives of African Governments to share concerns about developments in Zimbabwe.
Clare Short: I last met Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior members of the MDC leadership on 2 July 2001. DFID officials have continued a dialogue with MDC representatives and with a wide range of civil society organisations on matters of developmental and humanitarian interest.
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Clare Short: It is for the Government of Zimbabwe to provide leadership in improving food security in Zimbabwe. As yet there is no credible national plan to tackle the problems, which continue to deteriorate. DFID has provided £3.5 million to the World Food Programme and £4 million to NGOs to help feed children and vulnerable adults. We are waiting for the results of a new UN food assessment that is currently under way, and we will consider any new proposals that may arise from its findings.
Clare Short: We believe that the restoration of democratic Government to Zimbabwe is essential if Zimbabwe is to restore its economy and services to its people. Her Majesty's Government will continue to work closely with colleagues in the EU, the Commonwealth, the United States and other countries to impress this on the Zimbabwe authorities. We are also working closely with African countries to this end.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the levels of political violence in Zimbabwe; and if she will make a statement on her Department's strategy to deal with political violence in Zimbabwe. 
We deplore the failure of the Zimbabwean Government to take steps to stop the violence. In response, the international community, including the UK, has imposed a number of measures against the Zimbabwean regime, including an arms embargo, a travel ban and an assets freeze aimed at senior figures. The EU, US and others have said they will consider additional measures if the political violence and abuses of democratic principles do not stop. We support this.
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