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Heroin (Afghanistan)

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to combat the planting of the 2003 heroin crop in Afghanistan by promoting and supporting alternative employment possibilities. [77709]

Clare Short: During 2002 it is estimated that between 20–30 per cent. of the opium poppy crop was destroyed through a UK led eradication and compensation scheme. However a more permanent solution to the problem of poppy crop production will only come about once alternative livelihood opportunities have been identified for poor people, and the law is enforced against opium traders and other criminal elements. My department is working closely with the Afghan authorities to strengthen law enforcement, interdiction and eradication capabilities, and supporting a number of initiatives to improve security and the overall environment for the generation of alternative livelihoods. I also recently approved #1 million of support to a UNDP administered National Area Based Programme that is expected to generate thousands of jobs in rural areas, and #1 million of support to the Aga Khan Foundation for a rural support programme in Badakhshan, a major poppy producing province in Afghanistan.


Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of (a) trends in spending on international development aid to Africa by the UK since 1997 and (b) that of other member states of the European Union [77710]

Clare Short: Over the period 1997–2000 (the latest year for which comparable data are available) the level of UK bilateral official development assistance (oda) to Africa has increased by 43 per cent. Over the same

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period, oda to Africa from all EU members has fallen by 21 per cent. Excluding the UK, this fall becomes 36 per cent. Within this total, Germany's oda has fallen by 60 per cent., France's by 55 per cent. and Italy's by 23 per cent.

Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the outcomes were of the World Bank annual meeting in connection with the alleviation of poverty in Africa. [77715]

Clare Short: At the Annual Meetings Ministers recognised the special challenges faced by Africa in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. They urged the World Bank and the IMF to scale up assistance to these countries, and to build on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative as a unique opportunity to make significant and quick progress working with African leadership. They recognised that aid will be more effective where is it well co-ordinated and aligned with country-owned strategies. Further pledges to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund would benefit the 32 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that receive debt relief under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative.

Human Rights Training (South Africa)

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement about UK funding for police training on human rights in the Southern African Development Community. [77713]

Clare Short: My Department supports human rights training in Malawi through a course involving the Police, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman. We have also supported human rights police training in South Africa's Eastern Cape province. In Lesotho and South Africa we are supporting the creation of community police fora to help foster trust between the police and those that they serve. These activities fall within broader justice sector programmes that seek to ensure that the poor, who are often the most vulnerable to crime and exploitation, can access proper and impartial justice.


Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what measures the Government have taken in respect of the relief of poverty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [77716]

Clare Short: We support a wide range of initiatives to help meet both the urgent short term needs of the Palestinian people as economic and social conditions decline dramatically, and their longer term aspirations of a viable and sustainable state. As part of a wider international effort we work directly with the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian organisations, and through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. In the financial year 2001–02 originally planned programme expenditure of #18 million was increased to nearly #40 million. This financial year the original planning

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framework of #25 million has been increased to #32 million. We also contribute significantly through our share of EC funding.

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assistance her Department has provided to help water tankers reach the rural Palestinian population in areas without a networked water system; and if she will make a statement. [77697]

Ms Keeble: In conjunction with our international partners we have made repeated representations to the Israeli authorities to ease access restrictions for water, and other humanitarian supplies. We are also working closely with a number of rural communities to help improve their ability to harvest and store rainwater, and reduce their dependency on imported water.

EC Aid Programme

Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement on progress reforming the European Commission Aid Programme. [77717]

Clare Short: My Department is focusing its efforts on two broad objectives: improving the overall effectiveness of European Community development assistance and increasing its poverty focus.

We welcome the positive steps that have been taken to reform EC development assistance in the past few years. These are beginning to show results in some areas, but significant improvements are still needed. We are pressing the EC to pursue its reform efforts vigorously in order to implement the November 2000 EC Development Policy, which for the first time makes poverty reduction the central objective of EC development programmes. Reform needs to produce speedier delivery, better impact and more capacity for policy dialogue in the field. Harmonising and simplifying the EC's cumbersome administrative and financial procedures is also a priority, along with work to establish a more coherent policy framework for EC aid.

My Department is also working for agreement that a much greater share of EC aid should be allocated to low income countries where it will have the greatest impact on poverty reduction. In 2000, only 38 per cent. of EC aid was spent in low-income countries compared to 70 per cent. in 1990. This is far too low and indicates that EC aid is having a much less impact than it should on reducing poverty and contributing to building stability and prosperity worldwide.

Latin America

Mr. Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement on the work of her Department in Latin America. [77718]

Clare Short: We are working with the EU, Inter-American Development Bank and other donors to reduce poverty in the region through the promotion of pro-poor growth, the reduction of inequality and improving governance, mainly in Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia.

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We provide support to improve the effectiveness of national development programmes in middle-income countries with major inequality and poverty problems such as Brazil and Peru. In Nicaragua, Honduras and Bolivia, which are Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), we are working with the Governments, civil society and other donors to help with the implementation of national poverty reduction strategies. In Guatemala and El Salvador we are working on health sector reform with the United Nations.


Adrian Flook: Asked the Secretary of State for International Development, what is she doing to ensure free and fair distribution of food aid in Zimbabwe. [77719]

Clare Short: DFID, the UN, and other donors in Zimbabwe work in close unison, and share the fundamental principle that humanitarian assistance should be provided on the basis of need alone. Donor funded programmes are closely monitored, and where problems are found or reported, the UN and donors are working together to seek to resolve them through mediation and complaints procedures. In a few cases, food distribution has been suspended until agreements have been reached that allow programmes to resume according to plan. The UN's view is that so far, very little food has been lost or diverted from its intended beneficiaries. We have not had any problems of this nature in our bilateral programme.

There is credible evidence however that food is being distributed or sold by the Government of Zimbabwe through the national Grain Marketing Board in support of political objectives. We deplore this, as well as the obstruction of work of some non-governmental organisations which also appears to be politically motivated.


Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement on the progress made in offering assistance to Kosovo [77720]

Clare Short: UK assistance to Kosovo began in June 1999, immediately after the NATO intervention. We delivered a #110 million programme of humanitarian assistance that included food supply, shelter, health care, mine clearance, support to the energy and water sectors, small and medium enterprise development and funding for international agencies. We also provided budgetary support.

From 2000, we started to develop a longer term programme to help build the local capacity and institutions to tackle Kosovo's development and transition needs. Our Kosovo Strategy Paper, published in August 2001 covered support for civil and political rights, justice systems, economic restructuring, health care, social policy, public administration and minorities. We spent #12.5 million in 2000–01 and #11.7 million in 2001–02 on technical assistance and budget support;

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planning figures are #6.5 million in 2002–03 and #8 million in 2003–04 (figures are for Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo).

Our main funding contribution to Kosovo is through our approximately 20 per cent. share of European Community programmes. This amounted to #170 million for 1999–2001 and is estimated at #110 million for 2002–03. We work closely with the EC to improve the effectiveness and impact of its programmes.

We have just completed our first review of the Kosovo strategy. This highlighted that while international aid had been successful so far in meeting humanitarian and reconstruction needs, new challenges were to help the elected provisional institutions of self-government to take on their full responsibilities under the framework agreement agreed with the UN, to create the right environment for growth and reform as levels of international aid decline and to establish mechanisms for Kosovo to access loans from the international financial institutions.

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