Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 160 - 164)




  160. Do you think European development policy is yet sufficiently focused on poverty reduction? In the UK, DFID's policy is very much poverty reduction, meeting the 2015 targets, but it seems slightly more ambiguous here.
  (Mrs Kinnock) We also have the objective of meeting the 2015 targets. I have a special interest in basic education and certainly am pressing the Commission on that. There is a commitment to doing whatever we can to be part of the global action on providing basic education. But Cotonou, as someone said last night, is clear evidence of that commitment to try to meet the poverty eradication targets. It is 77 countries, a huge proportion of the least developed countries, so it is a big commitment. Since May 2001 there has been the rolling programme of action, which is following how the development policy is or is not being implemented. I think two elements are very important, certainly from the point of view of the work of our committee, but the main thing is to make sure in the budget we see the money going to those areas which are the major concerns. They asked developing countries what their priorities were, and I think it was 40 per cent of the ACP said transport. In a way, it is that added value thing. We do build good roads and we are good at it, and people need roads. I sometimes get nervous about the heavy emphasis only on education and health, which clearly are very important, but what happens if kids cannot get to school because there are no roads through the bush, and girls will not go on their own, and if there are no roads to transport anything they produce what happens. We all know this from our constituencies. I know in Wales if we have not got roads up to the valleys we are never going to get any jobs up there. So I think we need to balance this out. If we do it well, that is not to say we should not do other things, but I do not think we should be criticised for still being involved in some infrastructure work of that kind.

  161. Thank you very much for your time, and thank you very much for the paper you gave us and helping us today. The International Development Select Committee and the European Parliament and the Committee of Development and Co-operation have different tasks but I think we all have one interest, which is a deep interest in international development policy. All of us have found both today's sessions and last night's meeting with colleagues from the European Parliament extremely helpful, and what we are hoping we might achieve is a situation where maybe a couple of times a year the members of the International Development Select Committee and the UK members on the European Parliament Committee of Development and Co-operation get together and exchange ideas and information, intelligence and so on.
  (Mrs Kinnock) Yes.

  162. We all tend to be involved in the same but slightly different thing. If we had more time I think we would all be fascinated to hear your views on Sudan, for example. We are just about to go off to Nigeria and Ghana. I think we ought to try and create more opportunities for sharing information and intelligence between the European Parliament and the House of Commons.
  (Mrs Kinnock) Yes. I would like to say that I have found it really useful. I have met the Committee before but I thought this visit was particularly good in that we had a really serious exchange of views and I do think we should build on it now. I do the link job with DFID, so for me it would be very useful to know more about what you are doing and how we can work together. It would be very helpful.

  163. It sounds like your office has naturally then volunteered to be the link office with us.
  (Mrs Kinnock) Happily, yes.

  Chairman: We will find someone on this Committee to be the link, maybe John. It is outwith the structures of the clerks and they get a bit nervous. Maybe, John, your office could do it for us perhaps?

Mr Battle

  164. Yes, surely.
  (Mrs Kinnock) I have tried to do it before but I have never managed to get anybody to be the conduit. Got you!

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