Examination of Witness (Questions 160
TUESDAY 22 JANUARY 2002
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
(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?
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!