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Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, is the Minister aware that an independent report produced by 25 independent consultants, which was considered at the Delhi conference in April, made some fairly strong criticisms of the way the facility is being run and suggested that some projects have been misconceived and misdirected? Is he further aware that the report suggested and the conference accepted that GEF activities should be based much more on national priorities and that the facility should promote genuine country ownership of projects and should incorporate consultation with local communities and the involvement of NGOs? Does the Minister accept that those are serious criticisms? Will the Government use their influence to try to persuade the facility that it should move in that direction?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, we are well aware of that report. The council considered both the independent report and the report from the agencies--the World Bank and so on--which carry out the Global Environmental Facility. They indicated that there were problems in some of the projects undertaken under GEF auspices. On the biodiversity projects, one figure suggested that roughly 12 per cent. were unsatisfactory. Of course, put another way, that means that 88 per cent. were progressing satisfactorily. We take these criticisms seriously but we have to recognise that the role of the GEF is incremental, directed at global environmental concerns. Some of the criticism--certainly the press criticism--has failed to recognise that difference.
Lord Whitty: Yes, my Lords, some of the recommendations of the two reports to which I referred are in that direction. The council has accepted many of those recommendations. An action plan is now being drawn up which will be considered for full implementation in the autumn.
Lord Beaumont of Whitley: My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that the 12 per cent. figure which he quoted of unsatisfactory projects comes from the internal report and that much more dissatisfaction is being expressed by people looking on from outside? With regard to the final question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, will the Minister say how the Government propose more thoroughly to involve NGOs so that they can use their expertise more directly?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, the recommendations to which I referred in response to my noble friend Lord Kennet involve closer co-operation lower down the line, including with NGOs, which are already making an important contribution on many of the GEF projects. With regard to the criticism, there was an independent report and an internal report, both of which pointed to some deficiencies. However, some of that criticism--certainly some of the criticism which followed in the press--is due to a misunderstanding of the role of the GEF itself.
Lord Campbell of Croy: My Lords, in his first reply the noble Lord appeared satisfied with the progress made since the noble Baroness, Lady Symons, replied to my questions on this subject a year ago. However, does he sympathise with the dissatisfaction expressed by some of the developing countries concerned, in particular that the individual interests of countries do not appear to be taken fully into account?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, in part I sympathise with that and in part the action taken will be in order to involve developing countries to a greater extent and, indeed, down the line to local communities. However, some of the criticism is because of a misunderstanding of the role of the GEF and what it is there to fund.
Lord Nathan: My Lords, can the Minister advise us as to whether he is satisfied with the extent of the Government's influence over the policy of the Global Environment Facility and how they exercise that influence?
Lord Lucas: My Lords, does the noble Lord agree that one of the lessons to be drawn from some of the projects which have not done so well is the importance of doing the science beforehand so that one can accurately determine what should be done and measure what has been achieved afterwards? Could not this lesson apply equally to the DfID, which is presently reducing rather than increasing its spending on science, on global positioning and on other such data?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, I think that that criticism applied to a few of the projects that were conducted under GEF auspices. I do not accept that that in any way cuts across the priorities which the DfID has enunciated in its White Paper and which have received general support in development agencies both here and in developing countries.
Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, in view of the criticisms that have been directed at the facility from all parts of the House, I hope that the noble Lord may perhaps reflect on his initial Answer in which he declared himself satisfied with the work and recognise that there are indeed shortcomings here which need to be addressed.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, I thought that both in my first Answer and in my subsequent answers I indicated that I was very satisfied with the general progress of the GEF but that there were serious concerns which needed to be addressed. If anything, it shows that the monitoring process of the GEF and of the agencies is working in that it throws up these difficulties. We are determined, through the council and directly, to ensure that these shortcomings are addressed.
Lord Carter: My Lords, at a convenient moment after 3.30 p.m., my noble friend Lady Hayman will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement that is to be made in another place on the Transport White Paper: New Deal for Transport. This will be followed by my noble friend Lady Symons of Vernham Dean, who will, again with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement on an International Criminal Court.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. I am sure the House will wish to join me in expressing appreciation for the work on this Bill both of the Law Commissions and also of the noble and learned Lord,
In its report to the House the committee suggested that greater use should be made of provisions repealing superseded legislation in particular Bills before Parliament and that this would reduce the need for general Bills such as this. I agree. It would undoubtedly be desirable for every Bill to repeal material that it renders obsolete. In practice, however, this is not always possible because there is often insufficient time to do the necessary research. This is particularly the case where provisions which are spent, as opposed to provisions which are clearly replaced, are concerned. But our policy of consulting on draft Bills should improve such technical aspects as repeal provisions and I have certainly taken note of the Joint Committee's report.
Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord puts the Question, perhaps I may make two comments. Some of your Lordships may not be aware of the extent of the noble and learned Lord's achievement in cleaning up the clutter of the statute book. I refer particularly to the first two measures involved. The first dates back to 1533 and an Act concerning the attainder of John Wolfe, his wife and others. The second, which is only 280 years out of date, refers to an Act to inflict pains and penalties on Francis, Lord Bishop of Rochester.
There is just one question that I would wish to ask him. Both of these measures are repealed as they apply to the Isle of Man. I wonder what is peculiar about the Isle of Man in this context. I would very much like to know whether these measures were repealed as regards the rest of the United Kingdom before this or whether they remain extant on the statute book. In that case I suggest that it is time they were got rid of.
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