Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


28 Jun 1999 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday, 28th June 1999.

Paraguayan Chaco Project

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the evaluation report of the European Union's Sustainable Development in the Paraguayan Chaco project which is to be discussed at the Asia and Latin America Committee on 24 June; and whether they will seek to ensure that no decision is made on the project until Parliament has had the opportunity of verifying that the Commission fully respects the four conditions originally stipulated when the project was approved in September 1994, and particularly that relating to the settlement of land claims.[HL3068]

Baroness Amos: We will place a copy of the evaluation report of the European Union's Sustainable Development in the Paraguayan Chaco project in the Library of the House.

The meeting of the Asia and Latin America Committee planned for 24 June will not take place. The evaluation report will now be discussed at the Asia and Latin America Committee meeting on 12 and 13 July. It was at the UK's insistence that this report was produced, as we were concerned about progress on the settlement of land claims. If the report is unsatisfactory, the UK will seek to ensure that no decision is made on the project until Parliament has had the opportunity of verifying that the Commission fully respects the four conditions, particularly that relating to land claims.

NATO: Local Procurement of Goods and Services

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are ensuring that the needs for goods and services of NATO forces in Kosovo, and those of refugees and displaced people, are being met as much as possible by local purchasing in Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia.[HL3004]

Baroness Amos: The Department for International Development support the procurement of local goods and services where this is possible, cost effective, and does not harm the local economy or reduce access of the local host population to essentials. NATO forces based in Macedonia have a general agreement to secure supplies, wherever possible, from Macedonian sources. There are no formal arrangements in Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro or Bosnia, but NATO forces purchase locally when appropriate. The Department for International Development offices in Tirana and Skopje have procured locally as far as practicable, and encouraged our partners to do so.

28 Jun 1999 : Column WA2

EU Development Spending

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider it the best use of taxpayers' money to dispense part of the international aid budget through the European Union rather than through the Department for International Development, given that distribution through the European Union involves increased costs and opportunities for misappropriation.[HL3152]

Baroness Amos: We are obliged, under the Treaty on European Union and the Lome Convention, to contribute to the EC's development assistance programmes. However, there can be no doubt that the EC's development assistance programmes are often poor, and action is needed to address this. This is why we sought to restrict the growth of the external assistance part of the EC Budget in March, and succeeded in holding down the level of growth to 1 per cent. for the period 2000-06. This is in stark contrast to the agreement reached at the Edinburgh Council in 1992, where a 180 per cent. increase was agreed for the seven-year period, 1992-99.

In December 1998, we published our 18-point strategy to improve European Union development spending. We are pursuing implementation of this strategy very vigorously with the Commission and with member states, pressing particularly for more development assistance for poorer countries. The Development Council approved conclusions on 21 May endorsing many of our specific recommendations.

Neighbourhood Renewal: The Arts and Sport

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Social Exclusion Unit's Policy Action Team 10's report on art and sport will be published; and whether they will place a copy in the Library of the House.[HL3139]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Policy Action Team 10 has recently completed work on its report to the Social Exclusion Unit on the potential of the arts and sport to contribute to neighbourhood renewal. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport led the team and expects to publish the report in late July, at which time copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Antarctica: Over-fishing

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the signatories of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources are doing about over-fishing.[HL2642]

28 Jun 1999 : Column WA3

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Over the past two years CCAMLR parties have adopted a number of measures to address illegal and unregulated fishing in the Convention's waters. These include tougher inspection provisions, prohibitions on landings of fish taken illegally and the requirement for satellite-linked Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS). In an effort further to reduce illegal and unregulated fishing, CCAMLR parties are negotiating a Catch Documentation Scheme to track the international trade in Toothfish and prevent imports of fish taken illegally.

In addition, coastal states within CCAMLR waters (including the UK) continue to take tough enforcement action against vessels caught poaching.

Belgrade: Damage to Embassies

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is expected that NATO governments will reimburse those countries whose embassies and other buildings in Belgrade have been damaged by NATO forces; and, if so, in what proportions.[HL2950]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: No claims against the UK for compensation have been made. Our action was in strict conformity with international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the First Additional Protocol of 1977.

Kosovo: Demilitarisation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the process of demilitarisation in Kosovo is to be under United Nations authority; and, if so, how and by whom.[HL2991]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As envisaged in UNSCR 1244, the KFOR commander is responsible for overseeing the demilitarisation of all armed groups in Kosovo. Mr. Hashim Thaqi, the Commander in Chief of the KLA, signed on 21 June, on behalf of the KLA, an undertaking to demilitarise in phases over 90 days, beginning with an immediate ceasefire. The KFOR commander may choose to seek similar arrangements with other groups.

Conflict Resolution Initiatives

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will refer the current fighting between (a) India and Pakistan and (b) Eritrea and Ethiopia to the United Nations Security Council; if not, why not; and, if not, how they consider these conflicts may best be resolved.[HL3005]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Security Council is already actively seized of the situation in

28 Jun 1999 : Column WA4

Ethiopia and Eritrea. In its resolution 1226 of 29 January 1999, the Council expressed its strong support for the mediation efforts of the Organisation of African Unity and affirmed that the OAU Framework Agreement represented a viable basis for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In its resolution 1227 of 10 February 1999, the Security Council demanded that Ethiopia and Eritrea resume diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict and strongly urged all States to end immediately all sales of arms and munitions to Ethiopia and Eritrea. The United Kingdom has been pressing both countries to commit themselves to this process.

Neither the United Kingdom nor any other Member of the Security Council has referred the current fighting between India and Pakistan to the Security Council. The Government believe that the underlying causes of the conflict are best addressed by India and Pakistan on a bilateral basis. We have urged both sides to maintain their dialogue and to look urgently for ways of reducing tension in the region.

Filming and Broadcasting Steering Group

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Who sits on the sub-committee appointed by the Administration and Works Sub-Committee to consider proposals for filming in the House; and whether the House has been notified of the membership of this sub-committee.[HL3297]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The Filming and Broadcasting Steering Group is composed of the following members:


    Lord Carter


    Lord Henley


    Viscount Falkland


    Viscount Tenby


    Lord Boston of Faversham The group was set up following a decision of the Administration and Works Sub-Committee on 10 March 1998, when the Sub-Committee agreed that the group should comprise the three Chief Whips (in other words, the usual channels), together with a representative of the Cross Bench Peers and the Chairman of Committees. As it is customary in many cases for the usual channels to act on behalf of the House, it was not felt necessary to make a formal announcement on this occasion. However, the minutes of the Administration and Works Sub-Committee meeting were, as usual, placed in the Library of the House.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page