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Lord Glenarthur: My Lords, the noble Baroness has said that this subject is a key element of DfID's responsibilities. Can she enumerate briefly what are the other comparable elements of DfID's responsibilities to which she has referred?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, noble Lords will know that since 1997 our policy, enshrined in the White Paper, is to work towards the eradication of world poverty. In that respect, we are committed to the Millennium Development Goals which include the halving of poverty by 2015, gender equity in education, and elements of health and education which relate to sexual and reproductive health, as well as to maternal mortality.
Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, does the Minister think that sufficient information about sexual diseases, including HIV, is provided to Britons visiting developing countries? The problems of HIV are very serious. Furthermore, is she aware that not enough health education is provided to the general public here in Britain?
Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, does the Minister agree that what might be helpful in speeding up this cause would be for Mr Derek Wanless to be hired to prepare a report? The report could then be considered by the UN Conference on Population and Development to be held at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. A good firm copy of that report should then be sent to the Government of the United States of America.
Baroness Amos: My Lords, the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg at the end of July this year will form a key part of this process. If we are talking about sustainable development and if we are talking about poverty elimination, then we must also talk about health-related issues, including the severe impact of HIV/AIDS, focusing on the negative impact that it is having on countries, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa, which I fear will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals. This issue remains important in terms of the international agenda.
Baroness Gould of Potternewton: My Lords, following on from the supplementary question of the noble Baroness, Lady Masham, what steps are the department taking in terms of both healthcare and education to help those people who are most at risk of sexually transmitted diseases, such as prostitutes?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, we are working in three areas in this respect. We are targeting interventions to high-risk behaviour groups, including commercial sex workers; we are looking to combat sexual tourism and the wider issues related to that; and we are very concerned about the growing practice of human trafficking, including that for sexual exploitation. Those are the three areas where we are looking to help girls and young women, who are particularly vulnerable.
Baroness Amos: My Lords, again, this subject is wide of the specific Question. The noble Baroness will know that we are working in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, she will also know that work is being carried out in the United Kingdom. My noble friend Lady Rendell, in particular, has asked a number of Questions in the House on that issue.
Baroness Amos: My Lords, we are committed to supporting Pakistan's economic and social development for the long haul. The ultimate aim is the reduction of poverty, as set out in the Government of Pakistan's interim poverty reduction strategy paper. Our bilateral programme is focused on three objectives: creating the economic conditions for poverty reduction; improving health outcomes for poor people; and improving education outcomes for poor people. We are pursuing these through a combination of technical assistance, advice and financial aid.
Lord Ahmed: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer. Does she agree that education is key to Pakistan's long-term development? What specific action is being taken to support primary education, particularly for girls?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I totally agree with my noble friend that education is key to development. Our support is directed towards improving access and quality in elementary education in Pakistan. Integral to this is improving educational opportunities for girls. Our spending on education in Pakistan, which is mainly in the form of technical assistance, is expected to grow to £4 million this year.
One of our concerns is that Pakistan continues to make slower progress than other south Asian countries towards achieving the millennium development goal. Primary school enrolment growth rates, which are currently at about 70 per cent, have remained stagnant. We must ensure that those rates go up in order that girls and boys get into school.
Lord Weatherill: My Lords, is the Minister aware that I have recently returned from Pakistan after visiting schools in that country with 40 schoolchildren? When will Pakistan be readmitted to the Commonwealth? Does she not agree that Pakistan deserves every possible help, both moral and material, in view of the staunch stand it is taking in a very important part of the world?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I was unaware that the noble Lord had recently returned from a visit to Pakistan. I am pleased to hear it because the more we know about what is happening there, the better it is for all of us. As to Pakistan and the Commonwealth, Pakistan remains suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth. At the last CMAG meetingand, indeed, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetingit was agreed that the road map to democracy, which should end in national and provincial elections in October 2002, is a good way to
Lord Avebury: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the commercial and legal environment for multi-national business has improved greatly under President Musharraf, even though there is still some way to go in eliminating corruption and unnecessary bureaucracy? Can she confirm that the Pakistan/UK Business Advisory Group, which was formed partly as a result of discussions between the Prime Minister and President Musharraf during the Prime Minister's visit in January, has full access to Ministers in Pakistan and is therefore doing an excellent job? Can the Minister think of further ways in which to encourage UK investors to take a more sanguine view of the prospects in Pakistan, which there undoubtedly are?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, that the business environment has improved. Despite the drawbacks, the UK is now the biggest investor in Pakistan. The launch of the Pakistan/UK advisory group will enable both sides to explore new opportunities for developing the bilateral commercial relationship, including improved investment.
Lord Paul: My Lords, while work is being done in primary education, the Pakistani people are very intelligent and could achieve much by improving their higher education facilities. We could do a lot of work from here. Can the Minister confirm that we are paying attention to that?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, it is important that we work at all levels in regard to education. I am sure that there will be opportunities for partnershipsfor example, between universities in Britain and Pakistan. However, our priority in terms of the achievement of the millennium development goal remains in primary education. I take the point of my noble friend's question.
The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the Question of the noble Lord, Lord Ahmed, is most important, especially in the context of anti-terrorism? Is it not essential that Her Majesty's Government are seen to be supporting education in vulnerable countries such as Pakistan, which has an exceptionally high level of illiteracy?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I agree with the noble Earl. Our bilateral programme focuses on education, health and economic management. This year we plan to spend £47 million in Pakistan. The planned level of expenditure for 2002-03 is £60 million, of which a significant proportion will go to education.
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