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Lord Whitty: My Lords, there is a potential derogation for the remotest areas for obvious reasons. But as regards hill farming generally, it is in precisely those areas where burial is most likely to lead to problems in watercourses. It would therefore be illogical to exempt all hill farms from the regulation.

Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, I, too, declare an interest as I have a farm. Does the Minister agree that hunt kennels do a useful job in this respect, even though it is very expensive if they collect carcasses? They charge about 50 to 70 per animal if they collect. Does he also agree that on-farm burning is not allowed under the regulation?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, on-farm incineration is allowed if it abides by the overall biosecurity rules, although one cannot bring fallen stock on to a farm from elsewhere. Historically, hunt kennels have played a major role in this respect, although that has been more limited in recent years as a result of the TSE regulations. If kennels are to continue to play a role in that regard, from 1st May they will have to comply with what are effectively the same regulations as apply to knackers.

Lord Carter: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that 1p on or off the value of the euro is worth 100 million either way to British agriculture? The euro has strengthened considerably recently. Will farmers be able to cover the 20 million costs as a result of that strengthening of the euro?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, farmers have benefited from the recent appreciation of the euro against the

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pound. However, I believe that if the noble Lord were in a more generous mood vis-a-vis his farming colleagues, he would recognise that for many years the value of sterling against the euro moved in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, more money is available in that regard than was the case last year.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, will the regulation apply to animals which are pets?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the provisions concerning on-farm burial will apply to all animals on farms.

Sexual Offences Bill [HL]

3.12 p.m.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, on behalf of my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton, I beg to move the Motion standing in his name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That it be an instruction to the Committee of the Whole House to which the Sexual Offences Bill [HL] has been committed that they consider the Bill in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 75,

Schedule 1,

Clauses 76 to 82,

Schedule 2,

Clauses 83 to 103,

Schedule 3,

Clauses 104 to 124,

Schedule 4,

Clause 125,

Schedule 5,

Clauses 126 to 128.—(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


3.13 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): My Lords, with the leave of the House, I should like to repeat the reply that my honourable friend Mike O'Brien gave today in response to an urgent Question in the House of Commons on humanitarian issues in Iraq. The Statement is as follows:

    "My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development has asked me to reply to the important Question about the way in which we tackle the crisis in Iraq. The Government strongly welcome the fourth report of the Select Committee on International Development which was presented to the House a week ago. We shall give a detailed response to its various recommendations in due course. However, one of the crucial matters that it raises is the way in which the Government would move forward in the immediate post-conflict situation to try to resolve some of the humanitarian

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    issues, and especially whether we would seek a United Nations resolution—or, indeed, more than one—to take the process forward.

    "I confirm that we shall seek a further resolution to deal with the humanitarian issues. We shall try to transfer the oil-for-food programme to the United Nations Secretary-General to enable him to keep the process functioning and use UN facilities to do that. We shall also seek a new UN resolution to provide authority for reconstruction and development work and a proper mandate for any interim authority that is likely to operate in the territory of Iraq when Saddam Hussein is removed. We shall also try to ensure the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid to affirm Iraq's territorial integrity and allow for UN sanctions to be lifted, thus enabling food and other necessary items to arrive.

    "We shall also enable an international reconstruction programme to facilitate the use of oil revenues for the benefit of the Iraqi people and to endorse a post-conflict administration in Iraq which will lead to a representative government that would uphold human rights and rule of law for all Iraqis".

My Lords, that concludes the reply.

3.15 p.m.

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Answer to the urgent Question in another place. We appreciate that the Secretary of State is on her way to the United Nations in New York to seek a fresh Security Council resolution and we wish her every success in her mission.

The overarching question raised by the Select Committee in its very good and comprehensive report is the lack of preparedness of the international community to cope with the humanitarian consequences of war with Iraq. The Secretary of State issued a Written Statement last Thursday which fell far short of addressing the 23 conclusions and recommendations in the Select Committee report. As it states on page 2 of the report, in the first stages of any conflict the military forces will have primary responsibility for the initial delivery of humanitarian assistance. Is the Minister aware of the concern of NGOs about the blurring of responsibility between military action and humanitarian relief? What is being done to improve information sharing with NGOs and to co-ordinate UK and US aid agencies? Who is co-ordinating work with the military—DfID, the MoD, USAID, the US Department of Defense or the UN?

The noble Baroness mentioned the oil-for-food programme. It is reported that the oil-for-food programme, which provides 60 per cent of the Iraqi population with food aid, has already been suspended. What assessment has DfID made of how to substitute food relief on such a large scale?

Given the early responsibility the military may bear for humanitarian relief, we understand that the Ministry of Defence has been granted an additional 50 million for this purpose. Does that indicate that the MoD will take the lead on the humanitarian side in the early stages?

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The Minister mentioned contributing to the reconstruction. What estimate have the Government made of the total sum required to finance a meaningful post-war reconstruction of Iraq and for how many years do they estimate the programme will run?

In her ministerial statement the Secretary of State concluded that,

    "the overall level of preparedness of the international community to cope with the humanitarian challenges which may lie ahead in Iraq is limited and this involves serious risk".

How do the Government intend to manage those risks and encourage other members of the international community to play a more significant role?

In paragraph 26 of the report on internal conflict, we are most concerned that the question to prevent further bloodshed be addressed. That may well be as important as the food aid. Can the noble Baroness assure us that that is being taken into consideration?

The International Development Select Committee concluded that it is as yet not convinced that there is, to use the Prime Minister's words,

    "a humanitarian plan that is every bit as viable and well worked out as a military plan".

We wholeheartedly agree with that conclusion.

If the wider war on terrorism is to succeed in the long term, it is crucial that we do not forfeit vital international support by pursuing a war against Saddam Hussein without a comprehensive humanitarian strategy for helping the innocent Iraqi people.

3.19 p.m.

Baroness Northover: My Lords, I should like to thank the opposition spokesperson on international development in another place for putting this Question and the Minister for repeating the reply in this House.

Although Clare Short made a statement on the International Development Select Committee's report, it was brief and raised more questions than it answered. Neither did we get answers on many of these points in last night's debate, although the noble Baroness, Lady Symons, said that she would write to a number of noble Lords on the matter. The very fact that she did not have the answers at her fingertips, which she usually does, shows how far behind we are in responding to the needs outlined in the Select Committee's report. Although in general it might be fair to allow the Government some time to respond to such a paper, this is clearly not such an occasion. It is clear that little systematic planning has occurred for either the immediate consequences of the war or its aftermath. That clearly reflects the way in which the conflict has come about. Unlike in Afghanistan, where there was international agreement on action and planning could occur in the UN among participating countries, NGOs and others, there has been no such consensus this time. Where there is no consensus on moving to war, it is difficult to plan for its aftermath.

There have been many complaints from both sides of the Atlantic about lack of information, co-ordination and money, and I have a number of questions to put to the Minister. The Government have made it clear—we welcome it—that they wish the

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UN to take the lead. Following what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, I want to ask more about what resolutions will be required for the UN to have a mandate to take action in such areas. When do the Government think that those can be implemented? The Minister in the Commons thought that there could be a resolution for food distribution within days, but was less certain about resolutions on wider humanitarian consequences.

Will the noble Baroness, Lady Amos, explain in more detail? Do the Government expect the resolutions to pass easily? Do they anticipate opposition from any countries, and if so which? How do they propose to overcome the bitterness of the past few weeks and months? How do they counter the arguments of those who feel that we have moved without full international support towards the war, and so the British Government and the Americans should bear the cost of subsequent reconstruction?

Will the Minister tell us to what extent the US shares the British Government's view of the UN's role, given the Americans' current in-house planning? What resources are to be brought to bear on the US to help to fund aid and reconstruction, in the light of the statement by Donald Rumsfeld that Iraq's reconstruction could be funded from its oil wealth so as not to be a drain on the US? What are the Government doing to ensure that the US works through the UN? Or will the Americans feel that it is acceptable to award contracts only to their own companies, funding them through Iraq's oil revenues? Given the possible reluctance of the EU to contribute, as expressed by Chris Patten the other day even though the EU is a leading contributor in Afghanistan, will the Minister say who is attending tomorrow's European Council? Will that issue be on the agenda?

What are the Government doing to ensure that aid is not seen as a further arm of the military? That point has already been mentioned. Who is leading on that issue in the British Government? We also note that the Chancellor has promised only 10 million to DfID, but 50 million to the Ministry of Defence for that task. Extra money is clearly needed, but who administers it is very important. Can the Minister assure us that, unlike in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Kosovo, aid money will not come from the DfID budget, which is meant for the very poor? How will the Secretary of State be in a position to defend her department's budget in her current weakened circumstances?

I note that the Foreign Office Minister answering the question in the Commons spoke of the Government's "intention" not to draw on DfID funds. However, he then added the cryptic statement: "However, we also want to ensure that we deal with our responsibilities to the people of Iraq". Does the noble Baroness agree that that could mean that they intend to draw on DfID's coffers? I hear from the answer in the Commons that there are two staff from DfID advising the military on humanitarian and human rights issues. Does she think that an adequate staff?

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Two thirds of Iraq's population receives food aid, the biggest such programme in the world. Before the UN was told to pull out its workers, what plans were made for food to continue to reach the population? How widespread is that food expected to be, and how soon will it run out? What plans do the Government have for the security, political and judicial vacuums that must surely follow the conflict? Those matters also have to be addressed in the humanitarian context.

I welcome the Prime Minister's statement at Prime Minister's Questions today that, so far as Iraq is concerned, "We have to stay in for the long term". Can the Minister put a likely time on that involvement and a possible cost, and can she assure us that it will not go the same way as the pledge that the Prime Minster made to the people of Afghanistan?

3.25 p.m.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, I would like to thank both noble Baronesses for their responses. Perhaps I should say something about the structure and the amount of money initially, because there is a degree of confusion in the House.

We have committed some 20 million to immediate preparation. That is for planning. Some of it has gone to the UN agencies to help them to prepare for any possible immediate humanitarian post-conflict situation. The DfID has earmarked a further 60 million for humanitarian operations, which would come from the DfID reserve. In addition, UK forces will have 30 million for humanitarian purposes in the first month. That will be for ensuring sanitation, food and shelter and so on. There is an additional 10 million for quick-impact projects that would come outside humanitarian issues. That would cover, for example, putting roofs on schools or building roads. I hope that that helps to clarify the amounts of money so far allocated.

A number of questions were asked about structure and the number of people involved. The noble Baroness said that only two people from the DfID were currently working on such issues with the MoD. That is not the case. Two people have gone out and are working specifically in Kuwait and Qatar. In addition, we have MoD, FCO and DfID officials working on the issues in the UK and in the region. We have constant contact with our colleagues in the United States, and have discussed the issues over a long period. We are in contact with all the relevant UN agencies and have a weekly meeting with NGOs to brief them on sensitive information so that they are as aware as we are of the context in which they might have to work. A great deal of consultation is going on, which I hope will go some way to alleviate the concern raised in the House.

I shall deal with some of the specific questions raised. The Select Committee on International Development published its report only a week ago. My right honourable friend Clare Short made a lengthy ministerial statement on 13th March, in which she made it absolutely clear that we would respond to each of the conclusions in that report. It is a little unfair to say that we have not taken time to respond to a

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number of very detailed recommendations from a Select Committee that has taken a great deal of time to consider the issues. Noble Lords will know that we work extremely hard in terms of our commitment on humanitarian issues to make sure that we get things right, not only in the UK but with other colleagues. Some of those criticisms are a little unfair.

I shall talk about responsibilities, especially in the immediate aftermath. In the event of conflict and the occupation of Iraqi territory by the UK military, the occupying forces would have humanitarian responsibilities under the Hague and Geneva Conventions. It is likely that, in the first stages of any conflict, UN agencies and NGOs would not be fully operational. If that were the case, military forces would then have the primary responsibility for the initial delivery of humanitarian assistance. They are also likely to play a key role in the longer term in providing a secure environment that would then allow NGOs and humanitarian agencies to operate. That is the scenario for which we are planning. I hope that that answers the question of the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings.

I also hope that I answered her questions about information sharing with NGOs. We are in constant contact with our colleagues in the United States. My honourable friend Mike O'Brien was there last week and discussed those issues. My right honourable friend Clare Short left today and will talk to Kofi Annan, the IMF, the World Bank and other UN agencies about those issues. However, she will not be in New York negotiating a new resolution. We want new resolutions, but that is not the role of my right honourable friend.

I was asked whether the oil-for-food programme is already suspended. It would be suspended when there were no Iraqi government. That is why we see as a priority the need to secure a Security Council resolution that would enable the programme to continue in the absence of a functioning Iraqi government. We envisage a temporary transfer to some kind of impartial figure, such as the UN Secretary-General, to give it authority to enter into contracts for food and essential humanitarian supplies. The purpose of that would be to use the considerable resources and existing supply networks of the oil-for-food programme in support of the immediate humanitarian needs of the people of Iraq.

We are also discussing with partners and allies the need for a further UN Security Council resolution that would provide an overall UN mandate for transitional arrangements. That might include a UN assistance mission for Iraq. We are considering two separate approaches: oil for food and reconstruction under the aegis of the UN. I cannot tell noble Lords how long it will take to get those resolutions through. As I said, we are in discussions with allies on that.

I was asked about the total sum that would be allocated to any reconstruction effort. It is impossible to tell. We are not now at that point and we will have to consider the matter. I was also asked about timing and the fact that my noble friend Lady Symons was

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unable to go into much detail on those issues last night. I must say that my noble friend spent more than 25 minutes replying to the debate last night. A number of issues were raised, including reconstruction, and it was impossible for her to spend any more time going into those issues. She also undertook to write to noble Lords.

We are engaged in trying to develop a comprehensive humanitarian strategy. That is extraordinarily complicated, as noble Lords will appreciate. My right honourable friend Clare Short made it clear in her Written Statement to the House of Commons on 13th March that we would have liked the planning to have been further advanced. Having said that, we are working as hard as we can to ensure that all our planning is in place.

With respect to the specific question on the European Council, I understand that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister will attend that meeting.

The final question was on USAID and the contracts that it will award. USAID made it clear in discussions with my honourable friend Mike O'Brien that in the initial phases it anticipates that the majority of contracts would go to United States organisations because it already has a relationship with them but it anticipates that a large percentage of subcontracting would go beyond the United States.

3.34 p.m.

Lord Judd: My Lords, I should declare an interest as a member of the Oxfam Association and a former director of Oxfam.

Although I welcome this helpful Statement, does my noble friend agree that, apart from the immediate humanitarian and repair work to be done, if the peace is to be won, massive expenditure will be involved? Can she assure the House that strategic thinking internationally about the amount of money required for that task is taking place? Does she accept that there is a real challenge to be faced in the humanitarian non-governmental organisations in this country? Their history and record of effectiveness rests on their impartiality and objectivity. It is therefore absolutely essential that there is a UN-led operation in this context so that they are not put in the position of not being able to do anything or being able to operate only by getting alongside people who are the centre—we must face this, whether we like it or not—of a great deal of controversy in the world.

In that context, does my noble friend accept that strong leadership of the UN operation in New York—in terms of inter-agency co-operation—and in the field will be essential? Can she also assure us—there are real anxieties about this—that funds will not be diverted from other essential development and humanitarian tasks elsewhere in the world and that people will not be syphoned off from other commitments elsewhere in the world to work in Iraq? There are indications that that is already happening.

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