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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): There have been discussions with the Governments of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This aims to build a partnership between governments, commercial enterprises and civil society organisations with the aim of increasing transparency of revenues generated from extracted industries (oil, gas and mining). Both governments have indicated their support for the initiative and are currently considering how best to implement it. Azerbaijan
Further discussions were held during the recent DfID mission to Azerbaijan (November 2003). Emphasis was placed on EITI providing the opportunity to build up civil society and the need for transparency.
Baroness Amos: Staff costs for the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) increased by 56 per cent between 2001 (£587,574) and 2002 (£914,491). Average SEUPB staff numbers increased from 21 to 33 (57 per cent) over the same period.
Beginning late 2001, the SEUPB undertook a series of recruitment exercises to bring the number of permanent staff up to the NSMC approved complement. Many of the civil servants seconded to the SEUPB at the time of its establishment were thus able to return to their departments. The SEUPB also recruited temporary staff during 2002 to cover maternity leave and short-term peaks in workload. In addition, former Northern Ireland Partnership Board staff were seconded to the SEUPB during the first half of 2002 to complete work on the closure of PEACE I.
Baroness Amos: The board of the Ulster-Scots Agency has considered a draft job description and has indicated that it requires amendments. The sponsor departments will continue to assist the agency to obtain the necessary approvals once a job description has been agreed by the agency.
Baroness Amos: There are two ombudsmen in Northern Irelandthe Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints (also known as the Northern Ireland Ombudsman) and the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. The total gross expenditure of their two offices for 200203 was £1,077,000 and £6,859,000 respectively.
|Total Gross Expenditure for 20022003|
|Office of the Oversight Commissioner for Policing||£751,000.00|
|Criminal Justice Oversight Commissioner||A Criminal Justice Oversight Commissioner was appointed on 18 June 2003. It is expected that the total costs of his office will be around £500,000 per annum.|
Baroness Amos: The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had to act quickly to introduce an immediate ban on mobile fishing gear in Strangford Lough, to avoid further possible damage to ecological features which underpinned the designation of the lough as a candidate Special Area of Conservation.
The Department of the Environment will shortly publish an interim report on the horse mussel community in Strangford Lough. This will set out the results of a diving survey carried out in summer 2003, and is part of a wider investigation into the ecological status of the lough which is due to report in February 2004.
Baroness Amos: A needs assessment for the reconstruction of Afghanistan was undertaken by the World Bank, the United Nations and the Asia Development Bank. It estimated that 10 billion US dollars would be required over five years.
The international donor community met in Tokyo in January 2002 and pledged 4.5 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The Afghan Government have now reported that this total has increased to over 5.9 billion dollars. This does not, however, represent the full amount that will be provided over that period, as some donors are only able to pledge for periods shorter than five years.
Baroness Amos: The list of countries eligible for debt relief under the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative is not fixed. Any country can be added to the list if it meets the three eligibility criteria: the country must be eligible only for concessional lending from the IMF and World Bank; it must face an unsustainable debt burden after the application of traditional debt relief mechanisms; and it must have demonstrated its commitment to poverty reduction.
Those countries that are not eligible for debt relief under the HIPC initiative can still approach the Paris Club (the unofficial grouping of major bilateral creditors) for relief. In December 1994, Paris Club creditors agreed to implement a new treatment, "Naples terms", on the debt of the poorest countries. Eligibility for the Naples terms is assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the track record of the debtor country with the Paris Club and the IMF, and various criteria, including having a high level of indebtedness, being only eligible for IDA financing from the World Bank, and having a GDP-per-capita of 755 dollars or less. Creditors agreed in September 1999 that all Naples terms treatments would carry a 67 per cent. debt reduction.
On the basis of current debt ratios, none of the four countries named would be eligible for the HIPC initiative, but Haiti could potentially meet the Naples criteria. Cambodia received Naples terms relief in 1995 and its debt:export ratio is currently slightly higher than the 150 per cent. threshold. Around 80 per cent. of this debt is bilateral debt owed to Russia and the US. The latest available figures for Georgia suggest that their debt:export ratio is below 150 per cent. Haiti has a level of external debt significantly above 150 per cent. of exports, but would need to make significant progress in strengthening governance and institutions before it could qualify for debt relief. Finally, World Bank country data for Afghanistan give its debt:export ratio as significantly below 150 per cent.
Baroness Amos: The table below shows data for the 27 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) that have qualified for debt relief under the enhanced HIPC initiative. These are the only HIPCs in which the IMF and World Bank have carried out debt sustainability analyses. Most of the HIPC countries that have still to qualify for the relief have yet to emerge from prolonged conflict and accurate figures are not available.
A meaningful comparison between debt levels in 1983 and 2003 is almost impossible, as the figures for these years have been calculated in different ways. Furthermore, figures for 1983 are based on 1983 prices and those for 2003 are based on 2003 prices.
Figures for debt relief do not include additional bilateral assistance outside of the HIPC initiative, nor do they include any topping-up of debt relief that could potentially be provided. Total debt relief in 2003 will therefore be greater than that shown.
A breakdown of total HIPC relief is unavailable, so amounts of both principal and interest written off have not been included in the table. In addition, debt per head of population is not typically used to show a country's level of indebtedness. A more accurate
Figures for 2003 are not yet available for GDP per capita. Again, the use of constant 1995 prices makes it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from these data. Finally, rather than showing debt relief likely to be remitted over the next two years, the table shows the total debt stock being written off under the HIPC initiative, since this relief is already being delivered on the flow of repayments.
|Heavily Indebted Poor Country||Total Nominal Debt in millions of US$ 1983(1)||Before Debt Relief (NPV of total debt in millions of US$)(1)||Debt after unconditional delivery of enhanced HIPC assistance (NPV of total debt in millions of US$)(1)||Total debt relief delivered though traditional debt relief and HIPC (NPV in millions of US$)(1)||Debt per head of population on (in US$)||GDP per capita 2002 (constant 1995 US$)(1)|
|Nicaragua||3,407||5,645.7||1,395.5||4,250.2||261.58||Data not available|
|Sao Tome and Principe||42.8||203||33||170||213.99||347|
World Development Bank, Global Development Finance Online. Figures show levels of public and publicly guaranteed debt.
World Bank Group, World Development Indicators Online.
HIPC Decision Point Documents. Figures show Net Present Value of total debt in millions of US$.
(1) As above.
HIPC Decision Point Documents. Figures show Net Present Value of total debt relief in millions of US$.
(1) Figures of total relief for Ethiopia are for HIPC relief only and do not include "traditional" debt relief. A reliable debt stock figure for 2003 is not available.
(1) Figures of total relief for Uganda are for HIPC relief only and do not include "traditional" relief. A reliable debt stock figure for 2003 is not available.