THURSDAY 18 APRIL 2002
Tony Baldry, in the Chair
RT HON CLARE SHORT, a Member of the House, Secretary of State for International Development, MR RICHARD MANNING, Director-General, Resources, and MR ADRIAN DAVIS, Head, Environment Policy Department, Department for International Development, examined.
(Clare Short) Thank you. I was a few minutes late, I hope I did not hold you up. It was just a few but it was not intentional.
(Clare Short) Secondly, I just wanted to say I have had this long letter about your visit to Ghana and Nigeria, for which I am grateful. It was handed to me when ----
(Clare Short) A report on your visit.
(Clare Short) The thing is, I have not even read it yet. They literally gave it to me.
(Clare Short) No. The point is there might well be information in there that having sent the letter you think I have but I have not actually read it yet. I just want you to know that I do not have that information. The second thing I would say on climate change is I do not consider myself at all an expert on climate change, there are people in the Department who follow that agenda carefully and think about the effect on developing countries. The basic point about it is the world is being polluted and the climate change is being generated by countries like ours and the likely effect on developing countries is in the increasing turbulence and instability. We are focused on that end of the discussion although, of course, the Department has experts and expertise helping developing countries look at the likely consequence for them but we are not central players in that debate because our countries, so to speak, are going to be recipients of the turbulence although, of course, later on South Africa, Brazil, China and India as they start to develop and affect the rest will be recipients of the effect, not players. The third thing on WSSD is I think there is an enormous prize to be had out of this UN Conference. We have been trying to work as a Department to not have these one-off UN Conferences all over the place about whatever the latest fashion is but to hone an ever growing consensus in the international system. First the Millennium Development Goals, which as you know we worked to get agreement right across the system on getting the UN Summit, then Doha on trade, a commitment to looking at trade again to grow developing countries, then Monterey, and it is not just money at Monterey, it is how do you finance development, what kind of reform grows an economy, creates more revenues, better livelihoods and funding for public services and the proper and better use of aid. The Millennium Conference, Doha and Monterey have gone well, and then Johannesburg. The prize, if we can get it, is the Northern Greens who tend to often adopt an anti-development perspective, because living in our privileged countries one thinks "the planet is under strain, it cannot take any more pollution or use of its natural resources, we should all stop being so materialistic, not go for growth and diminish world trade". That perspective comes out of a genuine good-hearted concern for the planet but leaves out the needs of the poorest people and countries to have economic growth and more material well-being. So you often get, and it certainly happened at Seattle and it bubbles up in different meetings that we go to, the Green agenda being anti-development and being seen as hostile by developing countries, that we polluted the planet and plundered it to get our development and now we are pulling up the ladder behind us with a set of rules that will make it very difficult for developing countries to grow. They are very conscious of that and the threat at Seattle, for example, to put environmental rules into world trade rules could lock them out of the possibilities of growing their economies through trade. The bad thing about that is, one, it is unfair to developing countries to create such rules that prevent them developing but, two, the world will divide in two. We cannot look after the planet sustainably unless we are looking at it in a way where we all stand to gain mutually and where there is something in it for everybody. Therefore, to have a real environmental sustainability agenda we have got to get the Greens to join up with the development people, to see that what we have got to have is a guarantee to development for the poor countries and poor people within a sustainable planet. That is a shift in the mind set of the environmental movement that I think we might achieve at Johannesburg. If so, then the international consensus is stronger, what we have to do is clearer, getting on with implementing the consensus is better. Of course, for developing countries that means grow your economy, better social provision and look at your own environmental resources. That is what sustainability means. Personally I think that is the prize for Johannesburg, this shift in the mind set, a guarantee of development for the poor with a commitment from all of us to work for a sustainable planet and to take it away from the conservation, do no harm, have lots and lots of checks on any development proposal because it might be harmful for the environment. Promoting development is part of making the world safe and secure and the levels of poverty we have are a threat to the future safety and sustainability of the world. I think it is edging our way. I think it is a very important prize because lots of the negatives and the NGOs and people on the street, lots of well meaning people, come with this almost anti-development mind set but think they are being kind and it does get in the way of international agreement and just driving forward development and implementing the agreements we have got.
(Clare Short) I would just like to say sometimes people have names that make you think of things, like Mr Fukuyama with the end of history, and Mr Monbiot also makes me think of things. He is an intransigent ---- I have seen an article by him, I do not read him any more, saying that the free market used to be okay when it was a baker's shop at the bottom of the road but now it is multinational capital it is hopeless. These are people indulging in all the privileges of living in a developed economy, having clean water, sanitation, electricity, telecommunications, access to the internet, walking up and down shopping streets buying the products of multinational capital and then getting themselves into a frenzy that it is destroying the earth and becoming absolutely fixated on not letting any of this get to the developing world. It is a series of errors, some of it genuinely held, some of it just people who like spreading enmity and hostility and misinformation. Some you can win, some you cannot.
Chairman: The administrations need to work before September.
(Clare Short) Let me come back to desertification in Northern Nigeria. It used to be the case, but it has improved in recent years, that Summits and UN Conferences were places for grand declarations of moral principle and concern about poverty and the rest and then everyone went home and carried on as before and there was fantastically little in concept that meant it had to be implemented. You had one on children, one on deserts, one on forests, the fashions change and everyone turns up and has another jamboree. That was how the system used to be. The International Development Targets drawn out of the series of Summits on children, women, reproductive health care and so on and then driving them through the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD into the Millennium Development Goals and then Doha getting serious about trade and Monterey getting serious about how to manage the world economy in a way that will give the poorest people in countries a real chance of development within a sustainable framework is the bit that needs to become entrenched in the international consensus at Johannesburg. When you come to individual developing countries there are two takes on the environmental agenda. The poor of the world, the rural poor, are more dependent on environmental resources than any of the rest of us and very directly that land, that wood for their cooking, that fish that they can get, the products of the forest, so as you get the forests chopped down, and there is enormous corruption in forestry and people who own the forests ----
(Clare Short) They take the animals, they take the trees, and the people who have lived for generation upon generation in the forest have more and more difficulty. Of course, we have got growth in world population and deforestation and so on, more grazing, more animals, more desertification, people who live on the food they grow themselves and as the land gets poor their children go hungry. This is spreading around the world. A part of the answer is better environmental management. What we have learned about forestry, for example, is you have to give the people who live in and around the forest and off the products of the forest - and that is never just the trees, there are all sorts of other plants, where their animals feed and so on - some control over the future of the forest and then they will nurture it and care for it. There is that famous thing, you plant trees for your grandchildren. The poor of the world have tended not to have any control over the forests they have lived in forever. You need that kind of environmental improvement and the same with fisheries. We have got a big project in West Africa for fisheries. The European fishing policy is in danger of denuding Africa of its fisheries just like we have done to our own North Sea. That needs dealing with and stopping because there are lots of little people who fish and that is how they get their protein. If the fisheries go, they go forever. Within the country you need to look for your strategy for economic development and the reduction of poverty but include sustainable management of environmental resources in a way that is pro-poor and gives the poor some say over their future and therefore some interest in nurturing that but given the scale of world population we are going to need more value added. Urbanisation is happening anyway, half of humanity is now urbanised, it is going to be 65 per cent in another 15 or 20 years. There has got to be more processing of agricultural projects, more value added, more people getting jobs, not just in the forest or by growing food because the world cannot sustain it. Some of those people in Northern Nigeria might urbanise and have better jobs processing some of their products and then you need a change in trade rules because Africa exports unprocessed products. Then, of course, all of these poor countries are going to have more and more turbulence in their environment, more and more disasters, floods, and climate change that means the crops do not grow because of what we are doing to generate global warming. That is even more of a burden on them to be able to promote their development and improve their lives. We need the international agreements that deal with some of that destructive effect, we need much more promotion of development, and in a lot of countries, because we cannot stop some of this turbulence that is coming, we need to help countries to have in place the capacity to deal with crises. There is the famous thing, you have floods in the southern United States of America and a few people lose their cars; you have them in Mozambique - it used to be Bangladesh but Bangladesh has learned - thousands of people lose their lives. Part of dealing with catastrophes is to be prepared and organised to deal with them. That is my answer to your question. This is fantastically urgent both in terms of human need and in terms of the urbanised, very unjust world where now because of the global communications we have the poor of the world see how the rest of us live and they are not going to be dispersed across rural areas, they are going to be collected together in cities more and more. The anger and rage there is going to be if there is not progress is going to make for a very bitter, nasty world. It will make where we are now, which is pretty depressing, even more depressing.
(Clare Short) The Danes are talking about it and the South Africans were talking about it. Are they talking about it less?
(Mr Davis) They are talking about a programme of action.
(Clare Short) It sounds nice, a global deal. People who came to this not having focused on the Millennium Development Assembly, Doha and the rest came afresh as though we had not had the preceding conferences and then said "oh, can we have a big global deal for sustainability for the world?" I gather the Danes are saying free trade, international environment agreements, development of the 0.7 per cent ODA target strengthening freedom and democracy. That is fine. I do not think there is going to be a global deal. I think it is a programme of action that drives forward what we have agreed at these other conferences that is leading to implementation that brings sustainability and environmental resources into the picture and gets the mind set of the world right about how to care for them.
(Clare Short) There you are, that is an example of the backward anti-development environmental movement. I just said about Africa. Seventy-plus per cent of its exports are unprocessed commodities coming out at tiny prices, their cocoa, their coffee, their cashews, their minerals. It is a resource rich country but ---- Then, of course, of the packet of cashews we buy a tiny, tiny fraction goes to the farmer who grew the cashews. They need the jobs to package it, they need the jobs to package the coffee or whatever it is and, as you know, commodity prices are falling. If there is not a change in world trade rules giving the poorest countries the chance to process, add value and export and, therefore, be able to afford the imports that give them access to modern technology, that gives them water, sanitation and so on, then those who argue this, if they were to succeed, are marginalising the poorest countries forever from the globalising world economy, from modern technology, from the chances for investment and sentencing them to every growing poverty, because it is not a stable thing. In poor countries the population is growing. In Africa the population is growing faster than the economy and on present trends Africa is going to get poorer and poorer. Those who think that giving Africa more chance to trade will somehow endanger the environment, if they were to succeed the consequence for Africa would be disaster and they are profoundly wrong.
(Clare Short) We do not agree, and the South Africans do not agree and the international system does not agree. Kyoto, as you know, is profoundly important but also divisive. We have got the biggest economy in the world not co-operating and we have got some other big OECD economies that have not decided whether they will or not: Japan, Australia, Canada and so on. If there is any attempt to bring Kyoto to Johannesburg it will divide the Conference, the thing will be a disaster. We have got another process for Kyoto, which is delicate and precious and needs protecting and needs not to be taken to Johannesburg. It will damage Kyoto and it will destroy the Johannesburg Conference and some of the big players who have not decided what to do about Kyoto would probably not come. I understand why people think this is a conference about the environment and we have not resolved Kyoto, let us take it there, but it is extremely unwise and we must not do it. It would be a disaster. Your second question was what are DFID doing. I tried to indicate earlier that the people who are causing climate change are our kind of economies and it is us who have got to clean ourselves up. The poorest economies are going to be the recipients of even more barriers to their development out of the turbulence, the disease spread, the effect on crops and agriculture, the disasters, the flooding and so on. Part of our take is them preparing, understanding, getting some knowledge of what is likely to come to be better at handling the consequences. There is a series of big countries that will as they develop, and China continues to develop very successfully, I see despite the world economy going down they had ten per cent economic growth again this year, they will start as they go on - India, China, Brazil and South Africa - to later become countries that will need to join in the agreement to reduce emissions. China has done remarkably. It got quite worried about its own environmental damage. Its economy has been growing considerably, ten per cent a year for ten years or more.
(Mr Davis) Twenty, since 1980.
(Clare Short) The most successful poverty reduction that is going on in big numbers is in China. They also adopted major reforms on energy and they have reduced their emissions while they have been engaging in this kind of economic growth. There is a series of very important lessons there. For the poorest economies, on their potential contribution, even the most successful possible development you can think of for them, they are not going to be real contributors to global warming, they are going to be recipients of the effect. I do not know, Adrian or Richard, if you want to add anything on what DFID are doing. I hope I have made clear how we come into this. It is not our core issue but it has a deep consequence for the countries we are interested in, so we do take an interest. The main players are us, the polluters, the OECD countries, which we do not lean on.
(Mr Davis) Only to confirm that the main area in which we will be working is adaptation to climate change. As we made clear at the first session when we gave evidence, the more development there is in an economy, the more resilient they become to climate change, so we will be concentrating on adaptation. I suspect there may be questions subsequently specifically on adaptation.
(Clare Short) Andhra Pradesh?
(Clare Short) Firstly, climate change is not and must not go to Johannesburg. We must not go there as a first base. Of course, the Kyoto Protocol does not require developing countries to reduce their emissions. This is the thing that the United States finds objectionable and thinks that it should, but we agree with the Kyoto Protocol that we are the mega polluters, that we move first and then, of course, this should be going on later and as some of the big developing countries develop, like China, they will join in later with some kind of agreement. I agree with your fundamental point, it would be absolutely wrong at this stage to impose requirements on reducing emissions on developing countries that are producing very few emissions and have weakness of capacity. As their economies grow they need to come in but be helped in the meantime to grow their economies with sources of energy that are not polluting. China is an example of making a lot of progress. As they have grown their economy they have improved the cleanness of the energy that they have been using. I do not know about that particular project in India that you referred to but Richard Manning does. Let me say about India that India has masses of capacity, it has enormously strong educated people but it also has a third of the poor of the world, and that capacity it has is not always applied consistently right through society to bring the reforms that would bring the benefits to everyone. That is the challenge for India. This is another example of Northern concepts of the Green agenda objecting to development. We have got this row on at the moment about Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh has got 160 million people, very, very poor people, a very powerful reform agenda trying to grow the economy, get all children educated. It is progressing, it is breaking through caste boundaries. I have been to a tribal village where there was not a single literate woman but every single little girl is in school. Those are the sorts of things being achieved in Andhra Pradesh that are deeply moving, and the sorts of things we need to achieve across the world. We, as a Department, have put 60 million in budgetary aid to back all of this reform agenda in Andhra Pradesh. There is a lot of landless poor. Thinking about the future of the economy, there are projections by the government of Andhra Pradesh about how less people will live on the land and how the land might be more productive and more value added. I think they are open to the use of GM. Suddenly we have got vicious campaigns against my Department saying we are responsible for all of this and we have got to stop Andhra Pradesh doing all of this, which is not our right, it is for the people there and their own elected government to make this decision. It is another example of a well meaning, I am sure, but distorted version of the environmental agenda having a naivety about what has to be achieved in order to promote development in poor countries. Before the Industrial Revolution 98 per cent of the population of Britain lived in poverty in rural areas and that was at the time when you got hanged for stealing a sheep, and people did because that is how hungry they were. That was why they came into the cities and lived in squalor and then we had the political struggle to use the benefits of industrialisation to lift up everybody. There is a whole mind set there that seems not to remember that history and thinks it is a great romance for everyone to live in rural poverty. Sorry.
(Clare Short) Yes, indeed. That project was about this very discussion, can we get the environmental agenda really to be about sustainability and be development friendly. We joined together with those organisations to try and hone a forward looking agenda that takes account of the needs and interests of developing countries. We did a consultation phase, the consultation is now complete and it is ----
(Mr Davis) Not yet. We sent you the first draft. We sent 15 copies, it is the blue document. We sent that to you as part of the papers that we promised to send you after the first session.
(Mr Davis) There has been an electronic discussion group. We are revising it and setting out an action plan summary for the Bali Preparatory Committee and then the final report will be available about a month before Johannesburg. Incidentally, because that has been so successful we are doing a joint paper on climate change and poverty now.
(Mr Davis) Sure.
(Clare Short) We are trying to parallel the preparatory process with a more intelligent discussion of how you can bring sustainability, environment and development for the poor together.
Chairman: I suspect we all concur with that, it would be useful to see the work that has been done.
(Clare Short) Indeed so. I will bring Adrian in. A piece of very serious work has been commissioned to answer that question. Have they had that too?
(Mr Davis) No.
(Clare Short) I will leave that with you and we can send you some more copies. There is also some work we are doing now to help countries to look at what the knowledge is that we have now. We have got to remember that the projections of climate change from now assume the world does nothing to deal with it. As you know, lots of Pacific and Caribbean islands and countries would disappear, a third, a half of Bangladesh's territory would disappear yet it is highly crowded and it is going to double in population because although population growth is declining it is a very young country. The long-term projection is horrendous but what we have got to do with that projection is learn that we must not go there. That is why we need Kyoto and we need to change the behaviour of the world and reduce the prospects of that very grave climate change but some effect is inevitable already and that will bring damage, increased turbulence, more floods, more disease and it will add to the burdens and problems of meeting the Millennium Development Goals. We have to face it and do better, and we can do better if the world would just concentrate and apply everything we know more effectively throughout the international system.
(Clare Short) I think that is profoundly wrong. If you look at economies like ours with the kind of level of economic development and technological capacity we have, we have the capacity to treat our environment with more and more respect, not pollute it, reduce emissions, have forms of energy that do not create climate change. It is when you are more developed that you can afford to adapt your technologies and make the changes to protect environmental consequences. Very poor countries just do not have the capacity. The massive burden of disease in the world is human beings relying on wood for cooking and we have terrible respiratory diseases and lots of people get ill and children die because of that. They have no option, there is no electricity near them, let alone renewables. They have got to grow their economies and they need better trading opportunities to grow their economies to be able to afford to have some access to energy and then go for the China route of going for less polluting energy and so on and so forth. It is absolutely wrong to suggest that more trading opportunities for poor countries leads to more pollution, that is just false. That route lies a divided, polluted world in deep, deep trouble. Humanity is urbanising. Look at us in this urban country. I talked about where we were before the Industrial Revolution. Human beings all over this planet are choosing to go and live in squalor and poverty in some of those slums that we see. When you see those slums you have to know how hard their life must have been in the rural area to go and live there. The rural always looks beautiful, green, and there are the rivers, but people migrate to the city just to get some fraction of a chance, a few breadcrumbs of a chance, of a better life. Humanity is making these choices. It is more than 50 per cent now and we are going to 65 per cent so we have to share our technology, access to clean water, sanitation systems and so on in order that we can have responsible sustainable development and back the choices that human beings are making. I cannot stand the green agenda that says poor people cannot have better trading opportunities and that Africa cannot process its products and that poor people are not allowed to urbanise and aspire to have the things we have. That is profoundly reactionary. Some people innocently come to it, and then there is Mr Monbiot
(Clare Short) There are some differences and there are some things that are the same for the greens in the north and in the south. The responsibility to deal with the emissions that are causing global warming lies in the north and the south is the recipient of the consequences, that is clear. Developing our economies sustainably is a duty in all our countries, but the stress on rapid economic grow in order to reduce poverty and transferring access to modern technology to do it as cleanly as possible is complementary but slightly different because the starting point is different. The urgency to get growth to reduce poverty is much greater in the poorest countries. Let me say on lorries and logs, there is nothing wrong with using forests as long as you are doing it sustainably. This country used to be covered in forests. We destroyed our forests. Of course forests are being destroyed in other parts of the world. Sustainable forestry is about those people living in the forests having some control over the future of the forest and being able to get some money from responsibly using the fruits of the forest, and that will include logging and selling wood, but not so fast that the forest cannot replenish itself. We have got lots of wooden things and wood is lovely and as long as we are using our forests in a sustainable way the countries that still have forest will export logs. That is fine. The Department has been doing some work on how you bring all the expertise together. Adrian?
(Mr Davis) Can I say that increasing public awareness of the environmental issues in the south is very important because demand from the people is one of the factors that will start to get governments aware of the need for an integrated environment, not just in climate change but integrated environmental strategies. We have been doing that in Kenya in particular. There is an environmental governance programme in Kenya which is not centred on the government but is centred on civil society to get them to demand that, for example, logging or corruption which leads to environmental degradation is taken more seriously by the government. Also, if you build that kind of bedrock, it gets away from the relatively short-term political horizon of governments to get them to take into account these longer-term environmental issues. I visited Bolivia where there is a Ministry of Sustainable Development and there is a Minister of Environment. She has been in the position for ten years and Bolivia has lots of laws and lots of regulation but they are not very well enforced. When I asked her what was the one thing that would enable her to do her job better she said, "Increasing public awareness of environmental issues and then I can put my message within the government and within the country more generally."
(Clare Short) Hold on, the stuff about bringing people together that you are working on. A lot of the people who live in the forests or who are reliant on natural resources know very well what is going on and they probably value and care for nature and natural resources more than anyone. That is their life and has been for generation after generation. All over the world where we work in forestry there is massive corruption - in Indonesia with the military, Malaysian companies, in the Cameroons there is corruption destroying loads of forests, in Nepal it is the same. Yes, you have got to use the strength of public opinion to demand the reform that stops the corruption that allows the resources to be managed in a way that enables the poor people to have a better life. Poor people tend to respect and care about the environment but are powerless to stop the way it is all being stripped away from them. 62 per cent of humanity is now under democratic systems, more than we have ever had in human history. Often they are very dominated by elites. Poor people do not feel they can use their democratic power. They do not have the knowledge and the confidence there is lots of bribery and corruption and hand outs. So it is strengthening the voice that demands responsible management rather than teaching the poor to care about nature. They probably care about it more than any of us.
Mr Robathan: I would like to add I agree that what we saw in Ghana was very definitely over-exploitation and, indeed, your Department is doing excellent work to try and assist the Forest Service in Ghana in trying to stop illegal exploitation. It was fuelled by corruption, it was accompanied by intimidation, so we were told (I have to say we did not see that) and indeed the forced displacement of people who had lived on the forest. We went to a forest reserve where there were no long-standing trees, it was all shrub, the whole thing had been cut down. I am reinforcing what you said.
(Clare Short) We have moved on this. One of the international development targets that came out of the 1990s UN conferences was that every country should have a national strategy for sustainable development in place by ---?
(Mr Davis) This year.
(Clare Short) And under implementation by 2005. We set up a unit in the Department and we are working away at it. What we started getting across the world was everyone had their national strategy for sustainable development on the shelf or in the ministry of sustainable development or environment and the main core of the economy was in the finance ministry and concentrated on the urgency to get economic development. This was to please the UN or the donors. For the Millennium Development Goals, the work we are doing now is taking the poverty reduction strategy, this revolution that has been on the back of debt relief in the way the banks work with developing countries so that the macro-economic strategy, how you use aid, debt relief, revenues from tax and social spending are all taken together and openly in a country. They are growing urgently all over the world to get debt relief and they need to be lengthened and deepened and they need to take in sustainability. As a country thinks about where it is getting its economic growth, how far it is urbanising, what is happening to its forests, etc, etc, it needs to be integrated in its view of how it is developing itself. We are trying to move, and that is the right thing to do, and it is easy to talk about this. Countries are trying to integrate their trade strategy, and these are countries with frail administrative capacity, as you know, but this is the right way to go. On climate change, again, for developing countries, at this stage they are not contributing to climate change, they are going to be the recipients of more instability, disease and problems with their agriculture as a consequence of that. They need to take that knowledge into their planning for the future of their country and how they are going to deal with the crises and deal with the disease burden and modify their agriculture.
(Clare Short) We are abolishing DFID country plans. When I came in to the Department in 1997, the Department had always had them but we publish them. Then we work very hard to get this poverty reduction strategy where it works and where the country leads and gets the support of the fund for parts of its operation. We and others cluster around the country's own plans for its own development. We focus a lot on building the capacity of the country. You have got enormously weak finance ministries, central banks, education ministries, civil service not paid therefore taking petty bribes and so on, very high inflation, terrible interest rates so no business can flourish, you know you get all of those conditions. Now, taking off a country's poverty reduction strategy, we negotiate with the country how we will contribute to building up their capacity in strength. Yes, then - and Adrian should come in again - we try and strengthen a country's capacity to think about sustainability and their environmental resources alongside how they are growing their economy and how they are improving their public services, the provision of health care and so on.
(Mr Davis) I think we said at the first session, we are working broadly at trying to integrate the environment and environmental issues into the PRSB, of which climate change is a subset and probably not actually the most urgent. We are not doing it by ourselves, as the Secretary of State said, we are doing it with a coalition of partners. All of the donors in a country are trying to group around the PRSB so we are working very closely with the World Bank, with other bilaterals. There are competing demands. There is weak capacity. Certainly it is a really important part of our agenda.
(Clare Short) Do you want to come in, Richard?
(Mr Manning) What we are seeing, I suppose, is a great deal of variability at country level, I think. You have probably already had the example of Uganda where there has been an extremely good exercise to integrate the environmental dimension into their planning. On the other hand, we had a briefing session for our senior staff about a month ago from our colleagues in DEFRA and the Hadley Centre about climate change so that we are sensitising our own people better. I was quite interested when my colleague who deals with Asia said that he had been to, I think, half a dozen consultative group meetings on major Asian countries over the previous 18 months and at none of which had climate change been mentioned. That included places like Bangladesh and Nepal where you think they ought seriously to think about it. It is very variable and I think there is an important piece of work to do to get these into the central parts of government. That is why we are putting the emphasis on trying to integrate this into the PRSB rather than having a study on the side. Bangladesh is an example actually where we are working scientist to scientist and institution to institution to try and broaden the awareness. But, on the basis of what my colleague said, this may yet not have percolated to the Ministry of Finance where it does need to percolate because Bangladesh quite clearly will pay a huge number of costs over the next century as a result of this and that needs to start being factored in now.
(Clare Short) People talk about whether there are increased disasters and how far it is already a result of climate change. It is difficult to know, of course, because we are getting such growth of population that people are living on more and more marginal land and so on. The climate change matters enormously but given you have the disasters right now in front of you, we have got to deal with them not just speculate. People see disasters when they hit the media and then there is always the call for international support, quite rightly, but in fact your chances of surviving flooding or mudslides are dependent on the first 24 hours when there is most loss of life. The international community never gets there in that time. What you have got to do is build up the capacity of countries to cope immediately. We have been working with the Red Cross - you know they have organisations throughout the world of locals - to bolster the knowledge and capacity within each country around the world, especially countries which are vulnerable to disaster so there is more and more capacity at home and then with appropriate ministries and so on. Following the Gujarati earthquake we did some follow on work with the Indian Government who have been quite good at disasters but we found some weaknesses in their systems so, where next, India will be able to respond more quickly. We have been working also with OCHA which is the UN agency that is meant to be capable of making the assessment and moving very rapidly and having stocks and supplies around the world which can move in very quickly. The next thing you get is when there is a disaster and it hits the headlines, bits are flying in from all over the world and they get chaos and disorganisation and you need the UN to move in very early to see what the needs are, send for the right things and get some co-ordination so the right things apply. The Red Cross is doing this enormous effort across the world to strengthen the capacity of disaster prone countries to act very quickly. We have been working very strongly with OCHA and then in countries where we are - as in Bangladesh and so on and Mozambique following the floods - to strengthen country's own systems. At the moment the world thinks of disasters in developing countries as a call on international assistance but really that is a failure.
(Clare Short) Wherever possible we build the national capacity. I repeat: there are earthquakes in Japan, there are floods and hurricanes in the United States of America but they have systems and capacity and methods of building where loss of life is virtually unimaginable or very, very rare. Whereas floods, which really should not cause any loss of life, like, was it Columbia, where was it where there were terrible mudslides and very big loss of life ---
(Clare Short) --- you remember, a few years ago, houses were built in inappropriate places, there was no emergency system to pull people out very quickly. Bangladesh is the example, terribly flood prone. It used to lose a lot of life and it has just built up its systems, it cannot stop the floods. It is built on a river delta and people live on lands that move around because there is such a shortage of land. Now the whole country is fantastically good at responding to a disaster and can manage itself and protect human life and we have to build that capacity across the world as well as, of course, helping countries to take the remedial action to try and prevent the disasters. With global warming there is probably a lot which is going to come to them as a consequence of behaviour in the north in polluting the planet and they are just going to have to be better at dealing with disasters and protecting human life and thinking about where to promote development and safer places to build and so on.
(Mr Davis) It is interesting, I was talking about environmental integration into PRSBs, the World Bank has done an analysis of this and one of the countries that has integrated the best in their full PRSB is Mozambique because they realise it is really important.
(Clare Short) What we try to do in everything, as our own development efforts in the United Kingdom and my own Department's efforts mature, is say, "Here we are, we are doing it and build international systems that do it. We have provided funding for the Hadleigh Centre to prepare a portable, regional climate change model that can be available to countries so that they can look at the likely consequences for themselves and start planning for how they will cope. We have commissioned this very major piece of research that we hope will be a resource for developing countries more broadly. We are trying to work to strengthen the appetite/knowledge of developing countries and our focus is all the time on mitigating effects and helping countries to adapt to cope. You would expect out of this discussion a stronger and stronger voice coming out of developing countries demanding that the world takes firmer action to deal with emissions.
(Mr Davis) Collecting statistics is an important area for DFID and developing countries in a whole range of areas because of the importance attached to monitoring, etcetera. One of the problems with traditional environmental indicators is that they do not address the issue the Secretary of State talked about of sustainability. The number of trees are diminishing, what does that mean? One of the things that we are trying to encourage developing countries to look at is the indicators that link poverty and environment, so that instead of looking at the number of trees when you look at that, you look at the time it takes women to collect fuel wood and whether that is increasing over time, those kind of links. Again statistics on climate change are a subset of that and perhaps it is more important to link the environment and poverty together.
(Clare Short) You know how international development is full of statistics and there are books showing how many children there are lots of those figures are very old, very unreliable and if we are to drive the Millennium Development Goals we need better statistics more regularly so you can see which countries are making progress and which are not and policies can learn from success and so on. We are trying with the World Bank the OECD and the UN system to get an improved system of statistics collecting that is not so onerous that developing countries cannot bear the burden. If you look at what the UN system recommends, most developing countries just cannot do that so you have got to both build the capacity and have a limited set of collectable. We have been working on this since Paris 21 a couple of years ago. It needs a bigger push. We are going to have an extra effort so there are more year-on-year statistics of how countries are doing so their own governments can learn and their people can learn and we can learn from where there is a success and where there is a failure. The world is behind on that.
(Mr Manning) On climate change statistics in particular we need to remember that there is a huge international effort on this through the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. There is a lot of use for remote sensing. There is a whole industry which is collecting this data. It is true to say that in some respects the data is better in the north than in the south but we should look particularly at the international process to really good guidance on what is happening in the world as a whole. I do feel that huge progress has been made in the last ten years or so and the latest report is a very important step forward in building the scientific consensus behind what is happening.
(Clare Short) We are part of the whole international development system so we are trying as a Department to both make our own interventions in countries as effective as they can be in building the country's capacity to grow its economy, reduce poverty, have better public services, improve livelihoods and do it sustainably in countries where we work, but also we are trying to strengthen the international system because we cannot work everywhere but the international system can work everywhere. We are quite big players in the UN system, in the World Bank and in the regional development banks trying to take the best development practice right across the international system and then more and more to get us and others collaborating so that we are not all running separate projects here and there and that we cluster behind countries' own reform agendas and share out the work. Instead of having nice little projects that we can put our flags over and put pictures of in our annual reports and where we put in aid and the experts and when it ends the thing crumbles, we should be building up the capacity of the countries to do it for themselves, and that includes sustainability, awareness of the consequences of climate change, which is the big shift in the mind set on development we are trying to help drive across the international system.
(Mr Manning) Perhaps it is just worth adding to that, our first base assessment is precisely the poorest people who are likely to be the most vulnerable to climate change. Obviously you can pick the groups here and there who might be specifically vulnerable and are poor but in general it is people who have very few assets. It will be the people we met in Northern Nigeria, the people living in parts of Bangladesh vulnerable to flooding, it will not be the middle class in Bangladesh who will suffer from climate change, it will be poor people living on these shifting islands. We do not see the climate change agenda as in any way irrelevant to our poverty agenda, the two things over time are very closely linked.
(Clare Short) It is the poor old poor who get the brunt all the time, so stick with them and give them a better chance.
(Clare Short) No.
(Clare Short) Just briefly on your first point, I agree absolutely that there is a completely complementary agenda. The absolutely guaranteed reduction of poverty and the sustainable management of the world have to go together and it is the only safe sustainable future that we have wherever we live in the world. I am quite sharp with the northern green agenda just because, well, I am like that anyway and because I was in Seattle, I have heard it.
(Clare Short) I know there are lots of really well meaning but misled people and I think the challenge needs to be made. As I said at the beginning, the shift is I believe taking place. I think one of the prizes for Johannesburg is to bring this together and to get the predominant mindset of the world to see that it is complementary, and I hope that is what we are going to achieve in Johannesburg. Now, of course, I completely agree that developing countries should take on the technology that might have been developed and not go through all the stages of pollution and so on that we have been through but sometimes again people get romantic and say "Oh, yes, they will not have electricity and substations and generation like us, let us go straight to solar, they have a lot of sun in developing countries" but renewables are more expensive. We have systems in this country to encourage the use of renewables that have to be subsidised because as yet they are still more expensive: wind and solar and so on. What I was saying in answer to the Parliamentary Question was let us not burden developing countries with having to develop the new technology, let us give them support to have the best possible that is available but we can afford to take forward solar. It is not true that every OECD country is not sunny which someone was trying to argue with me the other day. So, of course, renewables are crucial and they are crucial to the future of humanity. It is a sort of romance, they mean completely well, "Oh, let us not have any of that in developing countries, let us go for state of the art renewables" but they are more expensive. The poorest of the world cannot afford to carry the burden of developing those technologies to the point where they become cheaper. I am sure that will happen with solar. It is our duty to humanity to carry forward the research and the development of the technology in our countries so that it can be spread across the world. We should not see the developing countries as a tabula rasa where we want to do everything and therefore look for the best possible renewables because they are too dear as yet. We have got a paper about to come out on energy. Six per cent of rural Africans do not have any access to electricity at all. It is starting from where we really are and how you can improve the lives of people by sharing technology. Do you know when that paper is coming out?
(Mr Manning) In the next few days.
(Clare Short) I think it will be a good piece of work. There is not an ultimate clash in this but there are lots of people who say, "Let's forget all about that and start with solar," but it just so happens that solar is more expensive. And we do stoves!
(Clare Short) Thank you but you know what a high quality Department I have with all these fabulous people who have devoted their lives to these matters. All over the world where those technologies are appropriate we are promoting them and helping to develop them, but these people who spend a lifetime trying to help get better energy sources for poor people also say, "Be cautious, do not think there is an easy, simple technological fix her," and we will share the paper with you.
(Clare Short) That was Jonathan Porritt. He is a person I have not met but for whom I had some respect. I am deliberately saying sharply to the Environment Committee please, adjust your mind-set, take into account the poor of the world and where they live. There is no sustainable future without them having a better future. That means in Seattle and various other meetings I have been in a clashing position but I think it is a growing position. I know I am not on my own. It is where we have got to get the world to. If the outcome of Johannesburg is that systematic poverty reduction and sustainable development are seen to go together we will have moved the mind-set of everyone.
Chairman: I do not want to re-open discussion but in a sense it is a debate that we have to have here during summer. If it dominates Johannesburg it is going to be very frustrating so it is something that needs to be done beforehand. Thank you very much. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday when there is a debate on the floor of the House on international development.