DFID DEVELOPMENTS: ASIA AND LATIN AMERICA
Letter from the Chairman to The Rt Hon
Clare Short MP, Secretary of State, Department for International
Thank you for the Explanatory Memorandum dated
17 September 2002 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting
on 17 October. The Committee have agreed to clear this item, but
would be grateful if you would provide the following information.
First, the Sub-Committee would like to know
of the Commission's position with regard to the above draft regulation.
The Sub-Committee notes that "this is likely to be a difficult
negotiation" (paragraph five) and are interested to know
what difficulties the Minister envisages in the negotiation process.
The Minister has also suggested a rather long timeframe (paragraph
8) and the Sub-Committee would like to know why the planned negotiations
"may take up to a year".
The Sub-Committee would like information on
the ratio of the administration costs, which the Sub-Committee
considers to be significant, compared to the proposed spend on
aid (paragraph 10.3 of the Financial Statement).
The Sub-Committee notes the countries listed
under Annex I and would like to know the Government's priority
with regard to aid for those countries that are most poor. We
would be grateful if you could also provide a list of the countries
that currently have EC missions underway.
The Sub-Committee would also be interested to
learn details of the legislation envisaged under point 4 of the
Explanatory Memorandum which discusses the issue of subsidiarity
and the co-operation of Community and Member State development
24 October 2002
Letter from Clare Short, Secretary of
State, to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 24 October advising
me that the draft Asia and Latin America (ALA) Regulation had
cleared scrutiny, but seeking some further clarification. I would
welcome increased interest in the improvement of EC development
efforts. The failure to allocate the substantial funds drawn from
national development budgets and distributed by the EC in accordance
with the most effective development and poverty reduction policies
remains a disgrace. I am amazed at how few allies I can find to
try to reform this misallocation of 25 per cent of my budget.
The Commission, having drafted the Regulation,
would prefer to have a very quick negotiation and agreement on
the content. However, this remains unlikely. Overall, I assess
the Commission's position to be closer to the UK than many other
member states, but there is still much work to be done on the
The difficulties that will arise are likely
to be rooted in the different political priorities of member states,
and also varying historical linkages between certain member states
and recipient countries in the ALA region. There will also be
differences of view on what constitutes effective development
assistance. The last regional regulation to be negotiated was
the MEDA II Regulation and this took a year from initial draft
to final agreement. That is why I have suggested that the timetable
will be fairly lengthy.
In addition, the Development Working Group takes
this item on the agenda only every two to three weeks to allow
time for revisions to be included.
In terms of priority countries for assistance,
I have suggested using objective allocation criteria across the
whole region. I would expect such criteria to focus on levels
of poverty and numbers of poor people. This would favour the poor
countries in Asia such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Yemen.
However, this would not rule out appropriate technical assistance
to middle income countries with large pockets of poverty such
as those in Latin America. This will be one of the most difficult
parts to negotiate.
I am not able to say how many EC missions are
underway. Such occasional visits are an ongoing part of EC business
as they are for DFID. But also like DFID, the Commission has been
deconcentrating management of programmes to the field, which will
not only reduce the number of missions, but should also make programme
management more efficient.
The administrative costs referred to in paragraph
10.2 and 10.3 relating to Commission staffing amounts to about
6.3 per cent of the total budget for administering the proposed
programme in the 2003-06 period.
There will not be any UK legislation flowing
from this proposed Regulation. However, on a general level, the
Regulation itself is intended to achieve the necessary complementarity
between Member State and Community action in this area.
4 November 2002