HC Deb 14 May 1990 vol 172 c594
55. Mr. Cummings

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he supports the French proposal to establish a global environmental fund at the World bank.

Mrs. Chalker

We warmly welcome the World bank's recent initiative in outlining a possible framework of international collaboration on global environmental issues. At the recent meeting of the development committee in Washington, we supported the proposal that the bank should carry out further work to elaborate its proposals, in consultation with interested parties.

Mr. Cummings

Does the Minister agree that the industrialised nations should not expect the developing nations to stall, postpone or cancel their development plans to protect the global environment unless they are compensated for doing so? Does she also agree that the British Government's stance at the Bergen conference in opposing a new mechanism, whereby the industrialised countries of the north would compensate Third world countries, is a disgrace and a shame?

Mrs. Chalker

A great deal more work is going on, initiated by us and other Ministers in the development committee, to explore the sort of help that developing countries will need when dealing with global environmen-tal problems. The hon. Gentleman referred to the Bergen conference. I do not believe that we shall oppose anything at that conference that would help the developing countries.

Dame Peggy Fenner

I know that my right hon. Friend will share my pleasure that Britain is supporting the tropical forest action plan, which is just one aspect of our care for the environment. But has she seen the Friends of the Earth comment that casts doubt on the efficacy of the plan? Will my right hon. Friend look into that matter and reassure me that we are putting our money in the right place?

Mrs. Chalker

I assure my hon. Friend that the tropical forest action plan is a mechanism—it is no more than that. Each country that applies for action under it must have a worked-out national plan. In November I called at the Food and Agriculture Organisation conference for a total review. That review has been set up because we are not satisfied with the mechanism; we are determined to ensure that every national forestry action plan is a worthy one, and we shall support it only if it is.

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