HC Deb 15 October 1990 vol 177 cc922-4
59. Mr. Paice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what fresh measures he is proposing to assist developing countries to deal with environmental problems.

65. Mr. Summerson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what fresh measures he is proposing to assist developing countries to deal with environmental problems.

Mrs. Chalker

We have launched initiatives to develop new bilateral projects and to promote new multilateral measures in relation to environmental concerns such as forestry, energy efficiency, biological diversity, the ozone layer, and climate change.

Our policies are set out in the White Paper on the environment and in the ODA booklet "The Environment and the British Aid Programme".

Mr. Paice

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the opportunity that many of us have recently had to visit countries in eastern Europe demonstrated to us the importance of developing countries assuming a capitalist economic system to meet their environmental imperatives, such as sustainable management of the rain forests? What support is her Department giving to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge and to its work in supporting our overall objectives?

Mrs. Chalker

We do indeed support the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. It is supplied jointly by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the United Nations Environmental Programme, the World Wide Fund for Nature and ourselves. The centre has an important continuous function of collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of data, and we have involved it in our tropical managed areas assessment project. On our behalf, it is giving advice to the Government of India on conservation monitoring; it is preparing a manual on centres of plant diversity; it is involved in the biological diversity status report; and it is doing work on the conservation and management of biodiversity.

The centre is a thoroughly excellent organisation, supported not just by us but by worldwide organisations.

Mrs. Clywd

What assistance does the Minister propose to give to Cambodia, with its considerable environmental problems, which include landmines that are daily killing and maiming innocent people? Can she tell us whether British forces were in any way involved in training those who laid the mines, as some people allege; and what military and other expertise we can now give the Cambodian men, women and children to de-mine thousands of square miles of their country's land which are virtually unusable because they are unsafe?

Mrs. Chalker

That has nothing to do with the original question. The hon. Lady will find that I have answered today a question on Cambodia asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester). We are indeed concerned, and we are giving additional help to the non-governmental organisations to help civil-war-displaced persons in Cambodia.

The question that the hon. Lady has asked has nothing to do with me and it contains no fact. It is purely part of her campaign to discredit honourable people, including a very honourable member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office whom she attacked at the Labour party conference, who cannot answer for himself and about whom she and her hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin) have made disgraceful allegations which are untrue.

Mrs. Clwyd


Mr. Speaker