HC Deb 16 December 1998 vol 322 c949
1. Mr. Michael Jack (Fylde)

In what ways she proposes to change the format of her Department's annual report to reflect the effect of conflict on the problems of less-developed countries; and when she plans to publish it. [62742]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. George Foulkes)

Preventing and reducing conflict, and responding to emergency and humanitarian needs, are important aspects of our Department's work. There will be a substantial section dealing with those issues in this year's departmental report, which will be published in the spring.

Mr. Jack

I am delighted that the Minister has confirmed that he will do rather better than this year's report, where only five out of 201 paragraphs deal with the subject of conflict. The Secretary of State, in the House and outside, has rightly drawn the public's attention to the damage that conflict can do to the effectiveness of our overseas aid programme. Will the Minister consider heading up the title "An Audit of Conflict" and use it effectively as an audit to deal with the victims—who are in many cases the subject of human rights difficulties—so that we may learn more about those problems, within nations and outside?

Mr. Foulkes

I understand why the right hon. Gentleman was not fully satisfied with the format of the first report, because we followed the pattern used by the previous Government. We are able to improve and develop on that and, in doing so, we will certainly take account of his helpful suggestion.

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