HC Deb 25 April 2001 vol 367 cc294-5
4. Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)

When she will next meet the Development Committee of the European Parliament to discuss the World Bank's business partnership for development. [157646]

The Secretary of State for International Development (Clare Short)

We have met on a number of occasions with the European Parliament development committee to try to encourage stronger support for the reform of EC development efforts. In particular, we need to change EC financial regulations so that the Commission is able to collaborate with other international development institutions without first undertaking an audit. It seems fairly shocking that the EC of all bodies audits all other international organisations, whose performance is probably rather better, before it gives any money through them.

Mr. Sheerman

My right hon. Friend is aware of the excellent support given by her Department to the World Bank's new business partnership for development, and the great success that many such projects are having, including the one that I will chair from June this year. As my right hon. Friend knows, by 2010 6 million people in the developing world will die not of AIDS, but because of traffic accidents, and 60 million will be seriously injured. I hope that she will speak straightforwardly to the European Parliament and the European Commission so that they can play an active part in supporting those innovations to stop such unnecessary loss of life and serious injury, and do that in partnership with business.

Clare Short

I congratulate my hon. Friend on being selected as chair of the global road safety partnership. He is right: 10 million people a year throughout the world are badly injured in road accidents, 70 per cent. of them in developing countries. In developing countries, that does not mean just disability; it often throws families into poverty. It is an issue that we need to take more seriously. Numbers will rise and we must all co-operate with the important World Bank work. I wish my hon. Friend well with his efforts.

Mr. Nicholas Soames (Mid-Sussex)

Does the right hon. Lady nevertheless agree that the World Bank partnerships are extremely valuable, and that they deserve support, commitment and, above all, time to be made to work?

Clare Short

I agree very much with the hon. Gentleman. All such partnerships are about working with the private sector to promote development—for example, water, sanitation and better transport systems. The public sector cannot afford what the developing world needs in all those areas, but with collaboration, proper regulation and help with feasibility studies, we can get much greater investment into developing countries and improve people's lives. Such ways of working are helping to produce results.

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