HC Deb 14 March 2001 vol 364 cc1010-1
6. Helen Jackson (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

What levels of support her Department is giving to projects that support better environmental education. [152214]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. Chris Mullin)

The links between environment and poverty are clear. Better environmental education in schools and civil society, in developed and developing countries are vital to the elimination of poverty. We are placing in inventory of our environmental education projects, worth approximately £11.8 million over the past 4 years, in the Library.

We are currently reviewing ways in which to strengthen that work and make it more relevant to helping poor people to improve their livelihoods sustainably.

Helen Jackson

I thank my hon. Friend for that helpful answer. I welcome his translation from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to the Department for International Development. I hope that he will bring his environmental interests with him. Does he agree that some of the big issues that face the world in this century are environmental? They include deforestation, soil and water pollution and the startling decrease in species of animal, bird and insect. Will the Department examine such considerations before determining funding on any projects?

Mr. Mullin

I thank my hon. Friend for her kind words. We assess the environmental impact of every project, and sustainable development is at the heart of all the Department's actions. Environmental aid and development go hand in hand. We will not make progress on protecting the environment unless we tackle the development needs of the poor; we will not make further progress on poverty reduction unless we safeguard the natural resources on which poor people depend for their livelihoods. The environment and poverty are not separate issues; they go together.

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