HL Deb 29 January 1996 vol 568 c1228

2.52 p.m.

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are their intentions concerning the replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA).

Lord Chesham

My Lords, we are working closely with other donors to ensure an early and satisfactory outcome to the negotiations on the 11th replenishment of the International Development Association.

Lord Redesdale

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that reply. Will he give an assurance that there will be no pro rata reduction in Britain's commitment to IDA 10 in line with the cut in America's contributions?

Lord Chesham

My Lords, I can confirm that there will be no cut in the British contribution to IDA 10. What we are now discussing is IDA 11 and the interim arrangements to be made until we find out what is coming from the USA in particular.

Lord Rea

My Lords, will the noble Lord confirm that if the cuts that the USA has made in IDA 10 were to be applied to IDA 11, the world would be 6 billion dollars short compared to what it has had in the past? Would that not be a disaster, considering the additional needs of credit-hungry countries from the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, not to mention the on-going needs in sub-Saharan Africa? Will the Government assure us that, as the noble Lord hinted, urgent discussions will be arranged with other countries, especially other members of the EU, to ensure that that dangerous shortfall does not occur?

Lord Chesham

My Lords, we cannot at this stage comment upon what the USA's commitments will he. President Clinton has expressed strong backing for IDA, but funding is caught up in the current impasse in the fiscal 1996 budget negotiations. However, other donors, the UK included, are working to ensure that those difficulties do not disrupt IDA's operations which are vital to so many of the poorest countries.