HC Deb 04 December 1991 vol 200 cc150-1W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action is currently being undertaken by his Department to ensure that projects and adjustments supported by the World bank, the International Monetary Fund and aid programmes are beneficial to(a) the poorest people and (b) the environment.

Mrs. Chalker

I explained the Government's policy on "Aid and Poverty" in a speech under that title to the all-party group on overseas development on 15 May; a copy is in the Library of the House. The actions we have taken to ensure that our aid programme benefits the environment are set out in part II of the "The Common Inheritance: the First-year Report", Cm. 1655.

We support the World bank's strategy on poverty alleviation which is described in detail in its 1991 annual report—also in the Library. I am about to write to all right hon. and hon. Members about the bank's forest policy. We continue to encourage the International Monetary Fund to pay increasing attention to the needs of vulnerable groups and to environmental considerations when designing economic reform programmes.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the present figure for official aid, the amount that would meet the United Nations target and the compound rate of growth needed, assuming no economic growth, to reach the target in(a) five or (b) 10 years.

Mrs. Chalker

Performance against the United Nations target for net official development assistance as a proportion of GNP is measured by calendar year. The latest such United Kingdom figure is £1,485 million for 1990. To have met the United Nations target, £3,798 million would have been required in 1990. Assuming our GNP for 1990 were to remain constant in cash terms, a compound rate of growth of 20.7 per cent. would be necessary to reach the United Nations target within five years, or 9.8 per cent. if it were to be reached in 10 years.