HC Deb 10 December 1991 vol 200 cc386-7W
Mr. Summerson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the proposals for collaboration with Brazil over the conservation of the Amazon rain forest since the London economic summit.

Mrs. Chalker

Since the London economic summit the Government of Brazil with the assistance of the World bank and the European Commission have further developed their proposals for a pilot programme to conserve the Brazilian tropical rain forest. These proposals were discussed at a meeting in Geneva on 7 and 8 December between representatives of the Government or Brazil, the World bank, the European Commission, the G7 countries and some other potential donors.

The British Government indicated their general approval of the revised programme and, as part of the broader G7 contributions, undertook to make available up to £18.8 million to the end of 1994. This is in addition to our share of the commitment of $15 million made by the European Commission on behalf of the Community. The British commitment is subject to the production by the World bank of detailed operational arrangements acceptable to the donors. These must provide for satisfactory co-ordination of activities in the overall programme and arrangements to assure good quality projects.

The British Government are making the second largest contribution, after Germany, to the $250 million pledged in total at the Geneva meeting. The funds will be used to promote sustainable development of the living standards of the people of the Amazon within the context of environmental conservation. Activities will include measures to safeguard biodiversity; demarcate and protect national parks, reserves and indigenous areas; strengthen both federal and state environmental agencies; promote the sustainable exploitation of forest resources; support scientific research and disseminate its results; promote environmental surveillance and monitoring; support ecological zoning; develop environmental education; and support innovative, community-based initiatives concerned with the relationship between the environment and local communities.

The Government of Brazil representatives expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the discussions at Geneva.