HC Deb 16 July 1997 vol 298 cc191-2W
Mr. Goodlad

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid programmes for Cambodia are currently in place; and what are her future plans for aid to Cambodia. [8699]

Clare Short

[holding answer 15 July 1997]: Under our bilateral development programme, which will be worth some £3 million in 1997–98, we are supporting projects in health, education, urban poverty and landmine clearance.

In health, we are financing four projects designed to improve Cambodian capacity to deliver basic health services to poorer people, improve reproductive health especially for women, reduce malaria and slow the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. In education, we are helping to improve the teaching of English in secondary schools and funding the preparation of a master plan for teacher training. In urban poverty, we are funding a UN project designed to improve physical and social conditions for poor people in Phnom Penh. We are also contributing with other donors to a UN Trust Fund which finances landmine clearance.

In addition, under our Joint Funding Scheme, we are helping to finance the programmes of a number of British Non-Governmental Organisations involved in areas such as health, community development, landmine clearance and support for landmine victims.

We are obviously concerned by recent events in Cambodia and will be monitoring the situation there closely through the British Embassy. The FCO has advised UK nationals to leave Cambodia, but our understanding is that most UK aid staff intend to stay. Given that our programme is designed to help poorer people in Cambodia, we propose to maintain it.

As the UK delegation at the recent Cambodia Consultative Group meeting in Paris made clear, future commitments of government to government assistance will depend not only on political stability, but also on the Cambodian Government's performance on the rule of law, transparent financial management and forestry policy. A key factor will be progress towards free and fair democratic elections scheduled for 1998.