HC Deb 28 July 1997 vol 299 c56W
Mr. Dafis

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what priority will be accorded to sustainable development in the forthcoming White Paper on international development. [10239]

Clare Short

Sustainable development will be at the heart of the forthcoming White Paper. My Department's principal aim is to contribute to the elimination of poverty in poorer countries. We intend to work to enable poor people to realise their rights to human development and achieve sustained improvements in their living standards. This will involve promoting sustainable economic growth, access to essential social services and protection of the global and national environment. A key part of our agenda will be to seek greater policy coherence in our approach to developing countries, both within the UK and with international development partners.

The White Paper will also reflect the Government's commitment to the targets contained in the report of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, "Shaping the 21st Century". These include the target that every country should have a current national strategy for sustainable development in the process of implementation by 2005, so as to ensure that current trends in the loss of environmental resources are effectively reversed at both global and national levels by 2015. At the UN General Assembly special session in New York last month, it was agreed that all countries should have sustainable strategies in place by 2002. We regard these targets as compatible and my Department hopes to work in partnership with developing countries on the preparation of such plans.