§ Sir Alastair Goodlad
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what changes to the policy information marker system her Department is putting into effect in the current financial year. 
§ Mr. Foulkes
The Policy Information Marker System (PIMS) has been used since 1993 to track the targeting of bilateral commitments and expenditure on priority policy objectives of the aid programme.
PIMS was reviewed at the end of 1997 following the publication of the White Paper on International Development. It was agreed that the system needed to be revised to reflect better the Department for International Development's (DFID) new agenda and Statement of 43W Purpose. This has been achieved through the introduction of a three-tiered approach whereby projects and programmes are marked against DFID's aim of poverty elimination (Poverty Aim Marker); DFID's three new Objectives (Policy Objective Marker); sub-elements of the Objectives, other policy areas and international reporting requirements (new PIMS markers of which there are now 33).
The former Direct Assistance to Poor People marker has been replaced by the over-arching Poverty Aim Marker (PAM) to address the aim in DFID's Statement of Purpose, considering both "direct" and "indirect" means of assisting poverty elimination. The PAM has three categories:Enabling—actions which are necessary to establish or strengthen the preconditions for poverty reduction and eliminationInclusive—broad based actions which will improve conditions and services generally, and also address issues of equity and barriers to participation of poor peopleFocused—actions which will bring benefits predominantly to poor people and specifically improve their conditions and remove barriers to their participation.
The Policy Objective Marker allows commitments and expenditure to be scored against the ONE Objective which they primarily target such that they sum to 100 per cent. of the total.
The PIMS marker set has been extended to cover all of the White Paper sub-objectives (20 markers), other important and cross-cutting policy areas (8 markers) and the Rio reporting requirements (5 markers).
The new system came into effect on 1 April 1998.
Further details and full guidance on using the system are given in the PIMS Pink Book, a copy of which will be sent to the right hon. Gentleman.