HC Deb 29 April 1998 vol 311 cc157-8W
Miss McIntosh

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on assistance given by her Department to Indonesia. [40183]

Clare Short

Shortly after we took office, I reviewed our programme in Indonesia and decided that, in future, we would provide support for sustainable forestry management with an increased emphasis on benefits to poor people living in forest areas. In addition, we are working with the International Labour Organisation to develop a programme of support to trade unions. In East Timor, we are supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross's water and sanitation programme, and the preparation of a programme to develop the capacity of local community organisations.

Since the crisis, we have supported World Bank efforts to mitigate the damage to poor people. Our normal practice is to provide food aid through international agencies. A World Food Programme mission has recently returned and we are ready to provide help if needed. But food aid can undermine local production and it is preferable that implementation of IMF reforms enables the country to afford food imports.

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