HC Deb 18 March 1998 vol 308 c650W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps the World Bank is taking to ensure that the computer systems with which it is engaged are millennium compliant. [33860]

Clare Short

I have been asked to reply.

The World Bank is actively promoting the need for millennium compliance and organising guidance for its client countries. Bank Country Directors have been charged with approaching senior country officials to raise awareness of the issue. Countries are being urged to designate executive sponsors and to identify a specific agency and staff to be responsible for carrying forward their own work and for relating to international donors. The Bank has also instructed staff to investigate compliance on current projects and to ensure requirements on compliance are included in future contracts.

The Bank's aim is to put tools into the hands of developing country governments to enable them to identify the problem, to prioritise systems, and to protect those systems which are key to the economy and public order and well-being. It has initiated a project to develop a toolkit for review and prioritisation systems. It also proposes to catalogue all the types of assistance available from IT companies. It plans to roll out a series of seminars through developing countries to raise awareness of the issues and these facilities.

We have contributed £10 million to the Bank's trust fund for information development in order to promote and support new bank authorities.

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