HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 c150W
Mr. Anthony D. Wright

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the annual report of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy will be available. [93582]

Mr. Tony Lloyd

Copies of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy's annual report for 1998–99 will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses this week.

The foundation makes a valuable contribution to the promotion of democracy overseas. Its activities include providing assistance to political parties, parliaments, the independent media, trade unions, human rights groups, women's groups and other non-governmental organisations involved in political development.

In 1998–99, the foundation received £3,168,815 from the FCO, along with £211,256 from corporate and charity sources. With these funds it supported 274 new projects and managed another 223. It directed most of its funds to supporting democratic institutions in its priority areas, which are: Central and Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Anglophone Africa. It also supported worthwhile projects in other parts of the world, such as South East Asia and the Middle-East.

In particular, the foundation initiated three important technical assistance projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria and Indonesia, all of which are undergoing crucial transition processes towards fair and free democracy. The foundation can also pride itself on groundbreaking work in Qatar in the lead up to their Central Municipal Council elections, where women were given the vote and allowed to stand as candidates for the first time ever in the Gulf states. Most recently, the foundation has been preparing the ground to initiate projects in Kosovo, if and when this is appropriate.