HC Deb 03 March 1999 vol 326 c749W
Miss Geraldine Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with non-Governmental organisations about the relief of developing countries' debt. [74030]

Clare Short

In February, I met the directors of the voluntary organisations which comprise the British Overseas Aid Group (BOAG)—ActionAid, Oxfam, the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Christian Aid and Save the Children Fund—to discuss debt. In December, I also met BOND, which represents the smaller NGOs. We agreed that poverty reduction remains our central concern, and that we need to develop and strengthen the link between debt relief and poverty reduction. The UK is pressing for this issue to be considered during the fundamental review of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which is now underway. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are holding a consultation meeting, including NGOs, in London on 5 March.