HC Deb 15 October 2002 vol 390 cc592-3W
Mrs. Irene Adams

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what progress was made on tackling global poverty at the recent G8 summit; [73665]

(2) what progress is being made through the World Bank and the IMF in tackling (a) global poverty and (b) land reform in developing countries. [73662]

John Healey

At the G8 Summit, in June, progress was made towards a more coherent approach to tackling global poverty. In particular, members welcomed the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The G8 undertook to establish enhanced partnerships with African countries whose performance reflects the NEPAD commitments. This will focus efforts on countries that demonstrate a political and financial commitment to good governance and the rule of law, investing in their people, and pursuing policies that spur economic growth and alleviate poverty. The G8 will match African countries' commitment by promoting peace and security in Africa, boosting expertise and capacity, encouraging trade and direct growth-oriented investment, and providing more effective official development assistance. In addition, the G7 agreed in June to contribute their share of an extra $1 billion to finance the shortfall in the HIPC initiative.

At the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in September, further progress was made. In particular, the IMF reaffirmed its role in helping poor countries address the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by supporting economic reforms aimed at accelerating growth and reducing poverty. The Fund recognised that there may be a need to consider mobilising new resources if high demand for concessional financing continues, and stressed the importance of sound macroeconomic frameworks that can respond flexibly to changes in the external environment; identifying ways to encourage higher and sustainable growth; good governance; improving public expenditure and financial management systems; and using poverty and social impact analysis more systematically, and building country capacity in this area. In addition, the Bank and Fund reaffirmed the commitment to implement the HIPC initiative and finance it fully to help countries overcome the burden of unsustainable debt.

At the Development Committee meeting of the World Bank, commitments were made towards better coordination and cooperation amongst development partners and by effective alignment of donor support with country strategies. Members recognised the need for more intensified efforts to harmonise operational policies and procedures of bilateral and multilateral agencies, at both institutional and country levels, to enhance aid effectiveness and promote greater ownership by developing countries. The Bank and other donors committed to further action in streamlining their policies, procedures and requirements over the period leading to the high-level forum scheduled in Rome in February 2003 and beyond. Members also requested the Bank and Fund to report back to them at next year's Spring Meetings on pragmatic and innovative ways to enhance the participation of developing countries in international institutions, and thereby to strengthen international dialogue.

Improving tenure security and access to land through appropriate land reform is a key element of the World Bank's Rural Development Strategy. Secure tenure and shelter for the poor are also important components of the Bank's urban programmes. The Bank is supporting land reforms in Latin America; throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union; and in Asia, efforts appear to have been generally most effective in relation to poverty reduction. The Bank is preparing to re-engage with land reform in Africa (Ghana, Malawi, Niger, South Africa and Uganda).

The Department for International Development (DFID) is actively engaged with the World Bank in Africa to improve the effectiveness of Bank operations in land reform. In the other regions DFID seeks to support and improve the impact of World Bank interventions at policy level and through complementary support to development partners. The Bank is in the final stages of completing a major review of its work on land reform, to be captured in a Policy Research Report. DFID have contributed to the process, seeking to strengthen the linkage of Bank lending for land reform with improved livelihood opportunities for the poor and with nationally owned poverty reduction strategies.

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