HL Deb 12 January 2005 vol 668 cc17-8WS
The Lord President of the Council

(Baroness Amos): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Mr Hilary Benn) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have placed in the Libraries of both Houses copies of a new paper entitled Why we need to work more effectively in fragile states published by the Department for International Development (DfID).

Fragile states—where governments cannot or will not deliver security or basic services to the majority of its people—are one of the biggest challenges to the achievement of the millennium development goals and to global stability and security. Fragile states include countries with weak governance, those affected by conflict and those on the brink of conflict. It is often difficult to ensure that aid is delivered effectively in these countries, and there is a pressing need for the international community to reach agreement on new policies and ways of working to tackle these challenges.

The policy paper sets out how the Government will work in fragile states, by: reviewing the way we allocate aid; having more long-term planning and more realistic expectations; developing better early warning systems; bringing together the policies of UK government departments; using more regional programming to address the causes of weakness; increasing aid and making more use of civil society organisations to deliver it; and making more effort to co-ordinate with other donors.

The implementation of these approaches will need collaboration across UK government departments, and internationally, a partnership with developing country governments (wherever we can), international agencies and donors, civil society, the private sector and the research community. As a first step, DfID will this week host a senior level forum on development effectiveness in fragile states to secure agreement between major bilateral and multilateral donors on how to provide better aid to fragile states.