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Disaster Relief (Co-Ordination)

Volume 884: debated on Monday 13 January 1975

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asked the Minister of Overseas Development, in view of the fact that NATO wishes to undertake the co-ordination between donor nations in the area of distribution of supplies for the purposes of disaster relief, if Her Majesty's Government will now support the majority of the developed countries concerned in their view that NATO should be assigned this rôle.

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary that although NATO has long-standing arrangements to assist in natural disasters primarily within the NATO area it has not expressed any wish to undertake the co-ordination of the distribution of supplies made available by members of NATO for disaster relief generally.The co-ordination of donor responses in respect of disasters in developing countries is an area in which we believe a suitably strengthened United Nations Disaster Relief Office has an important rôle to play, and we have joined with other Governments in sponsoring a resolution proposing action to this end in the United Nations General Assembly.