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United Nations (Contributions)

Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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48.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what were the annual contributions made by Her Majesty's Government to the United Nations international children's emergency fund and the United National refugee programme, respectively, in the years 1974 to 1979; and what contribution is to be made in the current year.

Subject to parliamentary approval, in 1980 Her Majesty's Government will contribute £4·3 million and £5 million to the regular programmes of the United Nations international children's emergency fund and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees respectively.

Tables of contributions in the years 1974 to 1979, together with those to special appears and special projects of the two agencies, will, with permission, be published in the Official Report.

Bearing in mind the extreme poverty and social distress under which millions of people are living is the Minister satisfied that he is bringing to bear on that problem the vision and idealism that it deserves if we are to honour our obligations and commitments? Will the hon. Gentleman accept that it is a great shame to talk of cuts in the allocation to UNICEF, for instance? Will he take steps to increase the allocations so that we, may be proud to be British and continue our commitment to deprived people throughout the world?

It is not for me to say whether I have the idealism. That is for others. With regard to our UNICEF contribution, 1979 was an exceptional year, and our contribution was in support of the international year of the child, organised by UNICEF. In 1978, we gave £4·5 million, and the figure for 1980 is £4·3 million. That is a slight reduction, but it is not a figure of which we need be ashamed. As a nation we should be proud of what we do for developing countries.

Will my hon. Friend press the United Nations to give more support to Thailand, which at present has a particular problem with Cambodian refugees?

Certainly I shall. However, we are already giving considerable aid to Thailand and Cambodia to help with the refugee problem.

Following is the information :

CONTRIBUTIONS BY HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT TO UNICEF

Regular programme

Special appeals and specific projects

£ million£ million
19741·3000·520
19752·0001·025
19762·300Nil
19773·3000·790
19784·5001·192
19795·8001·600

CONTRIBUTIONS BY HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT TO UNHCR

Reqular programme

Special appeals

£ million£ million
19740·360·53
19750·331·14
19760·400·35
19770·860·25
19782·344·83*
19796·001·63*

* Unaudited.

The European Community also makes significant contribution to UNHCR's regular programme and special appeals, parts of which are provided from United Kingdom subscriptions to Community resources.