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Aid And The Environment

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 26 June 1990

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7.14 pm

I beg to move,

That this House condemns the Government for its lack of commitment to solving the environmental problems of developing countries; deplores the totally inadequate level of British aid, which has fallen to 0.31 per cent of gross national product, less than half the United Nation's target of 0.7 per cent. to which Britain remains officially committed; and believes that, as a result, this Government is unable to make an adequate contribution to tackling the immense environmental problems facing developing countries.
"The environment is, without question, central to all our aid programmes in the 1990s … And of course, there are global environmental problems. We are all now familiar with the threats to the planet of global warming, holes in the ozone layer and the loss of bio-diversity."
Those are not my words, but those of the Minister for Overseas Development, in what I shall call from now on her "green glossy". Given the Minister's enthusiasm for the subject, I am disappointed that the Opposition, not the Government, have initiated the debate. I accept, however, as the Minister rightly said last week, that she has been in the job only since July. Others in that position had the opportunity to initiate such a debate before now.

It is quite appalling that, since the publication of the Brundtland report, which looked at the critical environmental and development problems of the planet in 1987, there has not been one debate in the House, so far as I can discover, on sustainable development or the international environment. The eminent economist Barbara Ward wrote:

"The door of the future is opening onto a crisis more sudden, more global, more inescapable, more bewildering than any ever encountered by the human species. And one which will take decisive shape within the life span of children who are already born."
She wrote that in 1971. How much more urgent is that warning now.

In industrial countries, we have made much progress in cleaning up the air in our cities and some progress in cleaning up our seas and rivers. We have replanted large parts of our land with trees, cleared much industrial dereliction and controlled our population growth. In turn, we have been faced with new problems which require world-wide solutions.

As well as the basic problems associated with poverty and agricultural society, developing countries also have to cope with pollution of air and water caused by industrialisation. Now, their aid donors, creditors and trading partners are telling them that they must deal with the gobal environmental problems that our advanced industrialised societies have created.

We have heard much from the Overseas Development Administration about projects for the rain forest, bio-diversity and global warming. But millions of poor people overseas worry about more mundane everyday problems such as the lack of clean drinking water for 1.3 billion people and the lack of sanitation for 1.7 billion people, which is responsible for 25,000 deaths every day and 80 per cent. of world disease. That is the environmental crisis that they face today.

Deforestation in arid, not tropical, areas has been a major problem for years. Women in Africa spend hours every day hunting for fuel wood. Some 2 billion to 3 billion people face the exhaustion of fuel wood stocks, but only when deforestation became a problem for the atmosphere and not just for the poor did the world sit up and take note. When the environmental problems are those of the poor, not ours, the Government and the ODA seem much less concerned to be green.

I wish to talk about the looming global environmental crisis, but first I want to know what the ODA is doing about the local and national environmental problems faced by developing countries. The poor are the first to suffer when their environment is degraded. They depend on the land, water, forests and crops for their survival. For too many years, policy makers and development planners—those who have control over natural resources and money for investment in conservation—have ignored the environment. In many cases, the effects of that are irreversible and the long-term costs are astronomical.

In Ethiopia, forests which covered 25 per cent. of the country in 1940 have all but disappeared. Now, only 3 per cent. of the land is forested. As a result, the best soil for farming, up in the highlands, has been eroded. Rough calculations estimate that that loss of soil and plant nutrients has reduced Ethiopia's agricultural output by at least 1 million tonnes of food each year. That is equivalent to two thirds of all relief food shipped to Ethiopia in 1985.

As trees disappear, so do sources of firewood, and instead of using cattle dung to fertilise the soil, farmers use it as a fuel for cooking. The loss of soil fertiliser has further reduced the amount of crops grown by $600 million each year. Early prevention would have paid for itself many times over. To replant trees to stop soil erosion would have cost just $50 million per year if it had been done in time.

We have not given a penny of development aid to Ethiopia. Instead, in 1985 the world spent about $500 million on food for famine relief. As the Minister must know, caring about preserving the environment involves short-term costs but long-term savings. The question is not whether we can afford to do it immediately, but whether we can afford not to do it immediately.

Where is the money to come from? There is no sign of any additional Government money to invest in the environment. All the ODA's much trumpeted green projects are being paid for out of a stagnant and pitifully low aid budget. In promising to put more into green projects, is the Minister suggesting that we should transfer funds from immunisation programmes in Africa to forestry in Latin America? That is no way to respond to the enormous environmental challenge. By refusing to commit additional funds to international environment protection, the Government are refusing to invest in future generations.

How can the hon. Lady say that the British aid programme is stagnant when the increase year on year was 17 per cent. in cash terms, which is obviously an increase in real terms as well?

I think that I have encountered the hon. Gentleman on a previous similar occasion. I shall continue to illustrate my point and answer his question.

Last November at the United Nations the Prime Minister called for a vast international co-operative effort to save the global environment. The Prime Minister has presided over historic cuts in British aid and has seen Britain sink from the second largest to the second smallest Group of Seven aid donor. She is responsible for the current miserable level of aid—just 0·31 per cent. of GNP, which is less than half the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent. of GNP. How can she have the brass neck to talk of a vast international co-operative effort?

The aid budget is increasing in nominal terms, but in real terms the increase is tiny. According to the Government's own optimistic forecasts of underlying inflation, even excluding the inflationary effect of the poll tax as published in the Budget report, the increase between this financial year and next is just 1·1 per cent. in real terms. Between 1991 and 1992 and between 1992 and 1993 it will be just 0·6 per cent. A 1·7 per cent. increase between now and 1993 is scarcely progress towards meeting our international commitments.

Just a few weeks ago, the Government signed the ministerial declaration which resulted from the Bergen conference. That declaration called on donors, in addition to present development assistance, to support programmes to increase the flow of capital and environmentally sound technology to developing and east European countries. When do the Government plan to fulfil that pledge? Funds have been cut from the ODA's scientific section which has the experts to deal with environmental issues. Staffing levels at the National Resources Institute have been cut from 561 in 1979 to 311 in 1989 and its funding has been slashed from £11·4 million to £5·7 million in 1989.

Is the aid programme really green? We have heard much from the ODA about the greening of the aid programme and read about many fine examples in the green glossy brochure. It says that the ODA is extremely wary about financing projects which would cause irreversible environmental damage. It says that all projects are screened for social and environmental costs and that there is careful planning, design and attention to detail so as to minimise adverse environmental effects.

Let us look at the reality, at what others say about our aid. The National Audit Office examined British aid to India. Its report, which was published in January, flatly contradicts the claims in the green glossy brochure. Since 1980, 10 per cent. of Britain's entire bilateral aid has gone to India. Only one tenth of that was targeted at the poor, and less than that went to renewable natural resources. Of the so-called aid, 83 per cent. went into power, telecommunications, energy and mining. United Kingdom Government subsidies disguised as aid went to United Kingdom firms which then proceeded to devastate parts of India.

The report severely criticised the £120 million of aid that was given to build the Rihand power station and the £30 million given to fuel the Amlorhi opencast coal mine. The Rihand cluster of 15 power stations will be the largest concentration of power stations in the world. The £120 million was the largest aid grant that the ODA has ever made, yet it did not commission an environmental impact assessment. It did not know the specifications for the power station or its intended location.

The result has been an environmental disaster. Some 10,000 tonnes of ash slurry containing toxic trace elements and potentially cancer-causing compounds have seeped into the local reservoir where fish have already been killed by thermal pollution. It is feared that air pollution will rise to 10 to 40 times the Government standards. Acid rain is already falling in the industrial belts of India. The Amlorhi coal mine has led to violence with displaced villagers, and land and forest reclamation requirements have simply been ignored.

How could those things happen in the face of the ODA's environmental concerns? The National Audit Office found that the ODA was under immense pressure from the Department of Trade and Industry rapidly to complete its appraisal. It appears that the Department of Trade and Industry organised the bids first. The National Audit Office report states:

"In January 1981 the Department asked the administration to provide an aid pledge to support their proposals. The aid was used to buy the contract. The project arose apparently under the personal initiative of the Prime Minister, reportedly without competition."
Northern Engineering Industries were invited by the DTI to submit proposals which, the Financial Times reported, would almost certainly not have been accepted by India without the subsidy. Research shows that in 1981 NEI made the largest recorded donation of £40,000 to a Conservative party funding organisation, the Northern Industrialists Protection Association. In 1980 NEI gave £12,500 and in each of the years between 1982 and 1989 it gave £45,000. It is estimated that Rikhand was worth £300 million to NEI.

That is just one of the many examples of the abuse of British aid to subsidise British firms that are perceived to be friendly to the Conservative party. GEC provided turbines for Rikhand and it gave £50,000 to the Conservative party in 1980 and again in 1988. Another Conservative favourite, Babcocks, supplied the grinding mills. It gave a Tory front organisation, the City and Industrial Liaison Council, £7,500 between 1982 and 1985 and £10,000 in 1986. Other examples of the environmental damage caused by the inappropriate use of British aid are well documented in the NAO report.

Under the Government the aid-trade provision has been so discredited that the only solution is to scrap it. Instead of being the solution that it was intended to be, it has become part of the problem that the poor of the developing world have to pay for daily.

There is certainly great scope for energy efficiency in developing countries, but with the right hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) holding the purse strings and a few British companies calling the tune, it is nonsensical to expect a genuine switch from energy generation projects to energy conservation. Saving energy by efficiency is simply not in the interests of GEC or NEI.

The most disgraceful omission for an agency concerned with development is to ignore the devastating effect of poverty. As the report of the Brundtland commission says:
"poverty is a major cause and effect of global environmental problems. It is therefore futile to attempt to deal with environmental problems without a broader perspective that encompasses the factors underlying world poverty and international inequality."
The Government are doing exactly what the Brundtland commission said was futile.

It should be self-evident that the poor cannot concern themselves with environmental destruction when their day-to-day survival is at stake. They do not have sufficient land to let it lie fallow. They have no choice but to continue using it until it is exhausted. If cutting down trees brings immediate and desperately needed cash, or if they need wood today for cooking the family food, thinking about preserving trees for their children and their children's children has to be low indeed in their list of priorities.

I am following carefully what the hon. Lady says, but will she concentrate a little on the relationship between cutting down trees to provide fuel for cooking and the provision of an alternative such as cheap electric power?

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I shall be coming to those points. Anyone who has been to Ethiopia and seen the problems that face people there in trying to find fuel for their fires will know how vital is the United Nations' development programme in trying to encourage people to use stoves which save fuel instead of using the present massive amounts.

No. This is a short debate and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to speak later.

As Minister of Overseas Development, the right hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Patten) recognised the importance of poverty when, in 1988, he said:

"Poverty is the most toxic effect on the environment."
Yet current ODA policy does not seem to recognise the environmental problems caused by poverty. On page 8 of the green glossy, the ODA lists the number of causes of environmental degradation. It does not mention poverty. Far from reaching the poor, the Government have used aid to back up IMF and World bank structural adjustment, which in many cases has made the lot of the poor worse. Too much of our aid promotes the interests of a few British companies, not the world's poor.

Given the chance, local people will care for their environment, but they need the rich to give them that chance. If they know that they can feed themselves without over-cropping, over-grazing, or over-chopping the trees, and if they know that they will benefit from environmental investments, they will, but they need that assurance. If they know that their children will survive into adulthood and will be able to support the family, they may well have fewer children, but until they can be sure, there is little chance of reducing population growth.

In many cases, it is the women who have responsibility for the trees, the crops and the water. Donors must ensure that women have sufficient power and economic security to protect those resources, but so often development planners have taken traditional land rights away from women in attempts to legalise and clarify the rights of men or of the state.

Local people may also need training in how best to manage their resources, but male experts rarely reach women. Can the Minister explain why not one of the ODA's agriculture specialists working overseas is a woman?

The key to the argument which the hon. Lady has not yet mentioned, but perhaps will, is family planning. The Government have done a great deal to try to reduce world population. Many of the international agencies have also done a great deal, and the Government have supported them in a big way. The hon. Lady has been speaking for 20 minutes but she has not mentioned family planning. Surely that is the key to the world problem.

The hon. Gentleman was so busy trying to intervene that he did not hear me talk about population. Unfortunately, I do not have time to deal with it in detail, except to make the point again that one of the keys to family planning is tackling the root causes of poverty. We shall never reduce world populations until we reduce the root causes of poverty. I did explain that.

The hon. Gentleman talks about financing that, and that is one of the challenges for us. Are we prepared to finance programmes that organisations such as the United Nations and others are attempting to promote in developing countries?

The ODA refers to participation, but what is it doing to review the effectiveness of existing procedures for involving local people and exploring new ideas? Has it considered not only expanding joint funding for more environmental projects, but directly supporting the work of southern NGOs through national consortia of voluntary groups in developing countries?

The Government are not only failing to address the local and national causes of environmental damage—they are also ignoring the international causes. Facing increased debt service obligations and falling commodity prices, developing countries have had no choice but to increase the pressure on their natural resources to earn more foreign exchange. As Brundtland points out, natural resources are not being used for development or to raise living standards, but to meet the financial requirements of industrialised creditors. Furthermore, the impoverishment caused by debt repayments has made environmental damage worse. Reductions in Government welfare, cuts in subsidies, increasing unemployment and inflation have. pushed the poor to exploit forests and waterways to make ends meet.

In effect,. for many developing countries, financial debts today are being translated into the environmental debts of tomorrow. But while financial debts can be written off by political decision makers, environmental debts are our legacy for future generations and, in many cases, are irreversible. As the Prince of Wales recently said,
"We have to find a way of doing something about the burden of international debt. I do not see how developing countries can be expected to achieve sustainable development and at the same time meet huge debt repayments."
Will the Minister therefore acknowledge that the current debt management strategy is inadequate, that substantial debt reduction is a necessary precondition for the restoration of growth, that until the poorest countries stop paying the rich $52 billion per year more than they receive, the best economic reforms will not spur growth?

The Government's response to the debt crisis has been pitiful. They have done little to encourage commercial banks to reduce debts, even though they have all insured themselves against the worst losses. The Brady plan and the Toronto agreement are clearly inadequate to deal with the problems of the middle and low income debtors, but, sadly, the Government have lacked the vision and commitment to pursue new ideas.

If the Government are serious about pursuing sustainable development plans, will the Minister inform the House what initiatives the Government will take significantly to reduce third world debt? Will she also explain how she expects developing countries to preserve their resources when the trading system established by the north encourages the exploitation of natural resources? With the price of primary commodities down to historic lows, developing countries either have to sell more of them to earn the same amount, or they have to sell different processed goods. Protectionism in the north prevents them exporting goods to us, so the only option is to increase their exports of primary commodities.

The Government have opposed measures to ensure that developing countries receive a fair price for their commodity exports and have done nothing to reduce barriers against processed goods. The Bergen ministerial declaration, to which the British Government are signatories, calls on the European Community and others to examine the links between environmental and trade policies. How do the Government intend to do that?

The Government's failure to tackle the causes of environmental destruction is reflected in their inability to deal with the problems confronting tropical forests. In 1989, 14,200 sq km of tropical forest were destroyed. The Government's main contribution has been to support and channel aid through the framework of the tropical forest action plan—a fatally flawed mechanism which has increased the rate of deforestation in some countries. The Government have been among the key supporters of that scheme and have only recently recognised the need for its reform.

I wish that the Minister would stop claiming that she called for a review of the TFAP in November 1989, when she clearly said:
"We strongly support the tropical forestry action plan. We are already helping it in 20 countries."
If the aim is to help foresters, the TFAP is doing its job, but if it is environmentally sustainable development, a plan that denies people land rights and does nothing to tackle poverty must be deemed a disastrous failure.

The Minister may say that the OECD development council has just passed a resolution calling for reform of the TFAP, but it does not once mention alleviating poverty. Given the devastating criticisms of the plan not only by environmental groups but by the Food and Agriculture Organisation's own independent review, will the Minister impose an immediate moratorium on support for the TFAP until a complete overhaul of its principles and practices has been undertaken?

As on all other issues, the Government refuse to deal with the effects of international trade. Currently, only 0·2 per cent. of hardwood imports are, it is said, sustainable. When will the Government act to control that trade? Far from regulating the timber trade, the Government handed it more power by supporting the International Tropical Timber Organisation. How can a body representing timber producers and users with a mandate to expand and diversify the tropical timber trade also conserve forests?

Deforestation not only threatens millions of forest dwellers by releasing stores of carbon dioxide and destroying untold millions of world species—it threatens us all. The Government's failure to confront global and environmental problems—tropical forests, global warming, and the destruction of the ozone layer—is an utter disgrace. Yet the need for international co-operation has never been greater.

Negotiations on the ozone layer are under way in London under the wing of the United Nations environment programme and are designed to strengthen the three-year-old Montreal protocol, which controls chemicals which attack the ozone layer. Even if every country supported that protocol, the damage to the ozone layer will increase by as much as another 14 per cent. by 2050. The same chemicals are partially responsible also for global warming. Countries such as India and China have yet to support the protocol. China plans to double the use of CFCs over the next five years, mainly in providing its people with more fridges, unless—here comes the rub—rich companies provide aid to help China pay for substitute chemicals which can cost five times as much. That concept also has India's support.

Developing countries cannot and will not afford the expense of replacing CFCs but it is hoped that this week's conference will reach agreement on a special fund to help third world countries.

No. I am trying to conclude my remarks in this very important debate. I gave way on a number of occasions earlier. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be able to make his own speech.

What commitment will the Government make to help developing countries meet the cost of phasing out CFCs? Will the Minister give an assurance that any such provision will be additional to existing aid budgets? The example of global co-operation that I mentioned is, one hopes, the prelude to a much tougher fight later over how to combat global warming. What will be the Government's attitude to sharing the cost of controlling carbon emissions, which will be significantly higher than the $6 billion estimated as the cost of switching from CFCs? Will there be a firm commitment in the forthcoming White Paper to new and substantial funds for developing countries, to help them tackle global and environmental problems?

Of all the world's citizens, the poorest are set to lose most from global warming. The arid areas of the world, particularly Africa, will suffer most from temperature rises, while the low-lying islands and deltas of Bangladesh, Vietnam and Egypt would be devastated by a rise in sea level. Those countries have least resources to help them adapt to massive changes. The majority of the world's poor still depend on agriculture, and they will be hardest hit. The timing and quantity of rainfall is vitally important in their lives but is likely to become less dependable. Rice, which is the staple diet of 60 per cent. of the world's population, is particularly vulnerable to high temperatures, droughts and floods. Changes in weeds and pests will also present problems.

Farmers in developing countries do not have the resources to experiment or to adapt to global warming, yet there is no sign that international agricultural research is focusing on the staple crops that those countries grow. If production falls, the poor will be in no position to import the food that they need. That is particularly true of Africa, where food production per head fell by 15 per cent. between 1970 and 1985. Nor can those farmers move elsewhere or switch to different livelihoods.

What will the ODA do to help developing countries take precautionary measures? The top priority is to commission and publish a report on the effects of global warming on developing countries and on strategies for adapting to it. The ODA must ensure that international agricultural research focuses on adapting the staple crops of the third world to hotter and dryer climates.

The United Kingdom is dragging its feet in tackling the cause of global warming, which is carbon emissions. We cannot lecture developing countries about changing their policies if we do not demonstrate a commitment to tackling our own policies. How can the leaders of developing countries persuade their people to forsake their hopes for electricity or cars because we say so when at the same time the United Kingdom is spending £13·3 billion on a new road building programme? Why is the ODA not speaking up about the enormous threat that global warming poses to developing countries, emphasising both to the British public and to decision makers in Whitehall the overwhelming importance of immediate preventive action?

If we do not make sacrifices today to prevent global warming, the global costs next century will be enormous. Keeping alive 68 million people displaced by rising seas in Bangladesh, Egypt, China and Vietnam will, even on the basis of their present miserly incomes, cost more than £14 billion every year. The United Kingdom's share of that, based on its share of gross national product, would be £840 million—half the value of the British aid programme.

Given that the number who will lose their agricultural livelihood as a consequence of a warmer climate rather than a rising sea will be even greater, the cost of coping with global warming could be staggering. The choice is clear: we can pay today, or pay more tomorrow.

Why does the ODA not stand up for the third world when sanctimonious westerners—the Prime Minister not excluded—try to pin the blame for global warming on wanton destruction, deforestation, and uncontrollable population growth in developing countries? It is true that of the 90 million people born this year, 85 million will be in the third world, but the remaining 5 million born into rich consumer societies will do as much ecological damage as the 85 million new poor.

The blame for today's damage lies squarely with the west. Nevertheless, developing countries play a crucial role because, as they strive to reach similar levels of affluence, they also risk reaching similar levels of pollution. The planet simply could not sustain that, so we have to step in to help them to develop differently. That will require funds and technology.

If developing countries are to grow without the environmental devastation that our own industrialisation has caused, we must enable them to jump over the technological hurdles, such as cleaning air and rivers, which took us decades to overcome. That means supplying the relevant technology, because they do not have it—for example, the technology to produce substitutes and to conserve and recycle existing CFCs. Modifying equipment will be almost entirely the monopoly of a few companies. If we leave it to the free market, multinationals will be able to exploit a small market overseas, but a major shift away from CFCs is needed.

What are the Government doing to examine the options for transferring technology to developing countries? Do they realise that refining our own cleaning technology is pointless unless developing countries change theirs? If China succeeds in providing fridges to every household by the end of the century, the CFC output will wipe out all the benefits of reductions under the Montreal protocol.

Clearly, the Government do not have the will to play a leading international role in protecting the world's environment. Last November, the Prime Minister's speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations was full of rhetoric about the United Kingdom's role in tackling global warming. The previous day, the Government had opposed proposals supported by a number of other Governments at the Netherlands conference to limit and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The United Kingdom refused to participate in the Hague conference—the world's first environmental summit—organised by France, Norway and the Netherlands in March last year. At Bergen, the Government failed to flesh out their words with clear policies, and failed to demonstrate to developing countries a serious commitment to dealing with our own environmental problems.

The United Kingdom should have been at the forefront, pressing for reforms. Instead, it is seeking to water down European goals to meet the United States' objectives. So long as the Prime Minister continues to give the fig leaf of respectability to the delaying tactics of the United States—the world's largest polluter—significant international progress to control carbon emissions will be stalled. The Government say that the United Kingdom played a constructive role, which was recognised by the conference as a whole, but where is the evidence of that recognition? How could we have played a leading role when we sent a junior Minister to work with senior Ministers and former Prime Ministers?

When Britain and other industrialised countries were developing their economies in the 19th and early 20th centuries, circumstances were easier than they are for third world countries today. No one told us, or the other industrialised countries, that we should not chop down forests or pollute the air. There was no talk of the ozone layer or the greenhouse effect. No one worried that industrialising Britain might damage people elsewhere.

As James Robertson, in his book "Future wealth—a new economics for the 21st century", points out:
"We should also remember that most of the industrialised countries drew capital for their own development from exploiting other countries, including the slave trade. This is a historical debt which remains to be repaid by the industrialised to the less developed countries."
As the cold war ends, the interdependence of all nations and peoples becomes even more apparent. We see the huge environmental problems facing eastern Europe and the absolute necessity for global action to meet the growing threats of world poverty and environmental degradation.

In "The Plague", Albert Camus suggests that in the face of what seems to be overwhelming, one must simply be guided by a sense that one does what one can. It is clear that the Government can do much more. With the end of the cold war there are surely resources which can be diverted from military spending—the peace dividend of £17 billion that the Minister of State for Defence Procurement, the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Clark) is said to have proposed so enthusiastically in a secret memorandum. Estimates show that it would cost £3 billion per year to stop the deserts spreading. The worldwide cost of converting to ozone-friendly substitutes would be £6 billion. What better investment could there be than saving not just ourselves but the world? The Government have the means, but do they have the will?

7.55 pm

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:

"notes the high quality of the Government's substantial and growing aid programme; commends the Government for its efforts to integrate environment concerns into all aspects of its assistance to developing countries to achieve sustainable development; and applauds its actions and proposals to help developing countries tackle both local and global environmental concerns."
Listening to the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) I begin to understand why some Australians refer to the British as whingeing Poms. If she were to be believed, we do little, too late and in the wrong way. Yet, the truth is the exact opposite. Government aid policy is to evaluate the need, identify how best to help and then to deliver what is appropriate.

The Opposition motion is a glowing example of what the Labour party is so good at: posturing. That is the last thing that the developing world wants or needs, if it and we are to tackle the degradation of our environment effectively. I do not doubt that that has to be done, but it has to be done with thought, care and with the co-operation of the recipient countries.

To talk of the Government's lack of commitment to solving the problems shows information blindness—or mix-up—which came through in the hon. Lady's speech and which was certainly unsurpassed by any of her prodecessors. The hon. Lady had only to read the recent booklet, "Environment and the British Aid Programme", to recognise the practical activity that is going on, which started so well under my predecessor. I noticed that she wished to be derisive about the booklet by calling it a "glossy green booklet".

I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman read further than the hon. Lady. Nevertheless, we believe that it is important to tell people what is going on. Although it may not be as extensive as the hon. Lady would like, it is certainly a great deal more than many other countries have been doing, it is more than this country was doing in years gone by, and it will increase.

That booklet is not the first on aid and the environment—it is the second. Through our careful and planned work we are beginning to tackle some of the enormous problems that we face. Whether it is in our thorough, careful approach to development aid, to ensure that full account is taken of environmental issues, or in the specific programmes of work in forestry and biodiversity, there is no lack of commitment on the part of the Government. Whether it is in our detailed economic appraisal of energy efficiency projects, or in the carefully targeted health and population planning projects, there is no lack of commitment. Wherever one looks at ODA's work among scientists, engineers, economists, doctors, agronomists, marine biologists, and every other group, there is commitment and concern with which I am proud to be associated.

The hon. Lady was whingeing that there were no ODA women in agriculture. That simply is not true. We have a woman specialist in Dakar, there are many women at the Natural Resources Institute in Chatham, we are working with Jill Shepherd of the Overseas Development Institute in our forestry projects in India and Kenya, and both our senior social development advisers—who are closely connected with agricultural development, in which women play such a major part in the third world—are women.

No, the hon. Lady spoke for more than 40 minutes and I wish to make progress.

The Government are totally committed to finding solutions to environmental problems, whether in the developed or in the developing world. Let us be in no doubt that the part of the Labour party's motion that refers to our policies is wrong.

At every opportunity, Labour Members call for more development aid. I do not believe for one moment that they would deliver it in practice. They would not deliver it because they could not afford it: they still have not learnt how to create the real prosperity at home with which to pay for it.

I understand that the hon. Member for Cynon Valley wants the Government to devote more resources to the aid programme. I understand her disappointment that we spent 0·31 per cent. of GNP on aid last year. Incidentally, the figure was 0·32 per cent. in 1988 and 0·28 per cent. in 1987; the figure is bound to vary because of the way in which aid money is spent. The point is, however, that since 1986, GNP has grown by 11 per cent. in real terms, which means that we are actually spending more. Of the countries that have the 0·7 per cent. target, only France among the 18 western donors has a larger aid programme than the United Kingdom. We remain committed to that 0·7 per cent. target, although I note that such a commitment is missing from the Labour party's most recent policy document. I wonder why.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. That information is not correct and it is right that we should—

Order. I regret that that is not a point of order for me; it is a question for debate. The Minister may give way if she wishes to debate the matter but it cannot be the subject of a point of order.

The hon. Lady's point of order must not relate to the subject of her original point of order, which was a matter for debate.

I went through the Labour party's latest policy document carefully and I could not find a reference to the figure, but if I am in error I shall gladly withdraw my remark. The proof of the pudding must be in the eating.

What matters to aid recipients is that our aid programme is substantial and growing and that it provides really high-quality aid. Time and again, the United Kingdom's record of quality aid delivery is rightly recognised in the OECD, the World bank and the European Commission. That is a tribute to the effective programme designed and carried out by my Department.

In her long speech, the hon. Lady failed seriously to examine the quality of aid for which the United Kingdom is so well recognised. I am surprised at that, because it means that she is not giving credit to those who deserve it —those who work on the aid programme both at home and overseas, to whom I pay the most generous tribute that I can.

I know that the Minister would not want to mislead the House. She will know that our policy remains the same as that outlined in our first document, "For the Good of All". The recently published document is an additional document. On page 9 of "For the Good of All", we state:

"We will more that double the aid budget to reach the UN target of 0.7 per cent. of GNP within five years."
I hope that the right hon. Lady will accept that and apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd).

I accept that the commitment appeared in the document to which the hon. Gentleman referred, but that is not the latest document in which those responsible for the Labour party's economic policy have been involved. I said only that I had noticed that the figure was missing from the Labour party's latest document.

Every Development Minister wants to help more developing countries to overcome their poverty, to reform their economies and to create their own prosperity. It is clear, however, that the hon. Member for Cynon Valley will have to learn a great deal more about the application of aid, the recipient country's absorptive abilities and the co-ordination of programmes if she is to make sense of her claim that the British taxpayer should pay a further £2 billion a year towards the overseas aid programme to which the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) has just referred.

One does not solve the development problems of recipient countries by throwing money at their Governments. One helps to meet the needs of those nations by the careful targeting of appropriate aid, by helping them to make the best use of resources and by technical co-operation to implement the best modern systems for their benefit.

We have a very substantial aid programme. Last year we spent £1,500 million. We have budgeted for £1,750 million in 1992–93. Our plans for aid have provided for a 22 per cent. increase in cash terms over the three years to 1992–93—a real terms increase of 6 per cent. The planned budget for this year has already been increased from £1,587 million to £1,617 million.

Unlike Opposition Members, we know that one cannot solve the highly complex problems of development by throwing money at them. Aid quality and effectiveness are equally vital. That was the message of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary in his speech to the all-party group on overseas development on 6 June. Unless we ensure that our aid is used effectively, we are wasting precious resources for the developing countries and squandering British taxpayers' money in the process. Such action is neither sensible nor defensible. That is why we concentrate on using our aid where it is most needed and why we have rigorous systems in place to ensure project effectiveness and value for money.

The right hon. Lady will recollect that, at the Royal Geographical Society conference, she was asked by one of the delegates about the decision on the Fevord-Karnataka forestry project in India. I admit that the issue is delicately balanced, but has any policy decision yet been made on it?

As I think I said on that occasion, the matter is still under review and I think that the hon. Gentleman knows that I put it under review because of my concern for that very project.

The hon. Member for Cynon Valley made another charge, which was that we cannot make an adequate contribution to tackling the immense environmental problems of the developing countries. We could argue for a thousand years about what an adequate contribution might be, but we should not agree. Nevertheless, I am sure that the House will agree that the Government are helping th developing countries to face their immense environmental problems honestly, systematically and thoroughly.

Before I explain the details of our local and global commitments, I want to outline our philosophy of using aid to assist the environment of the developing—and thus the developed—world.

There is no doubt that environmental questions are the most important facing the world today. The process of industrialisation that began in Europe more than 200 years ago has left no part of the globe untouched. The rapid depletion of the world's natural resources has been the dominant means of economic growth this century. In the past 30 years we have learnt, as the Prime Minister put it, that
"Ours is a tenancy of this planet with a full repairing lease".
We were strengthened in that view by the sight on television of those first pictures of our world taken from space. We saw that the earth had a thin protective atmosphere and was very vulnerable; indeed, we now know that the ozone layer has holes in it.

People are the stewards of the earth and it is our responsibility to manage and run it for the benefit of all mankind—without ruining it. Our cardinal principle must be that human well-being depends upon ecological processes whose options decrease as they become less diverse.

Already, we have a most difficult task to manage and the daily increase in human population makes matters more difficult. In the richer countries, we are fortunate enough to have reasonable incomes, temperate climates and diverse economies. That makes it easier to be green. But in the poorer countries, poverty, burgeoning populations and environmental degradation are so interlinked that the goal of sustainable development is the goal that we are determined to achieve. Our guiding principles are the freedom of the individual in a framework of good government and the need to maintain ecological diversity. We aim to ensure that a sense of stewardship and positive environmental action are present in all our work in the British aid programme.

My Department recently produced a booklet entitled "Environment and the British Aid Programme", which covers more than I could or should cover tonight. Above all, it is a question of attitudes. Everyone working in the Overseas Development Administration must operate with high awareness of environmental matters. Our aid investments are subject to rigorous environment scrutiny and all project managers attend our environmental training course and use our environmental appraisal manual, which has been highly praised in many quarters. Every project is subject to environmental scrutiny. Our economists continue to work to refine cost-benefit analysis, building on the work of David Pearce—financed by the ODA—and others. That ensures that the taxpayer is given value for money, and we need to take account of the longer-term horizon demanded by environmental perspectives.

The green booklet is also concerned about human resources. I am extremely fortunate to lead a Department in which staff skills and commitments are of the highest order. We have 370 expert scientists at the Natural Resources Institute at Chatham and many more people working with them. Their work is devoted to a better scientific understanding of ecological processes in the poorer countries. Staff in the ODA have extensive and valuable links with environmental groups and many institutions in this country. The World Wide Fund for Nature, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the Royal Geographical Society are just three of the groups with which we are in almost daily contact.

Will the right hon. Lady's Department use its influence in regard to the present position in the natural history museum, where taxonomic and palaeontological research is of great relevance?

Indeed, and the hon. Gentleman is aware that I have taken up that point with my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts. The hon. Gentleman was kind enough to say that my right hon. Friend the Minister gave him a full reply to a late-night Adjournment debate last Wednesday, which he initiated. I assure the hon. Gentleman that all the points in that debate will continue to be followed up, because the good work done in that museum is valued by us all and we rely upon it.

With the bodies to which I referred and others, we continually update our knowledge and techniques. We take our knowledge wider than the ODA.

I shall not give way any more, because, if I do, others will not have an opportunity to speak.

We are among the leaders in spreading the green message to other aid-giving institutions, especially the European Community and the World bank. The Commission is already using 100 copies—

Order. The Minister has made it quite clear that she will not give way any more.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Would it be possible for you to draw to the attention of Ministers who refuse to give way the fact that hon. Members sit silently through their speeches, and to remind those Ministers that their speeches mean very little if hon. Members are not present to listen to them?

I hardly think that that is a point of order for the Chair. However, the hon. Gentleman has made his point.

I recall making that same point about 16 years ago, sitting in exactly the same seat as the hon. Member for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke).

I was saying that we are recognised for our environmental appraisal techniques. The Commission is already using more than 100 copies of our manual. The German Government and other Governments are using it as well. We cannot be as bad as the hon. Member for Cynon Valley made out.

I want now to consider the extra help that is needed to tackle global environmental problems in developing countries. I told the House in a written answer on 11 June that we plan to allocate additional resources to helping developing countries deal with sources of green house gas emissions.

Developing countries will need help if they are to implement measures agreed under the Montreal protocol. We are ready to provide funds as part of an internationally agreed financial mechanism. Such a mechanism is being discussed at the meeting of the Montreal protocol parties in London at the moment. We are hosting that meeting on behalf of the United Nations Environment Programme. Britain is the third largest contributor to UNEP and we work closely with its excellent executive director, Dr. Tolba. Our contribution will be part of a separate new item in the Government's expenditure plans and it will be separate from our aid budget for developing countries, which itself is planned to grow.

We cannot consider environmental problems with success unless we are prepared to tackle the rapid rise in population growth. Since 1950, world population has doubled. It is now 5.3 billion and it will increase by 1 billion during the 1990s. That is 250,000 more people a day, every day. During the next century, the world population will probably double and could even triple. Some 90 per cent. of the increase is in the developing world.

Our aim is to help Governments to formulate population policies and to implement programmes that include the provision of voluntary family planning information and services. Improving the health and education of women and reducing infant and child mortality are also crucial if smaller families are to be encouraged.

Rapid population growth exacerbates the environmental degradation. The linkages between population growth and the environment are complex. However, tackling population growth is an important aspect of our environmental policy. In 1989, the ODA spent more than £17 million on specific population-related activities. That compares with £6·5 million in 1981.

A major part of our assistance is channelled through the multilateral population programmes. We have increased our total contributions to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the United Nations population fund and the WHO's human reproduction programme from £14·6 million in 1989 to £15·7 million this year.

This year ODA has supported bilateral population projects in nine areas of the world. In India, for example, we are funding a £20 million project for the strengthening of primary health care and family welfare services in five districts in Orissa. In Kenya, we are providing more than £4 million to six non-governmental organisations providing population education and broadening the provision of family planning services. We all now identify several countries in Africa and Asia in which our existing activities could be expanded and soon will identify new countries in which assistance may start. Wherever we help, it must be in voluntary family planning services. However, we are encouraged by the responses to our approaches to countries that have never before undertaken such programmes.

The hon. Member for Cynon Valley spent a long time talking about poverty. She linked poverty, quite understandably, to many of the awful problems facing the third world. She is aware that one of the main objectives of our aid programme is to relieve poverty, which my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Patten), said is the most toxic element in environmental pollution. We do that directly by aiming our aid at those most in need. In Ghana we help the poorest by participating in the programme of action to mitigate the social cost of adjustment. In India we spent almost £200 million between 1980 and 1988 in the key sectors of health, welfare, education, housing and renewable natural resources.

In 1988 our food aid and disaster relief were targeted at those in desperate need and totalled £40 million. That is all helping to relieve poverty. However, we also help to relieve poverty in the long term by promoting growth in developing countries.

The promotion of growth in developing countries seems to help most when we understand and work with the Governments of those countries to identify the best means of helping. In some countries the best way might be to create clean power for the people so that they can begin to be productive. In other countries and other regions we might have to concentrate on relieving the enormous health problems. Elsewhere we might be able to do most to relieve poverty by being thoroughly active in agriculture. I recommend to the hon. Member for Cynon Valley the research document entitled "A Strategy for Research on Renewable Natural Resources". I shall send the hon. Lady a copy although it has been in the Library for some time. That document explains what we are doing and it gives the lie to what the hon. Lady's imputations.

I believe that in all those ways we seek to help to relieve poverty. However, relieving poverty involves more than pushing money or having specific programmes. Countries must undertake economic reform and the countries that do that receive our fullest support, as has been absolutely clear in Africa in recent years.

We provide technical assistance and physical infrastructure. We direct our aid throughout our programmes to the poorest by concentrating on countries with low incomes. That is why in 1988 around 70 per cent. of our aid went to the poorest 50 countries and a further 8·5 per cent. to other low-income countries.

Although one does not doubt the efficiency of the work that is done by many officials in the Overseas Development Administration on individual projects, does the Minister agree that the greatest contribution that could be made to help the poor countries of sub-Saharan Africa would be a real increase in commodity prices, rather than the 20 per cent. drop over the past 15 years, and ceasing to support the IMF on its imposition of liberal economic models, which are helping to subsidise and prop up the banking systems of north America and western Europe?

The hon. Gentleman cannot expect to get away with that. One of the things that has been quite clear to me since I came to this job, is the careful attention to workable economic policies that the IMF and the World bank give in regard to nations in Africa and elsewhere that need economic reform. We have been the largest contributor to the interest subsidy account, which helps those countries. We help to reschedule official debts through the Paris Club, and we give generous bilateral aid. We cancel overseas aid debts—£1 billion that is owed by 23 countries has being cancelled by this country. Of course, my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) laid the foundations for the Toronto terms that have helped many—the Brady plan has helped many others—and we shall go on helping those countries.

It is simply not right to pour more of British taxpayers' money into countries that will not learn the lesson that socialism does not work. Countries in eastern Europe have learnt and have come to us for help with their new institutional set-up. They have been showing the way. Countries that have bothered to find out how things work better are benefiting greatly, as can be seen in Ghana and in many other countries.

Deforestation is perhaps the gravest environmental threat facing the developing world. The latest reports suggest that 17 million hectares or more of tropical forest are currently being lost each year. That is one and a half times the size of England, and twice the rate of the late 1970s. We need forests to help maintain soil fertility, prevent erosion and protect watershed systems. Globally, our forests store vast quantities of carbon and house 90 per cent. of the planet's plant and animal species.

Tropical forests are concentrated in developing countries, and those countries will decide their fate. It is not for us to question the sovereign rights of developing countries to use their natural resources, but we can and we will help them to manage forests sustainably, for the benefit of the countries that house them and for the benefit of the wider community.

Britain has a record of which we can be proud. In 1988 my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that we would do more under the aid programme to promote the wise and sustainable use of forest resources. Then we were financing 80 forestry projects at a cost of £45 million. Now we have almost 150 projects costing more than £60 million. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced last November that we would aim to commit a further £100 million over the next three years. We already have 60 projects in preparation. Those and more will be financed from the £100 million.

The hon. Lady likes to have a great deal of fun with the tropical forestry action plan. We all know that forestry is an international problem and challenge. That means that the solutions require a collaborative international effort. Whatever the hon. Lady may think, one country working alone would be simply no good. The main international mechanism for co-ordinating assistance to developing countries is the tropical forestry action plan. The TFAP has been heavily criticised, often with good reason. Whatever the hon. Lady may say, I called for its reform at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation general conference last November, and it was good that, shortly after, an independent review was set up.

That review has just reported. The report contains several important conclusions and recommendations that we are studying carefully. The TFAP should not support the extension of logging without rigorous environmental safeguards, and that means making forests managed and sustainable for the future. We welcome that conclusion —it has always been our view that that should be done.

We have funded the attendance of Papua New Guinea and other countries at the TFAP. We have made sure that countries that wanted to respond had information. The PNG Government have now announced a moratorium on logging. In the Cameroon, under the TFAP, we funded an expert on medicinal plants. Without British involvement, there would be much more to complain about. The proposals for new guidelines from the TFAP and the suggestion that the NGOs should be consulted in drawing them up are very good. The review is a good basis for necessary reform, and that is why we are now involved in a detailed discussion of how to take forward its recommendations in preparation for the Food and Agriculture organisation committee on forestry in Rome in September. A copy of the review is in the Library.

The second critical forestry problem is the need to safeguard the planet's biological diversity. We do not know to within a factor of 10 how many plants and animal species our planet holds. What we do know is that they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Perhaps a third of the total could be lost in the next three or four decades.

In May I established a special action programme to expand ODA's work on conserving biological diversity. First, we need better information on the priorities for conservation. Britain's contribution of £0·25 million to the major study by the world conservation monitoring centre in Cambridge is to help prepare a global biodiversity status report. Secondly, we need to identify well-designed projects for funding. The Oxford Forestry Institute is preparing for us a strategy on ODA's role in conserving the biodiversity of forests. That will include a series of project outlines. We are commissioning similar studies on the marine environment, which is a much neglected but very important store of biological diversity, and on the so-called wildlands, such as the savannah of Africa, which often house wild relatives of food crops.

In all those matters we are out to make progress on the basis of science. Nowhere could that be more true than in the global warming issues that now concern us so drastically. We know that developing countries could suffer worst from the effects of global warming. In Africa, for example, climate change is likely to have a significant negative effect on agricultural production. Millions may be forced to move to survive in areas in which land is already scarce. Africa has probably contributed least to the problem of climate change. It therefore understandably looks to the international community to take the lead—but Africa, too, will need to play its part.

We are helping developing countries get to grips with the issue of climate change. That is why we are contributing to help developing countries join in the work of the intergovernmental panel on climate change.

We are also developing an energy efficiency initiative. In May this year I announced an offer of £50 million towards energy efficiency projects in India. It is right that we get the very best use of energy production there. Although I share some doubts about Rihand, I have already taken steps to ensure that energy in the third world is produced efficiently and as cleanly as possible and without degradation. We cannot change the past, but we can help to increase the efficiency of power stations and prevent devastation causing more disruption in those countries. That is why, in Pakistan, we are fitting waste heat recovery boilers for gas turbine stations, and doing similar things in Bangladesh. In Pakistan, we have already managed to achieve a recovery of heat of 137 per cent. of the original target. Therefore, we are putting our scientific knowledge to the best use for people who need to use power.

We are including in our work many other matters that I shall set out in a major speech in a few months. We have involved ourselves in the World bank energy sector. It now has a small commission to consider priorities. Our ODA permanent secretary is a member of that commission. We also have an assistance programme to deal with environmental concerns. It does not stop at energy efficiency; it also includes conservation. It will loom large in the commission's work. British expertise, which is well respected worldwide, is contributing to the full in all international environmental forums.

The hon. Member for Cynon Valley also referred to water. I agree that water and sanitation are both critical. Ten years ago only 40 per cent. of the world's population had access to a safe water supply, and only 25 per cent. had access to sanitation. That is why, under the aegis of the international drinking water supply and sanitation decade, we made a concerted effort. A safe water supply has been provided to an estimated 700 million new users during the decade. During the same period, sanitation facilities have been provided to 250 million people.

With the continuous global population increase, there is a pressing need to accelerate the impetus worldwide during the 1990s. That is why we are funding numerous water and sanitation projects in the developing countries. That is why, in 1988 alone, we had 86 on-going projects, at an overall cost to the aid programme of £184 million.

We have made steps to meet the environmental challenges, but we fully accept that much remains to be done. We shall say more about our plans in the environment White Paper later in the year. Britain's aid programme is as green as any that I know of in Europe, but I intend to keep it that way. I intend to build on the firm base that my right hon. Friend the Member for Bath built before me. There is no shortage of commitment in this Government to helping to solve the environmental problems of developing countries.

This Government will always use taxpayers' money for development aid soundly and effectively. It takes a Government with credibility to galvanise the efforts of the international community. I know from the reactions that I get overseas that Britain's contribution—and our Prime Minister's contribution—is recognised as crucial and effective, be it our efforts through the United Nations, through the London conferences on the ozone layer, or our pioneering tropical forestry initiative.

Therefore, I utterly reject the Opposition's carping and sort-sighted motion. I am certain that my right hon. and hon. Friends will support my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's amendment in the lobby tonight.

Before we proceed, I hope that hon. Members will bear in mind what I said earlier and respond to my appeal for short speeches. We have little more than an hour before the winding-up speeches.

8.32 pm

I am deeply grateful for being called, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wish to respond to only one aspect of the environmental issue, but I believe that it towers above the rest. I refer to population growth. The sheer importance of this issue cannot be overestimated. If we do not control population growth, all the other environmental problems will simply mount up. There will be environmental degradation.

Although most hon. Members know the statistics, I believe that they need repeating. It took us 100,000 years to reach a world population of 1 billion people; it took another 100 years to reach a population of 2 billion people; it took another 30 years to reach a population of 3 billion people; and now we are adding 1 billion to the world population every 10 years. That means that the present population of 5 billion will be 6 billion by the end of the century.

We must reach a replacement rate level of population as quickly as possible. If we do not do so urgently, the increase in population will be staggering. If we reach replacement level by 2015, the world's population will be 8 billion. There is no chance of our reaching that replacement level by 2015. If we take a mere 40 extra years and reach replacement level population by 2055, the world's population will be 13 billion people. The difference between those two populations is the existing population of the world.

We must tackle this problem aggressively. I defy anybody who has visited those parts of the world that have high rates of population growth to be unmoved by that experience. Hon. Members of all parties have visited Nepal and have seen that country being literally eaten by its population, as its people scramble for higher and higher and ever more inaccessible terraces on which to live. We have seen the forestry and the hillsides disappearing, yet only 15 per cent. of that land can be lived on. We have seen the most incredible problems unfolding before our eyes.

We must realise that today in India 70,000 babies have been born. The population of India has doubled since independence. Although the problem is enormous, it can be overcome. I was disturbed to hear the Minister refer to ensuring that such countries have an absorptive quality that enables them to accept more assistance. I remind her that there are 600,000 villages in India and that only 3,000 of them have a family planning service. I am sure that one or two thousand more villages have an absorptive quality that could enable them to take more assistance.

It is possible to be very critical of the Indian Government's lack of courage in not providing the lead on family planning, but it is also possible to be critical of ourselves, and especially of the Americans. One of the most disturbing things in recent years is that, as a result of the pressures exerted by the so-called pro-life lobby in the United States, since 1985 the United States Government have made no contribution to any family planning funds.

It is ironic that people who call themselves "pro-life" should, by their withdrawal of funds and their unwillingness to give aid to family planning services, have caused so much abortion. There is no doubt that it is the absence of good family planning that has led to most of the abortions that take place. It is ironic that people who call themselves "pro-life" should have helped make life so nasty, brutish and short for so many of the children who are born. We should make it clear that we can no longer tolerate that unwillingness to tackle the issue of family planning.

We must grasp the great importance of family planning and ensure that more of our aid is directed to that end. It was with some pleasure, therefore, that I heard the Minister of State say that our aid had been gradually steered in that direction. We must accept that such aid will always be steered towards voluntary family planning, because any other approach is simply counter-productive. However, we must accept that that aid must be long-term, because such family planning activities involve the most sensitive and delicate development work. Nevertheless, it is obvious that such work can be carried out. Those of us who have been there have seen how such work has yielded fruit in the back streets of Delhi. We have also seen the clean water supplies there. We are also aware of the work that has successfully controlled parasites in other parts of India. That work is both long-term and fulfilling.

I conclude by emphasising another area. We must be aggressive in ensuring that our aid helps the development of women in the developing world. That is the key to success. Literate women have control over their lives. I defy any hon. Member to name any country where literacy for women has led to their choosing to have large families. They do not choose to have large families when careers other than child bearing are available to them.

The Minister will be supported by many hon. Members if she fights for more generous aid to be given to population control. Without population control, there will be no future for our children and those born elsewhere. The ozone layer and deforestation fade into insignificance, compared with the importance of controlling population growth.

8.40 pm

I welcome the opportunity to discuss this most important subject, development aid and the environment, but how unfortunate it is that it has to be discussed on a party political bashing basis. The British aid programme of over £1.6 billion is no small beer. It is 17 per cent. up on last year and is heading for £1.75 billion in 1992. The debate should be about targeting and the value to be achieved from these vast resources. Not a word, however, is said about that matter in the Labour motion.

Even according to their own funding criteria, the Opposition disappoint. In the last two years of the last Labour Government, they chopped successive £50 million chunks off the aid budget—deep, in real terms, in the values of those days. Frank Judd, the Opposition's Front Bench spokesman on aid at that time, summed it up perfectly when he said that the cuts would have grave implications and that the Labour Government did not wish to minimise them. Did the Labour Government put up a fight? Joel Barnett, who was Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the Labour Government, noted that there was little argument within the Labour Cabinet when IMF strictures required those cuts. He admitted later in his book:

"on overseas aid there was little argument this time, and £50 million was scored for each year."
I shall confine my comments to the environmental implications of the destruction of the rain forests. I welcome the growing interest worldwide and in Britain, but also in the countries of the Amazon basin, in their responsibilities for their great heritage. Brazil, which contains by far the largest extent of the Amazonian rain forest, has made major progress of late.

Under the inspired leadership of the newly elected president, Fernando Collor de Mello, the Brazilian Government have taken some important steps. First, they have scrapped the fiscal incentives that led directly to the clearance of forests for ecologically disastrous grazing, which in turn led to soil erosion. Secondly, the pursuit of illegal gold prospecting—which does nothing for the economy of Brazil, as most of the gold is smuggled out of the country—brings misery to thousands of garimpeiros, the peasant miners, and has led to the virtual extinction of the Indian tribes in the area, notably the Yanomami. Thirdly, the Brazilians have scrapped the infamous B364 road to Peru for timber export, which the Japanese would have used to strip the forests of hardwood.

Fourthly—perhaps the most inspired of all the steps taken in Brazil—Professor Jose Lutzenberger has been appointed the President's Secretary for the Environment. Professor Lutzenberger has long been a campaigner against the environmental destruction tolerated by the previous military regimes in Brazil. He was perhaps the most radical eco-critic in the country. He has a clear understanding of the ecological dangers facing the globe and an appreciation of the possibilities in Brazil. He has the ear of the president. He could not have been appointed at a better time. There is a new, dynamic and environmentally sensitive president in Brazil, with the world awake to the ecological risks and ready to help. If I may be so bold, Britain is at the forefront of the international support that is now forthcoming.

A year ago my right hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Patten), when Minister for Overseas Development, concluded his now famous memorandum of understanding with Brazil. Up to then, foreign powers had lectured Brazil on the environment, thus inflaming nationalist feelings. What my right hon. Friend achieved was to offer partnership and a lead to Brazil's pride in its rain forests. His technical co-operation programme was to cover five areas: first, the urban environment, in particular sewage and water treatment; secondly, the sustainable management of the Amazon rain forest, where he hoped that we would be involved in establishing a new biological reserve in the Xingu river area; thirdly, collaborative research on the relationship between the forests and climate, involving the Institute of Hydrology; fourthly, research into the great potential of the genetic resources of the Amazon—and he hoped to begin soon a research project into aromatic plants, undertaken by the Goeldi museum in Belem; and, fifthly, training in both the United Kingdom and Brazil in matters related to those areas.

I am glad that approval has now been given for some of the projects, notably that of the Institute of Hydrology and its climate research projects in the states of Amazonas, Para and either in Rondonia or Acre in Brazil and for a study of the impact of deforestation on the climate. I hope that progress will be made on a number of other projects that have already been identified—notably that of the Tapajos forest management project in Para state to establish sustained forest management, production and a harvesting system; the forest research project with INPA in Brazil that would lead to research into the distribution and dynamics of the biomass and minerals in tropical forests; the Caxivana biological reserve in Para state, which would bring about the establishment of a biological reserve there and the promotion of sustainable management of the forest; and a study of the ecology, natural regeneration and flora of the flooded forests near Belem on the Amazon. I could refer to other projects, such as the aromatic plant development project near Belem that carries out research and trials of plants species with potential for commercial development. In the time available, I cannot refer to the many other projects.

We should not forget that there are large tracts of Amazonia in Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to see the Colombian Amazon region. The Government of President Barco of Colombia have shown the imagination to carry out a systematic programme of legal recognition of land rights for all the indigenous people of the Colombian Amazon. More than 12 million hectares have been safeguarded. It is considered the collective property of the Indians and it is inalienable. They are now working on a further 6 million hectares, in addition to the 5 million already included in the recently created national parks in the Amazon region. The next stage for Colombia will clearly be for projects into the sustainable use of the rain forest. I hope that we can extend our various projects to assist Colombia

Before I came into the Chamber I looked into the forestry projects of the Overseas Development Administration. They are under way in no fewer than nine Latin American countries. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development has much to be proud of, given our constructive aid in this sphere. All power to her elbow. Let us keep up the good work.

8.48 pm

I intend to comment on some of the points made by the Minister. Ministers say that the United Kingdom helps 60 per cent. of the poorest countries in the world. The sad fact is that most of them are former British colonies. The fact that they are former British colonies and need so much aid is an indictment of the Government's policy. The Minister was right to emphasise that we should pay attention to the quality, not just to the quantity, of aid. I accept that certain Overseas Development Administration projects are good and set an example to the rest of the world.

It is nevertheless true that much of our aid programme is still viewed as a trade opportunity to be plundered by large companies. I am not the only exponent of that view. It is worth reading a sentence from the Conservative manifesto for the last election:
"Our 'Aid and Trade Provision' funds have helped win good development contracts for British firms worth over £2 billion since 1979."
That is not what aid should be about, but I regret that that is what is has become in many cases.

The third point is that the Minister said that she had made £50 million available for energy efficiency projects, mainly in India, and then elaborated on how much she was committed to the idea of achieving greater energy efficiency in India. It is an extraordinary proposition that we should give priority to energy efficiency in countries that inherently use little energy, rather than concentrating within the developed world and reducing our excessive energy consumption. I accept that that is not the Minister's responsibility, but it is the Government's, and the figures that she quoted contrast pretty sharply with the miserable investment in energy efficiency that has been sanctioned by the Department of Energy for our energy efficiency at home.

I should like to say, by way of a commercial—I have no interest to declare other than a local connection of pride—that before I came to this debate I was at a preview showing of a documentary for Channel 4 produced by Grampian television on the energy alternative. It is a programme of three one-hour documentaries that is a blueprint for changing the way that the world works. I noted with interest that the role of women, which has been mentioned by a number of speakers, has been specifically acknowledged within the third world, and the changes that have been taking place are focused upon without necessarily commenting that that is the definitive answer.

It was inevitable that the Minister would home in on specific worthy projects that the Government are sponsoring, and I am sure that other Conservative Members will also do so. However, the Minister did not satisfactorily explain to the House how and why Britain has dropped from second to sixth among the top seven industrial nations in the provision of overseas aid. The Government inherited a GNP contribution of 0·52 per cent., which they have reduced to 0·31 per cent. The Thatcher Government claim that they have achieved an economic miracle. Why have we not shared that economic miracle with the poorer peoples of the world? It really is not good enough for the Minister not to respond to that fact.

The other factor that must be addressed is the way in which aid projects are managed, not just by the British Government—or, perhaps worse still, by the American Government—but by the World bank and international agencies. There is no doubt that the criteria being applied specifically by the World bank do not often meet the real needs and the real structure of the countries that are supposed to be developing.

One problem is that the World bank seems to want assurances of stability within the Governments through which it is seeking to provide aid. The trouble is that stability tends to mean rather nasty, often right-wing, dictatorships that misuse the money to fatten their friends and to give contracts to big businesses. That does not benefit the poor people and does not reach the small businesses that might actually gain from the channelling of that aid. I wish that the British Government had done more to try to change those criteria.

The consequence of that is that banks tend to appoint consultants who determine who gets the contracts and how they are bid. It is far too much trouble to allow small companies, which have to be vetted and investigated, to get a cut of the business. Too often, that cut goes elsewhere and leaves the people of the country feeling alienated. Often, they are actually disrupted or even moved from their land to accommodate projects proposed by big business interests that are hostile to the interests of the people living in that country—yet it is all done in the name of overseas aid for poor communities.

It is interesting that, within Europe, Sweden and Holland have taken a high profile in trying to alter the character of the regimes to which they will give aid, singling out those to which other countries often refuse to give aid. They apply criteria that seek out and encourage progressive Government policies within countries to which they are giving aid.

I was recently asked to review a book commissioned by Friends of the Earth called "Exploited Earth," by Teresa Hayter. She says something worthy of report, especially in relation to tropical rain forests:
"If the Governments of the major western powers and their agencies genuinely wanted to save forests in the third world, the best thing they could do would be to stop discriminating in favour of repressive and inegalitarian Governments and support, or at least refrain from attacking, third world Governments with progressive policies."
That is something we should actively encourage. We should be seeking to change the character. We should not conform to capitalist models, but to ones that are genuinely socially responsive and can reach down to the people who most need the aid.

We are all in grave danger of inadvertently patronising third-world countries when we talk about the problems of aid. I am conscious of it myself. I do not feel that it is necessarily my job to tell third-world countries what they should do, although it is legitimate to tell them what they should not do in circumstances where there is clear exploitation.

For example, the Brazilians have stated quite clearly that they do not understand why the Brazilian rain forest should be treated as a lung for the planet, because it is needed as a resource for their teeming population. The problem is how one ensures that that population can secure development in a way that nevertheless meets the wider needs of the planet and the long-term interests of the Brazilian community, which is too pressured by short-term needs and concerns.

With all respect to the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington)—and I recognise his commitment—the problem of population control falls into that difficulty. We can look at the third world and say that the population is growing too fast, the pressures are too great, and that if we do not do something about it, the planet will not survive. That is all true, but it is also a fact that, for most third-world countries, large families are a substitute for the lack of a welfare state. They are a means of security, an economic advantage and a welfare support.

Until that is changed the fundamental problem will not be dealt with and there is a clear correlation that constructive economic development and improved economic well-being actually reduce the pressure of large families. I acknowledge the fact that the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie referred to that.

The other problem, which we will have to address across the whole of the developed world and right across the political boundaries is how we will deal with the problem of the greenhouse effect. It causes me some concern that the British Government, together with the American Government and others, have failed to achieve, or get anywhere near achieving, a figure of 0·7 per cent. of gross national product overseas aid budget. How on earth will they persuade people in the developed world to make the necessary sacrifices to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions so that the third world can achieve even a fraction of the growth to which it aspires? A much bigger chunk than 0·7 per cent. of GNP must be earmarked.

It has been suggested that an international world programme could be delivered—perhaps that is idealistic. It could determine the total greenhouse gas emissions that the world is currently producing and aim to freeze those emissions, and subsequently reduce them. It would then allow bids for the allocation of that share of greenhouse gases—in extremis on a population basis. The consequences of that would be a major cut in the greenhouse emissions of the developed society to allow the third world to achieve the growth to which it aspires.

I note that the Minister is grimacing at the severity of what is required. We know that that could not be done overnight—it may take a generation. However, the third world will not stand being lectured about how it cannot aspire to the glories and pleasures of the western developed world just because we have already got there first and are not prepared to cut it in. Ultimately the third world will not put up with that. We must be prepared to make some fairly major sacrifices collectively, across party lines and national boundaries, in the west if we are to allow the underdeveloped countries to alleviate some of their poverty and to fulfil some of their aspirations.

The hon. Member for Gravesham (Mr. Arnold) is right to say that this issue should not be made too party political as that would render it specious. The scale of the problem we face is such that if we spend too much time scoring party-political points off each other we shall not address the wider issues of how we reach solutions to the urgent problems.

The nature of politicians and of this place is such that we cannot resist scoring party political points. It is the duty of Oppositions to oppose and of Governments to extol the virtues of what they have achieved. We must acknowledge, however, that if we are to make a contribution to solving the problem and if we are serious about it, we must seek out cross-party consensus. We must adopt long-term policies that will be pursued by Governments of whatever political persuasion and by many Governments at a time. We must do that soon; otherwise, the problems will become academic as it will be far too late.

I am a natural optimist—in my party, the one thing one learns is to be one—and I believe that there is a great deal that we can achieve if we put our minds to it. Obviously we can make technical contributions, but we must be prepared to acknowledge that attitudes must change and that societies within the developed countries must acknowledge the problems of the developing world and its right to a share of the benefits of the globe. We must recognise that, if we do not adopt a concerted environmental policy, we shall be destroyed by the third world's attempts to gain what it regards as its rightful share of the world's benefits.

The problem is sometimes described on such a global scale that we cannot relate to it; there are too many issues with which to deal at once. I was therefore encouraged to find that that dry American verser, Ogden Nash, had an appropriate little verse that puts things in perspective while saying the right thing:
  • "I think that I shall never see
  • A billboard lovely as a tree,
  • Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
  • I'll never see a tree at all".
That sums up the fact that we cannot make a positive contribution to reducing environmental pressures if we determine our approach entirely by commercial factors. We must accept that the west must make some substantial sacrifices if the people of the third world are to have a real chance of a share in the resources of the planet.

9.2 pm

In view of the time available, I shall keep my remarks brief.

First, I should declare an interest as I am vice-president of Operation Raleigh on a non-remunerative basis. In that capacity, I thank my right hon. Friend for all the support that she has given to Operation Raleigh and to Voluntary Service Overseas. I know that in the past she has given great assistance to environmentally friendly projects and schemes run by Operation Raleigh all over the world, and that is much appreciated.

Last night in the debate on the police the Opposition made a considerable financial commitment, and earlier this evening in the transport debate they made a similar one. In this debate, the Opposition reaffirmed their commitment to achieve a target contribution to overseas aid of 0.7 per cent. of GNP within five years. When the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) gave us a tour d'horizon of all the environmental problems of the world, I thought that she also made a commitment to subsidise the reduction in or removal of CFCs in the People's Republic of China.

I could be wrong, but I believe that the Labour party will have its work cut out if it should ever be elected to Government. That point should be made because those who listen to or read about this debate should appreciate that people must be judged on their performance. The October 1974 Labour party manifesto made the commitment that 0·7 per cent. of GNP would be given in overseas aid, but history proves that that figure was never achieved.

I congratulate the Government on the cancellation of debt, particularly in Africa, and while I urge them to pursue that line, I have some concerns about Government aid. The hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) spoke of propping up corrupt regimes and the need to monitor the way in which money is spent. I am concerned about some of the £13 million in aid that has gone to Ethiopia. I should like to know how much of it has gone directly to the people and how much has been filched to perpetuate a continuing civil war.

The same can be said of the £8·5 million recently given in emergency aid to Mozambique. I am worried about how much of that, plus 10,000 tonnes of food aid, has gone to the army and how much has gone to people in desperate need. Perpetuating corrupt regimes should not be the purpose of our overseas aid, and we now have an opportunity to pass on some of our know-how in that respect.

In my constituency, the South Devon technical college has offered aid to eastern Europe. I congratulate the Government on their plans to aid the eastern European countries which are, frankly, environmental disasters. Aid programmes have already been announced for Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I have written to my right hon. Friend pointing out that South Devon technical college has played a great role in the past in supplying language skills to south-east Asia. The college is anxious to participate in any aid programme to eastern Europe. The amount of money being sought by eastern Europe is astronomical. I heard Eduard Shevardnadze talking on the radio on Monday about £8·5 billion being needed by the Soviet Union. If such aid is given, it should have major strings attached.

I appreciate that it is all to easy to be patronising about aid. Imposing western developed nation standards on intermediate, dirty, industrialised third-world countries has inherent dangers, particularly when there are many problems that we have not tackled.

I draw attention particularly to nuclear submarines in this country which are mothballed and about which, apparently, nothing can be done. It seems that no decision has been made about whether to tow them out into the Atlantic—that was the original intention—or to decommission them in some other way. That is a major problem of our own making and, so far as I am aware, there is no solution to it.

The Secretary of State for the Environment was in his place earlier in the debate. I hope that he or a Minister from that Department will have an opportunity to explain to the House the level of CFC reduction that we propose to reach by the year 2000 and why that level will be only about 50 per cent. of what it should be.

Reference has been made in the debate to numerous projects. I have time to refer to just three. The first is land degradation. I understand that in sub-Saharan Africa the husbandry of goats has played a major part in removing the soil. I hope that in future great thought will be given to dealing with that problem.

The second point—sea levels—was mentioned by the hon. Member for Cynon Valley. I urge her to put pressure on the Government to avoid grandiose schemes of the kind that in the past were regarded as prestige projects. When we consider projects such as the Aswan dam 20 or 30 years later, we realise that such grandiose schemes have been catastrophically counter-productive.

While many people will welcome the thermal power efficiency programmes which have been introduced and are being sponsored by the British Government, many constituents are horrified to hear of the vast sums being spent by the Pakistani Government on sabre-rattling exercises, mobilising troops and tanks along the Indian frontier. That is truly horrific.

I acknowledge that the Government have been in the forefront of many important issues in recent years and months—one of which affected my constituency. A tanker-load of toxic waste from west Africa was heading towards the United Kingdom and my constituency, causing great concern. I recognise that the European Community has introduced a system of certificates for toxic waste to ensure that it does not go to third-world countries.

There has been little time to cover all the issues in this important debate, but I urge the House to support the amendment.

9.11 pm

No one can doubt the scale of the crisis facing the third world and all of us. It is a crisis affecting the environment, health, housing, agriculture, food, famine and debt. There is no room in this Chamber or any hon. Member's heart for complacency or self-congratulation on what we have done to date to tackle this massive task.

Like many hon. Members, I have constituents who are active in world development and aid. When they hear us arguing about how much money we spend, they answer that that money is but a pittance in comparison to the massive transfer of wealth and resources from the south to the industrialised north. If we were to repay but a tiny proportion of that money, the miniscule current aid budget would dwindle into insignificance.

The Minister made one point that I was shocked to hear, although I was not too surprised, when she said that we would not continue to pour British taxpayers' money into countries that had not learnt the lesson that socialism does not work. Aid is supposed to be based on the principle of sustainable development in the poorest countries of the world. That is its prime objective. The vast majority of the poorest people in the world are women.

I had not intended to speak about population control, but I must say that it is an inappropriate solution to world poverty. It is seen by many as a way to reduce the populations of the poor. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) said, the people in the north, the industrialised countries, are consuming considerably more. We fail to recognise the link between poverty and people's need for large families to have some chance of survival.

Many people would like to see millions of dollars being invested in population control even though dreadful and horrific damage has been caused to the lives of women in third-world countries by such programmes. That money would be better invested in establishing basic health care structures in villages, towns and cities throughout the world. Birth control is based on the woman's right to control her fertility and to make decisions about her life. Nobody should assert that we should force population control on people as a way of dealing with the problems that we face. I sincerely hope that such a course will not be proposed in the debate.

The document entitled "Environment and the British Aid Programme" is strong on rhetoric and weak on action. I appreciate what the Minister says, but we do not seem to have grasped the basic problem, which is that bad environments are the result of poverty and cause poverty. Aid programmes should be directed at identifying ways in which we can provide resources so that people can determine their own future without fear of exploitation and intimidation, whether by the economic and foreign policies of this country or any other or by the might of a multinational company. The document does not say enough about reducing the levels of carbon dioxide, the problems of CFCs and the general problem of global warming which will devastate the agriculture and the development of other nations.

The vast majority of poor people are women, and Britain's aid programme is harming such women in the third world. It does not recognise their unpaid work in the home, in the fields and in the community. They grow, buy and prepare food. They carry out cleaning and fetch water, firewood and household goods. They care for the young, the ill and the elderly. Such work is essential for everyone's survival, yet it is not classified as productive. Women's contributions as workers, farmers, traders, thinkers and carers is central to sustainable development. Their contribution is taken for granted, and they seem to be invisible to economists and most politicians, and unfortunately, they are not considered in many development plans.

Britain's aid is decreasing in quantity and quality. Each year, less than 20 per cent. of the total aid budget is spent on development projects for the world's poorest people. As we have heard, Britain's aid is increasingly being used to promote British exports and to further the Government's foreign and economic policies. Some 80 per cent. of the total aid budget is not deemed by the ODA itself to be relevant to women, yet women make up 60 to 80 per cent. of the agricultural work force in Africa. About 50 per cent. of those who care for animals are women, and all women are involved in food production and precessing.

Most aid programmes aimed at improving local agriculture are directed to assisting men, even though women are central to the ownership of smallholdings and the work in them. Women get a tiny proportion of agriculture scholarships and are excluded from credit facilities through straightforward discrimination and lack of collateral and income. It is a vicious circle, because sustainable aid is propagating the very problem that it claims to be addressing and attacking.

Women have the right wherever they are in the world to education, health, employment, food and shelter, as does every poor and not-so-poor person in the world. They have the right to participate in debates and to shape the future of their communities. Any aid policy which does not achieve that profoundly conflicts with the aims of sustainable aid. Women's position in society and in the world is crucially linked to the environment.

Much has been said about environmental projects that have been undertaken and about the IMF and the World bank and the ODA's relationship with those organisations. In The Guardian last Friday, nine projects—just nine—were selected to demonstrate how aid is damaging the environment. I presume that they are not the only ones.

I give just one example in conclusion. It is about the African forest and the national forestry scheme in the Cameroons which is part of the TFAP. The article says that the programme is
"alarming environmentalists. The plan for Cameroon, completed in 1988, envisages that the country 'could become the most important African exporter of forestry-based products from the start of the 21st century'."
Those programmes are not about involving people in shaping their future; they are about making them dependent on yet another cash crop that will tie them further into the debt crisis. That is profoundly wrong and evil. None of us has any right to be complacent, and I hope that we will do all that we can to ensure that our aid programme is liberating, not devastating.

9.21 pm

The hon. Member for Bristol, South (Ms. Primarolo) spoke from the heart. Those Conservative Members who are present when England is playing in the world cup—there is no score after 60 minutes—also reveal a great deal of heart in that we want to take part in this critical debate.

The hon. Lady talked about women. I cannot follow her criticisms precisely, because virtually ever conference to which I have been, every scheme that I have seen enumerated and every area of development assistance from the developed world now involves women and women's participation. The real problem is caused by the standards of the developing world and the way in which it sees and treats women rather than the way in which we try to reach out from the developed world with schemes to assist them.

Action Aid programmes in the Gambia have deliberately targeted women. They have deliberately created gardens for the ladies, setting up their own committee to produce better food for the community and a market economy in which to sell their extra produce down the line. The whole focus now is on women and women's involvement, because their critical importance has been recognised. I am sure that the ODA and many of the schemes that it has put forward have that as a central element, along with the environment.

So many of these debates tend, as has been said, to start off on the wrong foot on the basis of the motions in which one side says that everything is wrong and the other that everything is right. I often suspect that the truth lies somewhere between the two. That is true of today's debate.

The suggestion in the Opposition's motion that ODA funds could ever be raised sufficiently to tackle the immense environmental problems of the third world is a mirage. There is no way in which ODA funds will in themselves meet the tremendous environmental challenges that we face now and will face in the next century.

Equally, the suggestion that the ODA should use those funds in an environmentally conscious and better way is something that we do applaud, and that is a fact. That approach was begun by my right hon. Friend the Minister's predecessor and has been continued. That is an essential element in the way in which we develop environmentally conscious schemes in the transfer of international resources.

As we move towards 1992 and the Heads of Government United Nations conference on the environment, we must establish benchmarks for the next century. We should think through the roles of all forms of resource transfer—whether they involve technology, the major United Nations institutions, the World bank, IMF, the European development fund, the cumulative effect of ODA funds across the developed world, or the response within the developing countries themselves—and not pick on the one particular aspect of the ODA's own aid budget. The integration of efforts to overcome the major problems that have been spelt out is a task to which we should all apply our minds.

With that proviso, I agree that the ODA's budget should be increased. It is effective, and one sees its good effects in different parts of the world. It is logical to argue that, given the same conditions, twice the budget would be twice as effective in terms of the people that aid would reach and the programmes that could be assisted. Our programmes are very successful in assisting the poorest people and the poorest countries of the world in an environmentally conscious way.

We must press for that element in the transfer of resources to be increased. I know that my hon. Friend the Minister would welcome it if the Treasury could be convinced of that. My right hon. and hon. Friends and I have fought, often with our votes, to increase our development programme, and would like to see it increased still further. However, the scale of funding required in terms of technology transfer and the global environment is considerable. Many of us support the idea of a global fund that would assist developing countries to measure up to changes, and the emergence of that point of view at Bergen caused the Americans to back off the joint communiqué.

The hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) was critical of power stations, but I fail to comprehend why we should pick on them as symbols of western degradation. If the hon. Lady had ever been caught in Khartoum when the power station had broken down and the supply was cut, she would know what it is like for the 6 million people who live in that city. Everything comes to a halt. The heat is intense and the effects are dramatic. Factories stop producing and cotton is no longer spun. We built the original power station in Khartoum, and only restored it so that it would suffer no more brown-outs, to help the economy there. If any economy needs help, that one does—and it has started to recover.

As to criticisms of the aid and trade provision, its share of the budget is tiny, being only £60 million out of £1.6 billion. The Foreign Affairs Select Committee examined the budget and acknowledged that, under international rules, it had to come under ODA control. We accept that it is one way of assisting British industry and developing countries to obtain the goods that they need. If the hon. Lady thinks that the ATP budget should be scrapped, perhaps she will explain how the environment will be improved if a French, Italian or Japanese company installs precisely the same facility instead. I do not see that there is any direct relationship to the environment.

My hon. Friend the Minister and others firmly believe that the ATP should not serve as a slush fund for British industry. Other countries, particularly the French and Italians, use their aid budgets, even though they may appear to be a bigger proportion of GNP, much more successfully in promoting their own industries. I suspect that we are rather more puritan in that respect, and we should remain so.

There are two imperatives for sustainable development. One, which is sometimes misunderstood and is not given sufficient priority is the development of human resources in the developing countries, through education programmes and health. I agree with the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington), who spoke about population, and said that, unless the population were educated, it was difficult for the people to appreciate the sheer scale of the difficulties caused by excessive population growth in an environmentally unfriendly situation. We want to develop human resources and we also want environmental integrity.

One of the critical points that my right hon. Friend the Minister made was that we have to have the willing participation of host countries. It is very patronising to hear people talking about "our" rain forests, as if they belonged to us. They do, in the sense that our economy is global, but if the Brazilians talked about "their" coal mines when they were referring to mines in this country, we should be angry. They are not our rain forests, but a part of the world ecology which belong to the country which is sovereign.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesham (Mr. Arnold) mentioned, unless we have the co-operation of host countries, the prospects for change are difficult.

Opposition Members have accused us of supporting dictatorships or restrictive regimes, but absolutely the opposite is the case. The World bank and the Foreign Secretary have made it clear that democratic accountability and good government are two of the essentials to ensure that aid transfers function. For example, Burma had had a dictatorial Government for the past 40 years, and not only has it achieved gradual growth of poverty, in a country which is rich in natural resources, but there has been one attempt to overthrow the Government. Burma proves that, without legitimate democracy, poverty increases and environmental damage also increases, and it is almost impossible to stop it.

For example, next-door Thailand has a democracy, and popular pressure has caused them to be more environmentally conscious and to stop plundering forests. What has happened? The SLORC military Government in Burma have granted licences to Thai loggers, who have moved into the Burmese forests and are now extracting trees at three times the rate that they were cut down before, including seed trees, which is environmentally degrading and is almost impossible to contemplate. No amount of aid could possibly help that situation because the developed world has withdrawn its aid programme from Burma, as a mark of its complete indignation and rejection of the human rights record and the standards that the Burmese Government have established. Unless we can establish basic human values and accountable democracy, we cannot begin to operate sustainable aid or protect the environment.

I am getting all sorts of signals, but I understood that I had a few minutes more before the Front Bench spokesmen speak. I shall not mention commodities and population, but I must raise two other issues—first, debt. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made a welcome statement, that we must reconsider debt and especially the debts owed to the Bretton Woods institutions by African countries. We must consider a 10-year moratorium of debt repayments to recreate a breathing space during which we can solve their problems.

The second issue is military expenditure. The United Nations Development Programme report on human values has carefully given a league table of military expenditure in the developing world. It is clear that many developing countries spend a higher proportion of gross national product on military expenditure than on education, on health or on matching and working with resource transfers from the developed countries. That call comes not only from me—I am not being patronising—but from the UNDP and the various other institutions and from the people of those countries that seek an end to excessive military expenditure to prop up regimes that would be otherwise unsustainable.

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that the United Kingdom is the world's second largest arms supplier?

Of course, but that does not make the fact that some countries spend excessive amounts on arms any more welcome. I am calling for a reduction in military expenditure, and it should be reduced because the risk, and hence the necessity for such expenditure, is diminishing every day.

My last point concerns public debate and public awareness. We need to raise the level of public debate in our constituencies and across the country because if we do not, it will be very difficult to bring about changes—to transfer resources and to increase the ODA's budget. In a Harris poll taken for the Centre for World Development Education and the Commonwealth Trust, 86 per cent. of those questioned said that they wanted more news about developing countries. We must meet that need.

The hon. Member for Cynon Valley mentioned southern non-governmental organisations. As a result of the intiative taken by my right hon. Friend the Minister, we have managed to establish for the first time a formal north-south quadrilogue so that we can now participate fully on a pan-European basis—across the countries of the Council of Europe and across eastern Europe—in a debate between non-governmental organisations, Governments, local government and Parliaments.

We now look forward to 1992 and to a restatement of the views expressed in the recent BBC television programme, which was a brave attempt to promote public education and to discuss the problems of the environment and sustainable development—the real challenges of the future. We are now part of a system that will facilitate the work of southern NGOs in partnership with our own NGOs. It will facilitate the work of local government in terms of twinning. It will facilitate the work of Parliament and it will facilitate Government schemes to promote the essential development education without which we cannot proceed with the policy changes that we all seek.

9.37 pm

I shall greatly curtail my remarks so that my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) has a chance to speak for a few moments.

This is an extremely important debate, in which we have brought together the two most important challenges that face Britain and the rest of the world in the final decade of this century—the need to tackle the problems of the developing nations and the need to tackle environmental problems. In both cases, worldwide action is needed. It is right that the subjects should have been linked in the motion because they bear a close relationship to each other.

A few weeks ago, I was in Mozambique for a few hours. I saw thousands of people who had left their land and I saw agricultural land lying derelict as a result of the civil war and strife that have tragically afflicted that country for so many years. I saw many people suffering from starvation. I clearly remember the young child who came up to me with what I thought was a doll in her arms; it was actually an almost lifeless baby brother or sister. Pictures of those who suffer such conditions, which are repeated elsewhere in the world, have a tremendous effect when they are shown on television, but when one sees such things in real life, they mean far more—perhaps more than anything else. If we can really justify the amount of overseas aid that we give at present and if we believe that we should not give more, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Our record brings shame on Britain and on the Government.

We must do considerably more. We have recognised what needs to be done to tackle the environmental problems that have arisen in this country. Our greed and our industrial capacity have done much to damage our environment over the past 200 years.

We can see the damage that has been done to the environment in eastern Europe. We can also see the damage that has occurred in the Third world because of the need for those countries to service their debts and feed their populations. The developed world has controlled things for many years. Therefore, we must face the fact that if we are to tackle those problems, we shall have to take extremely difficult decisions.

The developed nations such as Britain, the United States and Canada must pay to tackle the problems in the United Kingdom, in eastern Europe and in the Third world. We must recognise that damage to the environment, wherever it occurs, recognises no boundaries. We must deal with that problem on a worldwide basis. It is no good stopping the production and sale of CFCs in this country if we allow them to be produced and used elsewhere, because CFCs damage the ozone layer that we all share.

We must accept that if we are to tackle the problems that will arise because of the Third world's growing need for energy, we must allow those countries to develop a positive policy towards the environment. I attended a conference in Ottawa recently about global warming. We considered charging $10 for every tonne of carbon emitted into the atmosphere or the equivalent of approximately $2 per barrel of petrol. That would allow for the collection of £55 billion a year, which is a substantial amount.

I could have made many other points if time had permitted. However, I shall say only that we must recognise that we have spent billions of pounds preparing ourselves for an attack from an imaginary enemy in the east, so we should be prepared now to spend a similar amount to tackle the problems facing the Third world and the environment. That is the real challenge and we shall fail our children and our grandchildren if we do not wake up to that responsibility.

Order. I do not want it to be taken as a precedent, but I shall call the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) now.

9.42 pm

I promise to be extremely brief, Mr. Speaker, because I understand that both Front-Bench spokesmen want to reply to the debate. This has been an extremely important debate and the Opposition Front Bench are to be congratulated on choosing this subject and on giving it the importance that it deserves. My hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) is to be congratulated on her excellent speech which I fully support. I similarly support the Opposition motion.

There will be a demonstration tomorrow on the Albert embankment outside the Montreal protocol meeting about CFCs. Most of the demonstrators, including people from Friends of the Earth and other groups, will be calling for a complete ban on CFC production. I fully support that. That is a crucial decision because we must decide whom we support and consider the environment.

If we are to ban CFC production completely, as I believe that we should, we must also accept that considerable support must be given to other countries which wish to continue to produce refrigerators and similar products. The technology to produce those goods without CFCs must be transferred to China, India and other countries which need it. If that does not happen, we cannot lecture those countries about producing CFCs while we hold that technology to ourselves and use it as an economic lever against poorer countries and poorer people throughout the world.

The economic imbalance between countries is at the root of the world's problems. Some Conservative Members spoke eloquently and at great length with an inbuilt assumption that resources automatically flow from the richest people in the richest countries to the poorest people in the poorest countries. That simply does not happen, and it has not happened for several hundred years. The resources of the poorest countries have been plundered and taken to the industrial countries, and it is still happening now. The debt crisis means that $50 billion flows north. Economic models have been implanted in the debtor countries by the International Monetary Fund. Schools, hospitals and social services centres are closed, and environmental damage is imposed on those countries by the debt crisis.

I crave the indulgence of the House briefly to quote from one of my favourite newspapers, the Utusan Konsumer, produced by the Consumers Association of Penang—an excellent organisation which sponsors the third-world network. That newspaper has a full page headed "Dicing with debt". It explains exactly what has been happening in the past 10 years. The real price of sugar has dropped by 20 per cent., linseed oil by 9 per cent., and groundnuts by 9 per cent. The amount of exports required by poorer countries simply to maintain interest payments on the debt has shot up year after year, at the same time as the United States Government are maintaining a massive federal Government spending deficit and promoting massive arms expenditure.

If we are to sort out the problems of poverty and of the environment, we require a real restructuring of the world's economy. That will not be achieved by imposing a model of market forces on the poorest people in the poorest countries but by paying those people for the products that they produce, not hoarding technological advances for ourselves but sharing and spreading them around the world, and not persuading and pushing countries to revert to monoculture production, which is dangerous and damaging to the environment.

Much more could be said, and the debate is crucial. I hope that the Government will recognise that cuts in their aid budget show no real concern for the rest of the world and merely demonstrate their meanness towards the rest of the world while promoting an economic policy which continues to promote the flow of wealth from the poorest to the richest.

9.46 pm

Hon. Members who have participated in this excellent debate should be congratulated. I refer in particular to English hon. Members who, as the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester) rightly said, eschewed other competing attractions. As a Scot, I can only wish the English team well—we are not there any more. My hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike) deserves congratulations not only because he eschewed other attractions but because he was present throughout the debate—on his birthday. All hon. Members appreciate his commitment to this topic.

The hon. Member for Gravesham (Mr. Arnold), having regretted the party political nature of the debate, made the most partisan speech so far. What he said was rubbish. He may not realise it—he may not wish to admit it—but in the last few years of the Labour Government, aid was rising as a percentage of the gross national product, and by 1979 it was more than 0·51 per cent. It is now only 0·31 per cent.

The Minister has been misusing statistics. In attacking my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd), she denied—or pretended to deny—that our commitment to 0·7 per cent. within five years existed, even after I pointed out the error. She then tried to get the best of both worlds by attacking the consequences of our commitment to 0·7 per cent., by saying that it was expensive and profligate. Yet Germany already gives 0·41 per cent., France 0·78 per cent., the Netherlands 0·94 per cent., and Denmark 1 per cent., in all cases with a much healthier gross national product than the United Kingdom. The Government's official development assistance has reduced by a quarter in real terms since 1979. Those are the real facts, not the ones that we got from the Minister and from the hon. Member for Gravesham. Their statistics are not facts.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley referred to the green glossy handbook on the environment and the British aid programme.

It is, indeed, the pinnacle of doubletalk and contradiction from the Government. Under a smiling and attractive colour photograph of the Minister of State, her foreword reads—[Interruption.] The right hon. Lady will have her opportunity to reply. The foreword reads:
"In the last three years we have given a major boost to environmental issues".
Later, in what might be considered an unusual bout of honesty, the foreword continues:

"Words and deeds are sometimes a long way apart".
Words and deeds are certainly a long way apart under this Government. That is true in relation to pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, the tropical rain forests and Antarctica. The reality of the Government's deeds is a long way from the rhetoric of their words.

The proof of the pudding is, indeed, in the eating. The report of the National Audit Office on bilateral aid to India has already been mentioned. The Public Accounts Committee took evidence on that issue in February. The report has not yet been published, although the evidence has. Hon. Members who serve on that Committee were extremely surprised to learn that the ODA has only two specialist advisers on environmental matters, who have worldwide responsibilities.

My hon. Friend has made an excellent point, which does not need any amplification.

The astonishing theme of the publication to which I have just referred—my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) also referred to it in his excellent speech—is the alleged compatibility of economic development on the one hand, and environmental protection on the other. There is a supposedly effective combination of market mechanisms and regulations. The Government seem to be saying to the developing world, "Fear not, market forces will protect you." That is the astonishing theme of that document. But that is not the experience of the victims of the Bhopal disasters or the Exxon Valdez and Balvia Paraiso oil spillages. Fishermen in many a polluted sea or river have other tales to tell about who discharged the toxic waste and how they need regulations to protect them from free market forces which put the pursuit of profit above all else.

I shall not give way. This has been an interesting debate for hon. Members who have been present throughout, which the right hon. Gentleman has not.

The principal example with which I shall demonstrate the doubletalk of Toryspeak is their policy towards Antarctica which is the world's only relatively unspoilt continent and has a unique ecosystem. Almost a year ago—on 4 July 1989—I led our opposition to the Government's Antarctic Minerals Bill on the basis that, far from protecting the Antarctic, the Bill represented a prospectors' charter. We supported a proposal from the Australian Government that Antarctica should be designated a world park and kept free from exploration and development. Even then, that proposal was receiving support from France, although the Minister tried to pretend that the opposite was the case. In fact, France is now a co-sponsor of the plan, which also has the support of Belgium, Italy, West Germany and New Zealand, and now even Poland, America and the Soviet Union are having second thoughts about the minerals convention.

If the Government are really serious about conservation and wish to put the interests of the environment before commercial interests, they will join the growing chorus rejecting the Antarctic minerals convention, and they will join the growing support to establish a world park in Antarctica. I will give the Minister a chance to intervene if she can tell us that at the meeting in Santiago in November the British Government will at the very least support a long-term moratorium on mineral prospecting in Antarctica. Better still, I hope that the Government will take a leading part in supporting the world park plan. The next Labour Government will certainly do so. Moreover, we shall make 0·7 per cent. of GNP our aid target within the lifetime of our Administration after the next election. That is why the people of the third world, as much as the people of the United Kingdom, are waiting, hoping and praying for the return of a Labour Government.

9.54 pm

As always, this has been an interesting debate. In the few minutes available to me I shall try to respond to some of the points that have been raised. I refer in particular to the National Audit Office report on the Indian aid programme, which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Bar (Mr. Rooker).

The hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) made highly selective references to the NAO report, in particular to the Rihand power station project. I have a copy of the report to hand now, although it was not available to me earlier in the debate. I do not intend to comment in detail on it; the Public Accounts Committee has yet to report. In order, however, to put matters in context, I intend to refer to paragraphs 19 and 20. The National Audit Office found that
"the Administration"—
that is, the Overseas Development Administration—
"have developed sound procedures which their staff operate in a professional and competent manner. Aid projects have certainly produced highly beneficial results in terms of the Administration's objectives.
Reference is made to the projects in the following paragraph. The NAO says that projects
"continue to have worthwhile outcomes which have a positive impact on development."
Despite the fact that it has had problems, Rihand is a highly successful project. We were aware of the ash disposal and other problems. That is why I undertook, as soon as I arrived at the Department, to work with the Indian Government on solving them. The most important point abut Rihand is that it will use efficient and clean technology. Anything of that sort that is done must help a nation that is trying hard to help itself to produce, to trade and to earn currency. The hon. Lady ignored the many jobs that are provided both in India, as a result of Rihand, and in this country, in companies that are involved with the project. I reject also as beneath contempt the serious allegations which have no foundation whatever, which the hon. Lady made on other matters.

As for the environment, we have not heard very much about the non-governmental organisations, but I pay tribute to them for their work on environmental issues. With them, we support 56 environmental projects costing £6 million. They are doing extremely well. Reference has been made to global warming. The Overseas Development Administration has commissioned the only study into the options to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the third world. The ODA has also undertaken a study of the options for phasing out chlorofluorocarbons. Much of the work initiated by my Department lies behind the work now being done on the Montreal protocol.

In January I made it absolutely clear that western technology needed to be shared with the third world. I said that I was prepared to investigate the use of the aid and trade provision for sharing that technology. That is exactly the way in which the west should help the third world to adopt modern, good and sound technology if we are to reduce the environmental problems that face us.

I endorse all that was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester) in his speech on the aid and trade provision. He was absolutely right; I shall not repeat what he said. I congratulate also the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington) on what he said about the critical importance of population planning. He was right to refer to the importance of women, not just in health, education, housing and welfare. We are pursuing an active programme to enhance the status of women through the development programmes. An excellent Bangladeshi non-governmental organisation has been successful in helping women to achieve investment through credit unions. I recommend to the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Ms. Primarolo) the Bangladeshi rural action committee project in Bangladesh.

We have an excellent programme. We want to do more to help the third world improve the environment through our aid programme. We have a good foundation on which to build. I am determined to ensure that that is successfully carried out, in full co-operation with our partners in the European Community and worldwide through UNDP and all the other good organisations.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 195, Noes 260.

Division No. 265]

[10 pm


Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)
Allen, GrahamBarron, Kevin
Alton, DavidBeckett, Margaret
Anderson, DonaldBell, Stuart
Archer, Rt Hon PeterBenn, Rt Hon Tony
Ashton, JoeBennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Bermingham, Gerald
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Bidwell, Sydney

Blunkett, DavidJanner, Greville
Boateng, PaulJones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Boyes, RolandJones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Bradley, KeithKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Kirkwood, Archy
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)Lambie, David
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)Lamond, James
Buckley, George J.Leadbitter, Ted
Caborn, RichardLeighton, Ron
Callaghan, JimLestor, Joan (Eccles)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Lewis, Terry
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Litherland, Robert
Campbell-Savours, D. N.Livingstone, Ken
Canavan, DennisLivsey, Richard
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Carr, MichaelLofthouse, Geoffrey
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)McAllion, John
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)McAvoy, Thomas
Clay, BobMcCartney, Ian
Clwyd, Mrs AnnMacdonald, Calum A.
Cohen, HarryMcKelvey, William
Coleman, DonaldMcLeish, Henry
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)McNamara, Kevin
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Madden, Max
Corbett, RobinMahon, Mrs Alice
Corbyn, JeremyMarek, Dr John
Cousins, JimMartin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Cox, TomMartlew, Eric
Crowther, StanMaxton, John
Cryer, BobMeale, Alan
Cummings, JohnMichael, Alun
Cunliffe, LawrenceMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dalyell, TamMichie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Moonie, Dr Lewis
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)Morgan, Rhodri
Dewar, DonaldMorley, Elliot
Dixon, DonMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dobson, FrankMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Doran, FrankMowlam, Marjorie
Duffy, A. E. P.Mullin, Chris
Dunnachie, JimmyNellist, Dave
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethOakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Eastham, KenO'Brien, William
Evans, John (St Helens N)O'Neill, Martin
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Fatchett, DerekParry, Robert
Fearn, RonaldPatchett, Terry
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Pike, Peter L.
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Flannery, MartinPrescott, John
Flynn, PaulPrimarolo, Dawn
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelQuin, Ms Joyce
Foster, DerekRandall, Stuart
Foulkes, GeorgeRees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Fraser, JohnReid, Dr John
Fyfe, MariaRichardson, Jo
Galloway, GeorgeRobertson, George
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)Robinson, Geoffrey
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnRogers, Allan
Godman, Dr Norman A.Rooker, Jeff
Gould, BryanRoss, Ernie (Dundee W)
Graham, ThomasRowlands, Ted
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)Ruddock, Joan
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Salmond, Alex
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)Sheerman, Barry
Grocott, BruceSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Heal, Mrs SylviaShore, Rt Hon Peter
Henderson, DougShort, Clare
Hinchliffe, DavidSkinner, Dennis
Hood, JimmySmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Howells, GeraintSmith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)Snape, Peter
Hoyle, DougSoley, Clive
Hughes, John (Coventry NE)Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Steinberg, Gerry
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Stott, Roger
Illsley, EricStrang, Gavin
Ingram, AdamStraw, Jack

Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Taylor, Rt Hon J. D. (S'ford)Wilson, Brian
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)Winnick, David
Thomas, Dr Dafydd ElisWise, Mrs Audrey
Turner, DennisWorthington, Tony
Vaz, KeithWray, Jimmy
Wallace, JamesYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)

Mr. Frank Haynes and

Williams, Rt Hon Alan

Mrs. Llin Golding.


Adley, RobertFookes, Dame Janet
Aitken, JonathanForman, Nigel
Alexander, RichardForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelForth, Eric
Allason, RupertFox, Sir Marcus
Amess, DavidFranks, Cecil
Arbuthnot, JamesFreeman, Roger
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)French, Douglas
Arnold, Sir ThomasGardiner, George
Ashby, DavidGarel-Jones, Tristan
Aspinwall, JackGill, Christopher
Atkins, RobertGlyn, Dr Sir Alan
Atkinson, DavidGoodlad, Alastair
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Batiste, SpencerGow, Ian
Bendall, VivianGrant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Benyon, W.Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Bevan, David GilroyGregory, Conal
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGriffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Blackburn, Dr John G.Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterGround, Patrick
Body, Sir RichardGrylls, Michael
Bonsor, Sir NicholasHague, William
Boscawen, Hon RobertHamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Boswell, TimHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Hampson, Dr Keith
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Hannam, John
Bowis, JohnHargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir RhodesHargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardHarris, David
Brandon-Bravo, MartinHaselhurst, Alan
Brazier, JulianHayes, Jerry
Bright, GrahamHayward, Robert
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Heathcoat-Amory, David
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon AlickHeseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Burt, AlistairHicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Butcher, JohnHicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Hill, James
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hind, Kenneth
Carrington, MatthewHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Carttiss, MichaelHordern, Sir Peter
Cash, WilliamHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs LyndaHowe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Chapman, SydneyHowell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Colvin, MichaelHunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Conway, DerekHunter, Andrew
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Irvine, Michael
Cormack, PatrickIrving, Sir Charles
Cran, JamesJack, Michael
Devlin, TimJackson, Robert
Dorrell, StephenJanman, Tim
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesJessel, Toby
Dunn, BobJohnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Durant, TonyJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Dykes, HughJones, Robert B (Herts W)
Emery, Sir PeterJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)Key, Robert
Evennett, DavidKilfedder, James
Fairbairn, Sir NicholasKing, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Fallon, MichaelKnapman, Roger
Favell, TonyKnight, Greg (Derby North)
Fenner, Dame PeggyKnight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Knowles, Michael
Finsberg, Sir GeoffreyKnox, David
Fishburn, John DudleyLang, Ian

Latham, MichaelNorris, Steve
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkOppenheim, Phillip
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Page, Richard
Lightbown, DavidPaice, James
Lilley, PeterPatnick, Irvine
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Patten, Rt Hon John
Lord, MichaelPattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Luce, Rt Hon RichardPawsey, James
Macfarlane, Sir NeilPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnPorter, Barry (Wirral S)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)Porter, David (Waveney)
Maclean, DavidPortillo, Michael
McLoughlin, PatrickPrice, Sir David
McNair-Wilson, Sir MichaelRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
McNair-Wilson, Sir PatrickRedwood, John
Malins, HumfreyRenton, Rt Hon Tim
Mans, KeithRhodes James, Robert
Maples, JohnRiddick, Graham
Marland, PaulRidley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Marlow, TonyRidsdale, Sir Julian
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Rost, Peter
Maude, Hon FrancisRowe, Andrew
Mawhinney, Dr BrianRumbold, Mrs Angela
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinRyder, Richard
Miller, Sir HalSainsbury, Hon Tim
Mills, IainShaw, David (Dover)
Miscampbell, NormanShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Mitchell, Sir DavidShelton, Sir William
Moate, RogerShephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Monro, Sir HectorShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Montgomery, Sir FergusShepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Morrison, Sir CharlesSkeet, Sir Trevor
Moss, MalcolmSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Neale, GerrardSoames, Hon Nicholas
Needham, RichardSpicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Neubert, MichaelSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Newton, Rt Hon TonySquire, Robin
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Stanbrook, Ivor
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John

Steen, AnthonyVaughan, Sir Gerard
Stern, MichaelWakeham, Rt Hon John
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)Ward, John
Stokes, Sir JohnWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Stradling Thomas, Sir JohnWarren, Kenneth
Sumberg, DavidWells, Bowen
Summerson, HugoWheeler, Sir John
Taylor, Ian (Esher)Whitney, Ray
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Widdecombe, Ann
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)Wiggin, Jerry
Temple-Morris, PeterWinterton, Mrs Ann
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)Winterton, Nicholas
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)Wolfson, Mark
Thornton, MalcolmWood, Timothy
Thurnham, PeterWoodcock, Dr. Mike
Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Tracey, Richard
Trippier, David

Tellers for the Noes:

Trotter, Neville

Tom Sackville and

Twinn, Dr Ian

Nicholas Baker.

Question accordingly negatived.

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No.30 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

MR. SPEAKER declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.


That this House notes the high quality of the Government's substantial and growing aid programme; commends the Government for its efforts to integrate environmental concerns to achieve sustainable development; and applauds its actions and proposals to help developing countries tackle both local and global environmental concerns.