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Sustainable Development

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on what remit relating to sustainable development is (a) required of and (b) undertaken by his Department's (i) executive agencies, (ii) advisory non-departmental bodies, (iii) executive non-departmental bodies, (iv) tribunals, (v) public corporations and (vi) other bodies. [120051]

The FCO has a long-standing commitment to promoting international sustainable development based on the outcome of the Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992, and more recently, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. Promoting sustainable development is one of the top seven strategic policy priorities for the FCO over the next 10 years. The FCO expects all organisations for which it is responsible to reflect the strategic objectives of the Department. In the light of the right hon. Gentleman's question these organisations are being reminded of our commitments.The FCO has two Public Service Agreements that relate to sustainable development (Business Plan 2002–06):

Public Service Agreement 7

Make globalisation work for sustainable development in the UK and internationally (especially in Africa) by promoting democracy and the rule of law, good

economic and environmental governance, and security of long-term energy supply, measured by specific underlying targets.

Public Service Agreement 11

Improvement in the governance, environment and security of the overseas territories, and more diversified economic development, as measured by implementation of the commitments in the 1999 White Paper, "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity—Britain and the Overseas Territories".

We cannot be secure or prosperous in isolation from the rest of the world. We are working towards poverty reduction and sustainable development in all parts of the world and we are promoting democratic values, human rights and good government which underpin this. The FCO works closely with other Government Departments (OGDs), NGOs, business, international organisations, to deliver these outcomes.

The FCO is working to secure commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development on a range of issues. For example, the FCO is playing a leading role in partnerships on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Partnership for Principle 10 (environmental governance), and the Sustainable Tourism Initiative. It is also working with OGDs on commitments around International Sustainable Development Governance, co-ordinated World Summit for Sustainable Development/Monterray follow-up, trade reform Corporate Social Responsibility, oceans, and sustainable production and consumption.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment is made of environmental impact against sustainable development criteria of bids for grants awarded by his Department; and whether these assessments are published. [120052]

All bidders to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global Opportunities Fund (GOF) are required to disclose whether the project has been screened for potential environmental impacts, and to describe any impacts inherent in their projects. Bids to the GOF are assessed by officials, depending on the nature of the proposal, against criteria which include the potential environmental impact of the project. Their assessments are not published, but bidders are given comprehensive feedback on unsuccessful bids.