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Volume 537: debated on Wednesday 7 December 2011

The Department for International Development’s bilateral programme in Moldova came to a planned end in March 2011. Moldova has made progress in reducing poverty since it gained independence in 1991. It benefits from significant support from the international community. DFID continues to monitor development progress in Moldova through UK representation on the European neighbourhood programme management committee.

On a visit to Moldova a while ago, we had the opportunity to go to Transnistria and to see the courage of the women working with non-governmental organisations to combat the scourge of people trafficking, which has implications for us and for the whole of Europe. What can the Minister tell us about the approach of the British Government, and will he do more to help those non-governmental organisations?

I pay tribute to the right hon. Gentleman’s continued interest and support through the all-party parliamentary group for Moldova. Although there are now formal talks to seek to resolve the protracted Transnistrian conflict, he is right to draw the House’s attention to the continuing concern about trafficked women. He will know that across Government there is a series of initiatives focusing not only on identifying and supporting such women, but on stopping the sources of those who peddle this heinous practice.

Will the Minister commend the work of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in Moldova, both on a party-to-party basis and in parliamentary strengthening, particularly in the run-up to the presidential election on 16 December? Is not good governance the fastest way to tackle poverty?

My hon. Friend is right to demonstrate, through the work of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in Moldova, how important good governance is in alleviating poverty and in creating the conditions that all countries need to have the greatest possible opportunity for wealth creation and security. Of course, we all look forward to the Moldovan Parliament being able to elect a President soon, which will allow the Parliament to focus on the reform agenda that is necessary to bring Moldova closer to the EU. I am happy to pay tribute to the work of the WFD.