Clause 3 - Humanitarian Assistance

Part of International Development Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:45 pm ar 13 Mawrth 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (International Development) 6:45, 13 Mawrth 2001

I beg to move amendment No. 9, in page 2, line 9, at end insert—

`(2) The Secretary of State shall make arrangements to ensure that humanitarian assistance provided under subsection (1) which is provided via other agencies or bodies shall comply with the same standards as to effectiveness and probity as apply to assistance disbursed directly.'.

It does not take a great brain to work out what lies behind the amendment, which would ensure that all humanitarian assistance provided by the United Kingdom to outside agencies such as the EU and the UN conforms to the same standards as bilateral humanitarian assistance. Aid distributed through multilateral agencies should be of the same standard as aid delivered bilaterally. We are worried that humanitarian assistance delivered by multilateral aid agencies is often unco-ordinated, of poor quality and slow.

The Minister will be familiar with all our specific criticisms of the aid that is delivered through the EU and the UN, and it would be curmudgeonly of me and unhelpful to the Committee to itemise them. They are well-rehearsed and the views they represent are shared throughout the House. We are always seeking ways in which we can improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance, particularly through the EU, which has a catalogue of fraud. However, at this stage of the Bill's passage, the amendment might be of benefit to the Government. I should like to hear the Minister's reaction to the amendment before I speak further.