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Oral Answers to Questions — HIV/AIDS

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th April 2001.

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Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development 12:00 am, 25th April 2001

If the hon. Gentleman discusses these matters with those who are working on them in the international community, I am happy to say that I think he will find that the UK is seen to be at the forefront. I agree that when Governments give the lead, from president through to every village in public education, there is behaviour change, of the sort that we have seen among young people in Uganda. When Governments give the lead—more are doing so in Africa now—we can be more effective.

I do not agree that we should be divisive and say that bilateral is always best. We should work bilaterally where we have our historical obligations, and we should learn our lessons. We should be working also to make contributions to the multilateral system so as to make it more efficient. We should aim for an efficient and competent international development system that is working throughout the world. If we confine ourselves to the UK effort, there will be many countries where we do not make a contribution. Working as we have been, our influence spreads, as does the improvement in effectiveness throughout the world. That is the right approach.