Oral Answers to Questions — World Bank Business Partnership

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

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Chair, Education Sub-committee 12:00 am, 25th April 2001

When she will next meet the Development Committee of the European Parliament to discuss the World Bank's business partnership for development. [157646]

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

We have met on a number of occasions with the European Parliament development committee to try to encourage stronger support for the reform of EC development efforts. In particular, we need to change EC financial regulations so that the Commission is able to collaborate with other international development institutions without first undertaking an audit. It seems fairly shocking that the EC of all bodies audits all other international organisations, whose performance is probably rather better, before it gives any money through them.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Chair, Education Sub-committee

My right hon. Friend is aware of the excellent support given by her Department to the World Bank's new business partnership for development, and the great success that many such projects are having, including the one that I will chair from June this year. As my right hon. Friend knows, by 2010 6 million people in the developing world will die not of AIDS, but because of traffic accidents, and 60 million will be seriously injured. I hope that she will speak straightforwardly to the European Parliament and the European Commission so that they can play an active part in supporting those innovations to stop such unnecessary loss of life and serious injury, and do that in partnership with business.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

I congratulate my hon. Friend on being selected as chair of the global road safety partnership. He is right: 10 million people a year throughout the world are badly injured in road accidents, 70 per cent. of them in developing countries. In developing countries, that does not mean just disability; it often throws families into poverty. It is an issue that we need to take more seriously. Numbers will rise and we must all co-operate with the important World Bank work. I wish my hon. Friend well with his efforts.

Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Conservative, Mid Sussex

Does the right hon. Lady nevertheless agree that the World Bank partnerships are extremely valuable, and that they deserve support, commitment and, above all, time to be made to work?

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

I agree very much with the hon. Gentleman. All such partnerships are about working with the private sector to promote development—for example, water, sanitation and better transport systems. The public sector cannot afford what the developing world needs in all those areas, but with collaboration, proper regulation and help with feasibility studies, we can get much greater investment into developing countries and improve people's lives. Such ways of working are helping to produce results.