Clause 9 - Definition of key terms

International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 15th February 2006.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee

With this we will take the following: clause 11 stand part.

Government New clause 3—Interpretation, and meaning of terms used in annual report.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Party Chair, Co-operative Party

I commend new clause 3 on the basis that the various changes that have been made to the Bill have resulted in clauses 9 and 11 being redundant. The new clause necessarily streamlines the Bill and I hope that the Committee will accept it.

Photo of Mark Simmonds Mark Simmonds Shadow Minister (International Development)

As the Minister rightly said, the new clause clarifies matters and sets down the definitions of the terms set out under the Bill. I welcome the fact that there is an additional definition of untied aid, which was not originally in the Bill. Will he explain where the reporting structures for progress towards harmonisation should be outlined in the Bill? Is it appropriate to place them in this clause? Harmonisation should be welcomed when it works for the recipients of aid, but the Minister will be aware that worry has been expressed by certain developing  countries that harmonisation is slowing down the process of delivering the necessary improvements that we all want. As was said to me not too long ago, there is also a danger that Governments are using it as a reason to “harmonise corruption” rather than to harmonise aid. I think that somewhere in the Bill, whether in clause 9 or elsewhere, reference should be made to the ever growing and important harmonisation issue to ensure that projects are sustainable and successful.

There have been examples of non-governmental organisations and others building a school and the funding running out after three years. After that, there is no funding to continue paying the teachers or to pay for the running of the school, so co-ordination and co-operation between various donors and recipient Governments are necessary. We support harmonisation, but do not understand where in the Bill it is analysed.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Party Chair, Co-operative Party

As for the requirement to report on the effectiveness of our spend in respect of the 20 or 25 countries, we shall report on our efforts to promote harmonisation and development of assistance under the Bill. Although such matters are not explained under the general definition of reporting on the effectiveness of our spend, we shall report on our efforts to promote harmonisation and predictability of aid. With that explanation, I urge the Committee to support new clause 3. As I said, it is a useful streamlining of the Bill. I suggested inadvertently that clause 10 needed to be deleted. We shall come to that shortly.

Question put and negatived.

Clause 9 disagreed to.

Clauses 10 and 11 disagreed to.

Clause 12 ordered to stand part of the Bill.