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Committee Mandates

International Development written question – answered on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the mandate of the Committee on Financial and Technical Assistance and Economic Co-Operation with Developing Countries in Asia and Latin America is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement.

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

Council Regulation (EC) No. 443/92 25 February 1992 establishes the framework for European Community financial and technical assistance, and economic co-operation with the countries of Asia and Latin America. Article 15 of the regulation states that the Commission shall be assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the member states chaired by a representative of the Commission.

The committee considers and delivers an opinion, by qualified majority voting, on development assistance financing proposals for country and regional strategies, projects and programmes in Asia and Latin America.

In the past 12 months the committee has met 11 times. The United Kingdom is represented by officials from the Department for International Development. Travel costs for DFID officials to attend meetings of the committee are met by the European Commission. Other costs incurred for attending this committee totalled £1,800 in the past 12 months.

EU development co-operation assistance in Asian has been focused on direct poverty reduction measures, for example through support for rural development, infrastructure and institutional capacity building. The environment sector has also received support with substantial programmes devoted to areas such as forest protection, biodiversity and environmental technology. The health and education sectors also feature significantly in EC efforts aimed at poverty reduction. Priority is given to the poorest populations, and to the poorer areas of developing countries, with a view to supporting economic activities that lead to sustainable development.

Together with the member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to

"simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Com (2001) 783 Final.

As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

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