Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

Dan Boyle

Question:

195 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance if the forthcoming annual report of Ireland's participation in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will contain a statement of the Government's policy in relation to debt cancellation, the International Monetary Fund suspension of debt reduction, a review of poverty reduction strategy papers and a review of the poverty reduction and growth facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2957/03]

Dan Boyle

Question:

196 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance the instructions given to Irish representatives in Washington to promote the policy of debt cancellation; the actions taken to date by them and other Irish representatives; the response which has been received from the World Bank and IMF and from individual countries, especially Canada; the Government's plans to promote debt cancellation policy during 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2958/03]

Dan Boyle

Question:

197 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance the details of countries for whom interim debt relief has been suspended by the International Monetary Fund; the reason it has been suspended; the position the Government took on these suspensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2959/03]

Dan Boyle

Question:

198 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance the details of Ireland's response to, and specific proposals made in view of the findings of, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers Review, especially to the evidence of little change in macro and structural policies from previous IMF and World Bank programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2960/03]

Dan Boyle

Question:

199 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance the details of Ireland's response to, and specific proposals made in view of the findings of, the poverty reduction and growth facility review, especially the lack of linkage of growth to poverty reduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2961/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 to 199, inclusive, together.

The annual report of Ireland's participation in the Bretton Woods Institutions in 2002 will deal with issues relative to the IMF and the World Bank Group activities during the year which include matters such as those referred to in the Deputy's questions.
I expect to publish that report in mid-March 2003.
As the Deputy will be aware the Government issued, in July 2002, a comprehensive policy statement on the issue of developing country debt. The full document, which covers many aspects of the debt question and the linkage between it and the issues of development and poverty reduction, is available through the Ireland Aid office and will also be available very shortly on the new Ireland Aid website.
However, for ease of reference, I am circulating a copy of the executive summary from the statement. The Government's position on debt cancellation and on the ongoing action in debt relief is set out quite fully in paragraphs 7 to 16 of that summary.
I can assure the Deputy that Ireland's representatives at the World Bank and the IMF are fully aware of that policy. I can also assure the Deputy that the position of the authorities is well known to our constituency partners and within the governing bodies of the organisations.
There are up to 184 members of the Bretton Woods Institutions and a number of these support debt cancellation. Ireland is making efforts to bring the issue of debt relief, among other issues such as HIV-AIDS and education, to the attention of other members of the institutions. However, debt cancellation is linked to additional resources being made available for overseas development aid, primarily by the larger donor countries.
The World Bank and the IMF represent the views of its shareholders, who have mixed views on debt cancellation. Decisions are heavily influenced by the major shareholders of the institutions and while Ireland supports 100% debt cancellation in principle, most of the major shareholders do not. Canada has been supportive of debt relief but does not share our view on cancellation.
The details of the IMF and the World Bank Group day to day operational policy in relation to the suspension of interim debt relief is available on the web sites of the IMF and the World Bank and as that position changes constantly it is not possible to give the information requested.
Work is ongoing on the poverty reduction and growth facility, PRGF, and poverty reduction strategy papers, PRSP. I expect these matters to be discussed at the upcoming spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank.