International Development Committee Announcement

NEW INQUIRY: DFID AND CHINA

China's economy has experienced massive growth averaging at 10% per year over the past two decades. This has helped to reduce poverty in the country: between 1981 and 2004, the numbers of people living on less than $1 per day fell from 634 to 135 million. Yet the absolute number of people living in poverty this represents €” 10% of the population €” is substantial, and is concentrated amongst ethnic minorities, the elderly and people with disabilities. Hundreds of millions more people remain vulnerable to falling back into poverty. Major challenges include: widening access to basic services such as education, health, sanitation and water; addressing inequality and social exclusion; and managing environmental degradation and climate change.

The effect of China's rapid growth is being felt far outside its own national boundaries and means that China has become an influential development actor in its own right. Securing sufficient natural resources to drive growth and finding new markets for Chinese goods has led to an increasingly close relationship with many African countries, in particular. Total Chinese trade, investment and aid to the continent has grown dramatically and was estimated at $70 billion in 2007.

The UK will contribute £33.4 million of development funds to China in 2007/08. This support is given in grant form. The UK's development relationship with China is in transition: DFID expects to phase out its bilateral programme by 2011 and is moving instead towards a development partnership with China. This dialogue forms part of a joint agenda across the UK Government to influence China's role in global sustainable development issues such climate change and energy security.

The International Development Committee is to begin an inquiry into DFID and China. Key issues for the inquiry will include:

€ The appropriate size and scope of DFID's aid programme in China;

€ Aid effectiveness and DFID's 'added value' compared to other donors to China;

€ DFID's support to poverty reduction in China in both rural and urban settings and especially to basic services including education, health, sanitation and water;

€ The effectiveness of the UK Government's strategy to engage with China on international development, especially on Africa, climate change, sustainable development, poverty reduction and energy security;

€ China's relationship with multilateral development institutions;

€ DFID's strategy for phasing out its bilateral programme by 2011; and

€ DFID's support to addressing gender issues in China.

Submission of written evidence

The Committee invites individuals and organisations with relevant expertise and experience to submit written evidence on any of these issues. The Committee is particularly interested in receiving evidence from organisations based in China and other developing countries.

The deadline for submitting written evidence is Friday 18 April 2008.

Evidence submitted should:

€ if possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format, either by e-mail to [email protected] or on a disk. If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details

€ begin with a one page summary if it is longer than six pages

€ have numbered paragraphs

€ avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.

Submissions can also be sent by post to International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:

http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet, by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Those submitting written evidence should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee Membership is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Stephen Crabb MP (Con), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Jim Sheridan (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab), Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem).

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589, or [email protected]

Committee website: www.parliament.uk/indcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474)