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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 163 E/61

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(8 January 2001)

Commission co-operation with Cuba has, until now, relied for the most part on humanitarian aid funding.
As the circumstances that triggered the Humanitarian Office (ECHO) intervention in Cuba have changed,
the Commission intends to adapt its Commission cooperation to the new realities. ECHO’s activities are
being discontinued and replaced by other instruments, so that each of these instruments can be used
according to its own objectives. This implies modifying the relative weight of different instruments used
for cooperation with Cuba, increasing the importance of non-governmental (NGO) co-financing and
economic cooperation activities. It is foreseen that the global amount of Commission cooperation in
2000 will be similar to that of 1999 (€ 15-16 million in 2000, € 17,7 million in 1999).

The Commission has not changed its interpretation of the common position since its approval in 1996,
nor is there an intention to decrease cooperation with Cuba. The common position is the basis of
everything the Commission does in Cuba. It is precisely for this reason that the Commission has decided to
issue a call for proposals, explaining this, and ensuring that operations carried out by NGOs fit into this
agreed framework.

(2001/C 163 E/060) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3220/00

by Mary Honeyball (PSE) to the Commission

(17 October 2000)

Subject: Development of the Akamas, Cyprus

Will the Commission comment on the Cyprus Government’s pending decision to allow the development of
the Akamas Peninsular for tourism and assess whether such a decision is compatible with the European
Union’s Natura 2000 environmental policy?

Will the Commission say how this issue is being tackled during accession negotiations?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(23 November 2000)

As indicated in its reply to Written Question E-2905/00 of Mr Davies (1), the Commission is following
closely the issue of the Akamas peninsula through the various means at its disposal, which include the
chapter of the accession negotiations relating to the environment, on-going technical contacts with the
Cypriot authorities on environmental questions, and the various pre-accession instruments, such as the
regular report on progress towards accession. The Commission gave a detailed briefing on the Akamas
issue to the Community/Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee on 10 October 2000.

In March 2000 the Cypriot authorities took certain interim decisions intended to provide for sustainable
management of the Akamas peninsula. The authorities have informed the Commission that final decisions
would be taken after a dialogue with the interested parties, taking account of the relevant Community
acquis, and international and national obligations.

As part of the preparations for accession in relation to the environment, Cyprus will, in respect of the
habitats directive, Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992, on the conservation of natural habitats
and of wild fauna and flora (2), present a list of proposed sites to be designated as special areas of
conservation for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network. The proposal will include a clear definition of the
boundaries of the areas in question. A project under the LIFE programme, which is assisting the Cypriot
C 163 E/62 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 6.6.2001

authorities in this task, has identified the Akamas region in an indicative list of such areas. The designation
of Natura 2000 sites is due to be completed in the latter half of 2001. In the interim period the
Commission will continue to monitor whether Cyprus complies with the spirit of the legislation by
preserving the conservation interests of the region.

(1) See p. 19.

(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2001/C 163 E/061) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3224/00

by Robert Evans (PSE) to the Commission

(17 October 2000)

Subject: Bonded labour in Nepal

In January 2000, the Government of Nepal indicated its intention to ratify the International Labour
Organisation’s (ILO) Convention No 29 which prohibits bonded labour, and it reiterates this intent in
a declaration in July 2000.

In the light of this, can the Commission:

1. ascertain how the Government of Nepal intends to ensure that its declaration of 17 July 2000, which
prohibits bonded labour, is enforced, and whether it will now ratify ILO Convention No 29 on
bonded labour, and

2. provide an update on the rehabilitation programmes available to bonded labourers who are now free
under the declaration and the action being taken to ensure that former bonded labourers do not find
themselves expelled from their land without any means of subsistence?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(7 November 2000)

The Constitution of Nepal (1990), Article 20, guarantees the right against exploitation. It declares traffic in
human beings, slavery, serfdom or forced labour in any form is prohibited and any contravention of the
provision shall be punishable under law.

It may be noted that Nepal has already ratified four out of eight fundamental International Labour
Organisation (ILO) conventions.

As pointed out by the Honourable Member, the practice of bonded labour has come to an end with the
decision of the Government of Nepal on 17 July 2000.

The Government of Nepal has constituted a nine-member central co-ordination and monitoring committee
under the chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Development at the central
level and an eleven-member co-ordination and monitoring committee at the district level for the
identification of those freed from bonded labour and their rehabilitation.

Records of both government owned land as well as uncultivated land have been collected with a view to
facilitating development initiatives of government agencies or non-governmental organisations for the
rehabilitation of those freed (training, food for work programme, settlements on government land).

In order to achieve effectiveness in relief and rehabilitation works as well as to maintain co-ordination and
to supervise ongoing activities, a six-member team has been constituted under the convenorship of a Joint
Secretary in the Ministry of Land Reforms and Management. The team has already started its work.

Finally, as regards ratification of ILO Convention 29 on forced labour by Nepal, the Nepalese authorities
have state that the Convention will be submitted to the next winter session of the Parliament for approval.