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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Nairobi Office

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what is the total annual cost to her Department of its office in Nairobi; and if she will break down the figures into (a) staff and (b) other costs. [68097]

Clare Short: The total annual cost of the DFID Eastern Africa office in Nairobi is £2.87 million. The office is responsible for both the policy and implementation of development programmes for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to a combined value of £132 million (1999-2000).

The estimated costs for 1999-2000 are broken down as follows:



    (b) Other costs including office accommodation equipment, travel, etc: £870,000

Commonwealth Development Corporation

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if her Department's budget in the financial year 1999-2000 includes any expected proceeds from the sale of the Commonwealth Development Corporation. [68086]

Clare Short: I refer to my reply to the hon. Member on 2 November 1998, Official Report, column 301. There was no expectation of any proceeds in 1999-2000. As I have made clear, the figures for the development budget announced at the time of the Comprehensive Spending Review took account of some of the anticipated proceeds in subsequent years from the sale of the Commonwealth Development Corporation. However, if the proceeds were not realised in full, the development budget would nevertheless be maintained at the levels announced for 1999-2000 to 2001-02.

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures the Commonwealth Development Corporation will take to increase its return to investors following the introduction of the public/private partnership arrangements. [68102]

Clare Short: The Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) intends to achieve an increase in its investment returns, in part, through continuing the shift to equity investments. CDC's method of working, which relies on close management of equity positions, also improves its ability to identify and pursue good investments.

Rwanda

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the need for post-trauma counselling in Rwanda. [68101]

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Clare Short: We have not been directly involved in assessing the need for post-trauma counselling although other donors, including United Nations Children's Fund, have been involved in this important area. Rwanda is a deeply traumatised society. The Rwandan Government's reconciliation agenda recognises this. The partnership we are developing with the Government is focused on the provision of long-term, flexible financing in support of this agenda. The objectives of our support are set out in my letter of 26 January to my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Ms King), a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Somalia

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the humanitarian needs arising in Somalia. [68100]

Clare Short: The UN 1999 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia estimates that at least one million people will need emergency assistance, of whom more than 300,000 are at high risk. The main challenge is to prevent the deteriorating food situation in the south developing into a famine. I have recently agreed a £300,000 contribution towards United Nations Children's Fund supplementary feeding programmes in the area. The EC have provided 10,899 metric tonnes of food at a cost of £6 million which includes a UK contribution of £1.2 million.

The World Food Programme have sufficient food stocks to last until March and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Departmental Employees

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people were employed directly by her Department on (a) 1 September 1998 and (b) 1 January 1999. [68084]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development employed directly the following:

DateNumbers of staff
(a) September 19981,095
(b) January 19991,130

These figures do not include staff employed on contract terms both in the UK and overseas.

Sudan

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking in response to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. [68099]

Clare Short: We have continued to be a key donor to the 1998 crisis. The World Food Programme currently holds enough stocks until the end of March. We have pressed the UN system to increase efficiency and effectiveness by producing an appeal for 1999 which is realistic and focused on humanitarian priorities and which makes full use of all delivery methods. The UN 1999 Consolidated Appeal was issued last week and we will

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discuss it with other multilateral and bilateral donors at a meeting of the Operation Lifeline Sudan International Advisory Committee on 12 February.

We continue to press all parties to the civil war in Sudan to come to a negotiated settlement. Peace is the only long-term solution to the humanitarian crisis.

Departmental Responsibilities

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what responsibilities which her Department had prior to the Comprehensive Spending Review are to be (a) discontinued by her Department, (b) transferred to another department, (c) transferred to an executive agency and (d) added to her Department over the period 1998-99 to 2001-02. [68408]

Clare Short: The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) looked rigorously at all of the Department's programmes to ensure they met the new Government's objectives. Changes were made to ensure that our resources are focused more explicitly on the overarching goal of eliminating poverty. Specifically:





Colombia (Earthquake)

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department has taken to help the people of Colombia following the earthquake. [68569]

Clare Short: Our programme of support to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs helped ensure that these agencies moved speedily to conduct initial damage and needs assessments following the severe earthquake on Colombia on 25 January. We have responded quickly to the appeal for assistance from the Government of Colombia by contributing US$1 million through humanitarian agencies. In addition, the European Community's Humanitarian Office has contributed $1.25 million, of which the UK share is $187,500.

Our funds are supporting the Pan-American Health Organisation to enable the deployment of epidemiology specialists, conduct damage assessment to health facilities, water and sewerage infrastructure and purchase medical supplies; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to bring life-saving assistance to 100,000 people; Oxfam for a programme to provide drinking water for 80,000 people, as well as emergency shelter and household utensils, concentrating particularly on the poorer districts of the city of America and outlying

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towns; and United Nations Children's Fund to cover the immediate needs of children including those orphaned or separated from their families. Funds allocated to the British Embassy are providing urgently needed medicines and chemical toilets.

Inevitably a catastrophe of this nature and magnitude creates practical and logistical problems on the ground. Therefore, it is important that the relief is carefully targeted and effectively coordinated. We continue to work with the humanitarian agencies in Colombia and elsewhere to strengthen the international system to be better prepared and more effective in responding to disasters.

We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and remain ready to offer further assistance in Colombia to help with unmet priority needs that may emerge in coming days.


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