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Eurofighter

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recommendations the Government received pertaining to the installation of the cannon in the Eurofighter; for what reason a cannon was an original feature; and if he will make a statement. [134183]

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Mr. Hoon: The cannon was originally included in the European Staff Requirement for Eurofighter as a close range air-to-air weapon. The improved minimum range capability of Eurofighter's Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile over previous such missiles, together with the pattern of operations over the last decade, mean that the gun now has only a minimal operational utility, and this is outweighed by its support, fatigue and training cost implications.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Prime Minister's answer of 17 July 2000, Official Report, column 2W, on Eurofighter, if he will define offensive air support in the context of his reply; and to what extent the 27 mm Mauser cannon was identified as an asset in that role of the Eurofighter. [134199]

Mr. Hoon: Further to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's answer of 17 July, offensive air support is a term used to describe air action against hostile land targets which are either in close proximity to, or in a position directly to affect, friendly forces. The original European Staff Requirement for Eurofighter does not identify the cannon as an asset in that role.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Chicken Farms (Kosovo)

7. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many chicken farms her Department is funding in Kosovo. [132187]

Mr. Foulkes: As part of our contribution to rehabilitation in Kosovo we funded a range of micro-projects to help repair facilities and support income-generation. This included start-up costs for four chicken farms.

Sierra Leone

8. Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what new initiatives she proposes to take in Sierra Leone. [132188]

Clare Short: In Sierra Leone we are already providing budgetary support, humanitarian relief and assistance to improve the effectiveness of Government particulars in financial management and anti-corruption.

The challenge in Sierra Leone is to extend Government control over the half of the country currently dominated by the rebels. For this reason we are providing equipment, training and advice to the new Sierra Leone army, strengthening the police and supporting improved management of the UN peacekeeping operation.

Departmental Funding

(Central and Eastern Europe)

9. Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on funding by her Department for the countries of central and eastern Europe. [132189]

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Mr. Foulkes: Our financial support to countries in central eastern Europe last year was £150 million through the EC and £182 million in direct spending--over £100 million of which was humanitarian relief for Kosovo.

The purpose of our spending is to improve economic management and Government effectiveness in order to better the lives of the people, particularly the poorest.

Rwanda

10. Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on Rwanda's progress in poverty reduction. [132190]

Clare Short: The Government of Rwanda's commitment to poverty reduction is strong. They have embarked on an ambitious programme of recovery from conflict, through national reconciliation and poverty reduction. The Government face many challenges but are committed to meeting the International Development Targets.

Ukraine

11. Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her Department's assistance to Ukraine. [132191]

Clare Short: Over the last five years we have provided over £44 million in direct assistance to Ukraine and expect to provide around £9 million this year. The UK also assists Ukraine through its contributions to multilateral agencies, including an average of £10 million a year as the UK share of European Community assistance.

Our objective in the Ukraine is to support the process of transition in a way which brings sustainable benefits to all levels of society with particular focus on poor and vulnerable groups. Over 30 per cent. of the population of Ukraine live in poverty.

12. Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects her Department is developing with the Ukraine, with particular reference to the issue of street children; and if she will make a statement. [132192]

Clare Short: Many of Ukraine's street children come from state orphanages. We are working with UNICEF to develop alternatives to institutional care, and to help establish a foster care system in four regions in Ukraine. We are also supporting the training of Ukraine's social workers, to increase their capacity to address the needs of vulnerable children, including street children.

Education

13. Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the work of her Department in promoting education. [132193]

Clare Short: Investing in basic education is vitally important for development and poverty reduction. Since May 1997 we have committed over £400 million to helping governments in developing countries to put in place sustainable education systems able to provide high-quality primary education to all their children.

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15. Mr. Geraint Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of investment in women's education in reducing poverty in the developing world. [132195]

Clare Short: Investment in education for girls has been shown consistently to be one of the most important determinants of development, with positive implications for all other measures of progress. World bank research has demonstrated that education increases the likelihood of women choosing to have smaller, healthier families and deciding to send their own children to school.

Nearly 900 million people are illiterate, and some 600 million of these are women. We are strongly committed to the international development targets of achieving universal primary education (UPE) by 2015 and gender equity in primary and secondary schooling by 2005. Achievement of UPE requires a strong commitment to gender equality. It needs a consciousness throughout the education system that changes of attitude and practice are necessary. We have in the last three years committed £400 million to support primary education programmes, all with a strong focus on gender equality. We will do more.

22. Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions took place at the annual World bank-IMF meeting in September on adopting a global initiative on education. [132203]

Clare Short: In the Development Committee, Ministers discussed progress in the implementation of the country-led approach to development embodied in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programmes (PRSP) process and Comprehensive Development Framework. We and others have repeatedly made it clear that education should feature prominently in countries' poverty reduction strategies.

The UK Ministerial Statement to the Development Committee reiterated our commitment to Education for All. We said:


Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the proportion of her departmental budget to be allocated for education over the next three years. [132204]

Clare Short: We are committed to the international development targets of achieving universal primary education by 2015 and gender equity in primary and secondary schooling by 2015, and to increasing investment in lifelong learning and skills development. Education is vitally important for development and poverty reduction and will continue to be given high

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priority in DFID's bilateral and multilateral programmes. We have committed £400 million to this work over the last three years and will do more.

21. Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if, following the comprehensive spending review, she has new proposals for attaining the international goal of universal primary education by 2015. [132201]

Clare Short: Real progress towards education for all will only be achieved and sustained within well-defined, country-owned strategies for the sector, firmly set within broader development and budgetary frameworks. We are opposed to any interpretation of the Framework for Action agreed at Dakar which calls for separate funds for education, new mechanisms and new conditionalities. We believe that the way forward is to ensure that education, and basic education in particular, is given priority within Poverty Reduction Strategy Programmes (PRSPs). It was agreed at Dakar, and reaffirmed by the G8 at Okinawa, that the international community will respond positively to requests for assistance from countries with sound education strategies. We have committed £400 million to primary education over the last three years and will do more.


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