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Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department gave to the Independent Electoral Commission in The Gambia (a) prior to and (b) during the presidential election held on 18 October. 
Clare Short: Since 1999 we have provided support to the Independent Electoral Commission to develop and upgrade its electoral records database. In the run up to the presidential elections we provided consultancy support and various items of equipment in support of the voter re-registration exercise.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she will give to the Independent Electoral Commission in The Gambia prior to its 2002 parliamentary elections. 
Clare Short: The support we have already provided to the Independent Electoral Commission prior to the presidential elections, particularly on voter re-registration, will also be relevant to the Parliamentary Assembly elections in 2002. We have not yet had discussions with the IEC about any additional requirements for the Assembly elections, but when we do so we will take into account possible support from other donors and experience in the presidential elections.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will review her programme of assistance to The Gambia following the presidential election held on 18 October. 
Clare Short: Over the past year our assistance to The Gambia has been concentrated on facilitating the electoral process, and on the implementation of the poverty reduction strategy. The future of the programme will depend on our overall assessment of The Gambian Government's commitment to poverty reduction, democracy and human rights. We will review the programme early in 2002.
Clare Short: We are financing a £15.3 million HIV/AIDS prevention and care project in China, which aims over five years to help the Government of China develop an effective national response to HIV/AIDS. We are also working with the Government of China to design specific support for the delivery of HIV/AIDS education to young people, where funding is likely to be in the region of £5 million over three years.
The Government of China recently launched their first five year action plan to contain, prevent and control HIV/AIDS. We are currently considering what further support we can offer the Government in helping them achieve this plan.
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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what stocks of (a) antiques, (b) paintings and (c) fine wines are held by her Department; if she will list such assets sold over the last three years together with the sale proceeds from such transactions; what plans she has to sell further such assets over the period of the current comprehensive spending review; and if she will make a statement. 
Clare Short: My Department has seven antiques (clocks) but no paintings (the only paintings we have are on loan from the Government Art Collection) and no fine wines. No such assets have been sold in the last three years, and there are no plans to sell these items.
Clare Short: The needs of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are desperate. Some progress on the peace process and a gradual improvement in access for humanitarian agencies has enabled my Department substantially to increase the level of our support for humanitarian work through well-established non-governmental organisations.
We have contributed funding towards direct humanitarian assistance particularly in the areas of health and nutrition, water and sanitation, prisoner protection, and assistance to refugees, child soldiers and other vulnerable groups. We have also funded human rights projects in the DRC and in the wider Great Lakes region. Since January 2001 we have committed £5.5 million to the ICRC's emergency appeal.
The Government are also working to promote an end to the country's conflict and a secure and lasting peace. We are providing support to the peace process through the office of the Facilitator for the National Dialogue had peace-building projects, and we are actively exploring opportunities to support the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of combatants in the country.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department plans to achieve at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg; and if she will make a statement. 
Clare Short: The latest version of the inter- departmentally agreed HMG objectives for WSSD is available on the Government's Sustainable Development website www.sustainable-development/gov/uk. In support of this strategy DFID will work to highlight the way more effective use of environmental resources can contribute to poverty reduction; and gaining wider international acceptance of the principles of strategic planning for sustainable development, which have already been agreed at ministerial level in the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.
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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has made to her Argentinean counterparts regarding the imprisonment of a group of Argentinean farmers who grew British hemp seed certified for industrial purposes only; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what stocks of (a) antiques, (b) paintings and (c) fine wines are held by her Department; if she will list such assets sold over the last three years together with the sale proceeds from such transactions; what plans she has to sell further such assets over the period of the current comprehensive spending review; and if she will make a statement. 
9. Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress the better regulation task force is making in relation to speeding up decisions required by existing environmental regulations and diminishing their burden on business. 
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Mr. Leslie: Led by the Civil Contingencies Committee, the Secretariat is co-ordinating a review of our tried and tested contingency plans in the light of the events of 11 September. We are taking all sensible steps to make sure the country is well prepared for any emergency or threat, including chemical and biological ones.
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