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Technical Assistance

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the outcome of the enhanced integrated framework pilot scheme to improve the efficiency of trade-related technical assistance to developing countries was; and if this will be extended to a wider initiative. [56663]

Clare Short [holding answer 16 May 2002]: Three countries (Cambodia, Madagascar and Mauritania) were selected for the pilot phase of the Integrated Framework (IF) on the basis of demonstrating a clear choice and commitment to the mainstreaming of trade into their development plans, through the Poverty Reduction

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Strategy Paper (PRSP) process. This process helped the three countries to identify and prioritise trade-related technical assistance (TRTA) requirements from infrastructure to human resources within a coherent policy framework. Donors are now in the process of responding to these needs and the final review of the outcome of the pilot phase will be issued in October.

At the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference held in Doha in November 2001, the IF was endorsed as a model for LDCs trade development. In this context, eleven countries, Lesotho, Malawi, Senegal, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Nepal and Yemen were selected for the next phase of the enhanced IF, and work has already begun. In all 45 countries have been identified.

We remain convinced that the Integrated Framework is the best approach for mainstreaming trade into national development plans and strategies for poverty reduction, as well as being an effective mechanism for supporting donor coordinated delivery of TRTA.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what is being done to prevent violence against Pashtuns in Afghanistan. [56967]

Clare Short: The Afghan Interim Administration (AIA) has established an independent commission to investigate reports of ethnically motivated violence. Following a visit to northern Afghanistan in February 2002, the commission made a number of recommendations for improving security in the area, which are currently being considered by the AIA. These include the creation of a collaborative mechanism for addressing complaints, made up of representatives of all ethnic groups in the north, including Pashtuns.

The UK is working with the Afghan Interim Administration, other donors and international agencies to strengthen the ability of the Afghan authorities to enforce the rule of law. An Afghan-led, internationally supported security sector reform programme is crucial to ensuring the capacity of the Afghan state both to deter further human rights abuses and to bring those responsible for human rights abuses to justice.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the rights of women in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. [56966]

Clare Short: Important progress has been made in restoring women's rights in Afghanistan. We welcome the involvement of women in the Afghan Interim Administration (AIA) and the Special Commission for the Convening of the Loya Jirga. Women have begun to return to work and girls are going back to school. But it is a slow process and more needs to be done. The UK is working closely with the AIA and the rest of the international community, to ensuring women's full and effective participation in civil, cultural, economic, political and social life throughout Afghanistan.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the extent of violence against Pashtuns in Afghanistan. [56968]

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Clare Short: There have been a number of recent reports of abuses against Pashtuns, particularly in northern Afghanistan. These abuses include beatings, extortion, looting and sexual violence. Pashtuns are believed to have been targeted because of associations between their ethnic group and the Taliban regime.

In February 2002, the Afghan Interim Administration (AIA) authorised a high-level independent commission to investigate reports of ethnically motivated violence in Afghanistan. A three person team from the commission visited northern Afghanistan to meet with local people and commanders to investigate reports of abuses against Pashtuns. Based on their findings, the commission made a series of recommendations which the AIA are now considering. Human Rights Watch has also investigated reports of abuses against Pashtuns. Their report—which can be found on their website (http//—is the result of interviews and discussions with local people in Balkh, Faryab, Samangan and Baghlan provinces, representatives of the AIA and humanitarian workers.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many internally displaced people there are in Afghanistan; and what assistance is being provided to them. [56965]

Clare Short: In January 2002, the United Nations estimated that there were approximately 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan. Since then, approximately 160,000 IDPs have returned to their homes with assistance from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). A further 400,000 IDPs are estimated to have returned home spontaneously, without international assistance.

IDPs, as victims of conflict and the ongoing effects of the drought, are among the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan, and are targeted by UN agencies, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance. It is a priority in 2002 for the Afghan Interim Administration and the international community to ensure reintegration of uprooted Afghans who wish to return home. Programmes coordinated by UNHCR and IOM are under way to physically transport returnees back to their places of origin, build the capacity of communities to absorb returning families, and integrate short-term programmes with longer-term strategies to ensure sustainable reintegration of returnees. Since September 2001, my Department has contributed £3 million to UNHCR and £3.6 million to IOM for their programmes in the region.



Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on paying pensions to retired employees of his Department in 2001–02; if he will estimate the corresponding amounts to be spent in (a) five years' time, (b) 10 years' time, (c) 20 years' time and (d) 30 years' time; if he will estimate in each case the proportion of such liabilities which will arise from (i) unfunded pension schemes and (ii) pre-funded pension schemes; and in the case of

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pre-funded schemes, if he will estimate the value of the corresponding pre-funded funds in each of these years. [57365]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The permanent civil servants in my Department are all secondees; pension liabilities remain with their home Departments.


Literacy and Numeracy

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent representations she has received in relation to the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies. [57722]

Mr. Timms: Over the last 12 months, the Secretary of State has been asked 22 Parliamentary Questions and received at lease 400 items of written correspondence, including correspondence via email, related to the National Literacy and Numeracy strategies. The Secretary of State also received a total of 206 responses in response to consultation in the Autumn term 2001 about the national targets at Key Stage 2 in English and mathematics for 2004.

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which recent studies of literacy and numeracy standards among primary school children her Department has analysed; and what assessment she has made of these studies. [57721]

Mr. Timms: The following reports have been published by Ofsted (about literacy and numeracy in primary schools) in the last 12 months:

The University of Toronto which is independently evaluating the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies produced the following report last year:

The Department has considered carefully the findings of these studies which have generally been supportive of the strategies and also helped to improve them.

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