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28 Oct 2002 : Column 560Wcontinued
Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what preparations she has made to ensure the safety and continuity of service to the public in the event of a firefighters' strike; and what the cost is to the Department of these actions. 
Clare Short: The nature of my Department's work is such that there would be little direct impact on our service to the public as a result of a fire-fighter's strike. We are of course looking at our contingency arrangements in the event of a fire, and have taken action to raise the awareness of all our staff. No additional expenditure has been incurred.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the estimated amount of food aid required by the World Food Programme is; and how much has been distributed to (a) Zambia, (b) Zimbabwe, (c) Malawi, (d) Mozambique, (e) Lesotho, (f) Swaziland and (g) Angola. 
|Country||Planned food aid needs July 2002March 2003||Quantities delivered||Quantities in transit|
|Zimbabwe||452,955 MT||15,490 MT||51,400 MT|
|Malawi||264,501 MT||39,009 MT||80,636 MT|
|Zambia||130,603 MT||7,218 MT||46,467 MT|
|Mozambique||54,145 MT||0 MT||11 ,982 MT|
|Lesotho||64,089 MT||29,931 MT||33,577 MT|
|Swaziland||26,166 MT||818 MT||16,860 MT|
|Angola (to Dec 2003)||305,598 MT||77,366 MT||83,531 MT|
The World Food Programme (WFP) is currently revising its requirements for the southern Africa humanitarian crisis in the light of a recent assessment of needs to March 2003 by the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Vulnerability Assessment Committee of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Planning since April has assumed that needs will peak in the period December 2002 to March 2003.
Figures do not include food aid from WFP's previous country-specific programmes which have been transferred to the regional emergency operation, and which met needs early in the marketing year from May. Neither do they include food aid deliveries through other (non-WFP) parallel pipelines.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she and her Department have to meet representatives of the Libyan Government. 
Clare Short: None, at present.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many Departmental
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staff have been seconded to multilateral aid organisations for the purpose of improving aid effectiveness in the last five years. 
Clare Short: There are currently 69 DFID staff seconded to multilateral aid organisations. There is no central record of staff seconded in previous years.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of overseas aid is spent on (a) basic health care and (b) education. 
Clare Short: The information required on the proportion of the UK's bilateral aid programme allocable by sector in 200102 is:
Basic health care: 12 per cent.
These figures represent expenditure on projects and programmes specific to these sectors but do not capture the full extent of our efforts in each policy area because they exclude multisector projects and programmes, strategic funding to civil society organisations and budget support and balance of payments. Also excluded are activities funded through multilateral channels.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what efforts are being made to improve the quality of data collection in the measurement of aid effectiveness. 
Clare Short: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide an internationally agreed framework for assessing the overall effectiveness of the development effort. A working set of 48 indicators has been agreed against which to measure progress. These provide a baseline for the international community to help ensure an adequate set of internationally available indicators that the UN will use to report global progress annually.
Within individual countries DFID and other donors are committed to using Government performance indicators and data whenever possible to monitor progress. This minimises additional demands for information on developing countries, and allows us to strengthen country statistical systems at the same time as improving data for measuring our own effectiveness.
Most of the world's poorest countries are developing Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs) which set out how their Governments will address poverty. These PRSs must set out a monitoring framework which specifies the indicators which the Government and donors will use to assess progress. These frameworks have focussed attention on the poor quality and availability of existing data, and have encouraged increased and better co-ordinated Government and donor support to build capacity to collect the information required. DFID is currently supporting the PRS monitoring process in several countries, including Uganda, Malawi, Pakistan and Ghana, both directly and by helping to build general statistical capacity to underpin the PRS framework. Other bilateral donors are supporting efforts here and elsewhere. Strengthening country data systems also improves the availability and quality of the
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data required for global MDG monitoring. DFID is currently working with the UN and the World bank to improve the systems for collecting the required data from countries and disseminating these internationally.
In addition, there are several multilateral initiatives which aim to improve the quality of data available within partner countries. The IMF's General Data Dissemination System projectpartly funded by DFIDsupports African countries in drawing up and implementing plans for improving their statistical systems. The World bank is currently considering ways of improving its capacity for results-based management, including new ways of increasing the funding available for statistical capacity building. The EC is in the process of drawing up guidelines for good practice in donor reporting and monitoring and working to encourage greater harmonisation among donors.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the projects in which her Department has undertaken joint evaluations of aid effectiveness with other major donors over the last 12 months. 
Clare Short: During the last 12 months DFID's Evaluation Department has participated in the following joint studies:
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what consideration is given to anti-corruption strategies in the formulation of poverty reduction strategy papers. 
Clare Short: While no rigid guidelines have been set for Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS), it is expected that countries will address major impediments to poverty reduction such as corruption. My Department continues to work closely with IMF, the World Bank, and the World Bank Institute on a wide range of initiatives to support anti corruption measures in partner countries, and in the development of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS). Commitments and plans for anti-corruption programmes can also be assessed when the PRS is presented to the IMF and World Bank Boards.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the peace process in Sudan and the assistance provided by the British Government to that process. 
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Clare Short: The Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army parties resumed the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) talks on 14 October. The parties have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding on a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the talks. This was implemented on 17 October. We warmly welcome these developments. The cessation of hostilities will improve the atmosphere for the negotiations and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We urge the parties to seize this opportunity and shall continue to provide our full support as they work for a just and lasting peace. We have provided, and continue to provide, political and financial support to the Sudanese peace negotiations being mediated by the regional IGAD envoys in Kenya. We will continue to attend the talks as an observer and offer support and advice as necessary. To date we have provided personnel and #101,119 and US$25,000 in financial support to the IGAD secretariat.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of levels of political violence against ethnic minorities in Sudan; and what steps her Department has taken in response. 
Clare Short: Repression of ethnic minorities is one of the deplorable human rights abuses resulting from the long-running conflict in Sudan. We are concerned about the human rights of all in the Sudan regardless of their ethnic or religious background and we regularly urge all sides in the civil war to respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. But the only long-term answer to the suffering in the Sudan is a peace settlement which will allow the people to rebuild their lives. We actively support the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace process as offering the best chance to bring an end to the civil war through a negotiated settlement.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on humanitarian aid flights to Sudan. 
Clare Short: We continue to urge all parties to give all possible help to the UN and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ensure speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance. Our ambassador in Khartoum raised the general issue of humanitarian access with the Sudanese Minister of International Cooperation on 24 October.
The UN and the Humanitarian Affairs Commission and the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Authority are meeting in Nairobi on 25 October to discuss the implementation of unrestricted humanitarian access
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agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cessation of Hostilities on 17 October. We warmly welcome these developments.
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