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6 Nov 2002 : Column 342Wcontinued
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement on levels of UK aid to Indonesia. 
Clare Short: This year my Department will provide some #19.3 million for Indonesia. Of this amount #10 million is grant assistance, supporting governance reform, conflict prevention and reduction, the development of poverty reduction policies and the sustainable management of forest resources. The latter explicitly seeks to protect the interests of poor forest dwellers.
A further #9.1m of concessional loans will be disbursed to meet residual commitments under the now defunct Aid and Trade Provision. In addition #0.2m will be provided to support peace building initiatives by NGOs in strife torn Maluku. My Department will also provide assistance to Indonesians whose livelihoods have been damaged by the Bali bombing.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions her Department has had with the Governments of (a) Democratic Republic of Congo, (b) Rwanda and (c) Uganda regarding the situation in the DRC; and if she will make a statement. 
Clare Short: We maintain a regular and frank dialogue with each of the Governments of DRC, Uganda and Rwanda on the situation in DRC.
We have particularly welcomed the signing of the Pretoria Agreement between DRC and Rwanda and the Luanda Agreement between DRC and Uganda. They are major steps towards peace in the region. The Rwandans have withdrawn their troops from DRC. The Ugandans have completed their withdrawal except for some troops the UN has asked to stay in the troubled town of Bunia. The DRC has taken some steps to arrest leading genocidaires and suggest to that political leadership of the genocidaires that they are no longer
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welcome in Kinshahsa but are dragging their feet on agreement to a transitional government including representatives of the armed and unarmed opposition.
The Congo has suffered long enough from kleptocracy and more recently from war. We want to work with all parties in the region and the international community to start to rebuild the DRC so that its people and all those of the region can start to enjoy the benefits of peace.
Mrs. Spelman: To the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with the Prime Minister's office regarding the impact on poor countries of the recent meeting of the European Council. 
Clare Short: None, but the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and enlargement on poor countries has been discussed extensively by relevant Government departments for many months. In July, my department took an initiative to invite representatives from all EU governments to discuss ''The impact of CAP reform on Developing Countries''. These discussions are continuing with the next meeting in The Hague in January.
It remains clear that without CAP reform, we cannot deliver on the promise we made at Doha to improve trading opportunities for the developing world. The UK will continue to press for a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the CAP, which should lead to a farming policy which promotes sustainable development, protects and enhances the environment, encourages high standards, guarantees safe food and enables us to fulfil our international commitments.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement on her role in the recruitment of a new chief executive of CDC Capital Partners. 
Clare Short: The Chief Executive of CDC Group plc is appointed by the Board in accordance with normal company practice. The Chairman of the Board is keeping me informed during the process.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what her Department's response is to the recent appeal by the UNHCR for funds; and what structures are in place in the event that the UNHCR does not receive the money following its appeal for funds and has to halt some of its aid programmes. 
Clare Short: My Department provides both core, unearmarked, multi-annual funding to UNHCR and responds to specific appeals for particular situations that arise in countries on the basis of an assessment of humanitarian need. We are monitoring the situation closely but have not yet seen fit to provide extra funding to UNHCR, beyond that which is already committed, in response to their recent appeal.
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On becoming High Commissioner, Ruud Lubbers initiated a review to reestablish a focus on UNHCR's core protection activities, increase efficiency and address donor concerns about performance. In line with recent improvements in UNHCR's management, my Department has recently concluded negotiations on a four year Institutional Strategy Paper (ISP) with UNHCR. The ISP provides unearmarked funding of $US85m over four years. This is a significant achievement by both sides.
I understand that further funding from other donors has been forthcoming in direct response to the appeal. It is too early to ascertain whether this funding will meet the needs of UNHCR in the short-term. We will continue to monitor developments closely.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what percentage of new recruits to her Department in the past two years were aged 50 and over. 
Clare Short: 10.5 per cent. of all new permanent recruits to DFID in the two years to 31 March 2002 were aged 50 or over.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assistance her Department is providing to Sudanese refugees who have recently fled the Biringi refugee settlement from north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Clare Short: It is our understanding that these refugees have become entangled in the recent fighting in Ituri province, but are not themselves directly targeted. But the security situation in Ituri is a serious obstacle to effective relief operations as current insecurity severely restricts access. Most operational relief agencies are restricted to the town of Bunia. The nearest UNHCR staff are in Aru, 80km away. Local NGOs have been attempting to access the area in the past few days.
We have not provided direct assistance to this group of people. This year my Department is providing over #10 million in DRC, and #7 million in Sudan, to address humanitarian needs. We also provide core funding to UNHCR.
We continue to press all sides in the conflict to allow access to humanitarian agencies. We are also doing our utmost to help resolve the conflicts in DRC and Sudan that result in these displacements within and across borders.
A press statement issued on 31 October by the Security Council expresses grave concern about the situation in Ituri, and appeals to all parties to show restraint.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the safety of Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Clare Short: We have not made any specific assessment of the vulnerability of Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many are in Ituri
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Province in the troubled North East of DRC, and are at risk in the current fighting as are the resident Congolese population. The fighting has a strong ethnic component, but we do not believe that for the time being the Sudanese are being specifically targeted.
UNHCR estimate about 75000 Sudanese refugees in DRC. They are vulnerable, and suffer the same levels of abuse, deprivation, and lack of basic services, as the Congolese residents and other refugee groups.
An estimated 17000 Refugees were scattered after an attacks on their camp at Beringi in Ituri province. The UN Security Council on 31/10 called on all parties involved in the fighting in the area to show restraint.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, when she last met Jean Lemierre, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and when she next intends to do so. 
Clare Short: I last met the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the DFID on Monday 21 October. Our next currently planned meeting is the EBRD's Annual Meeting in May 2003.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what meetings of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development she has attended; and what meetings of the bank she plans to attend. 
Clare Short: I attended EBRD's Annual Board of Governors meeting in April 1999 and April 2001. I plan to attend the next Annual Meeting in Tashkent in May 2003, when the UK will Chair the Board of Governors. The 2003 Annual Meeting will be an important opportunity to emphasise the need for growth, stability, regional cooperation and essential reforms in Central Asia.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what permanent representation her Department has with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 
Clare Short: The UK Executive Director at the EBRD is a DFID official.
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