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19 Nov 2002 : Column 49W—continued


Basic Education

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support her Department is giving to basic education. [81167]

Clare Short: The Government are strongly committed to mobilising the international community to meet the education and gender equality targets within the Millennium Development Goals. We have fully achieved the goals in this area set in our current Public Service Agreement, but recognise that there is still a huge challenge in getting to the 2015 objectives.

Since 1997 we have committed #700 million to basic education and forecast support amounts to #1.3 billion over the next five years, either through education sector support or direct budget support. Of this, about #500 million will go to Africa and #800 million to Asia. These spending figures are forecasts, not targets or commitments, and depend on agreeing high quality programmes with our partners.

Congestion Charging

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many car parking spaces are available to (a) employees of her Department and (b) visitors to her Department within the proposed Central London Road User Charging Zone. [81856]

Clare Short: There are no car parking spaces generally available to either employees or visitors, within the proposed Central London Road User Charging Zone. The only spaces we have are for the three official cars, one disabled space, and one for the maintenance contractor vehicle.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the policy is of her Department in relation to the reimbursement of Central London road user charges incurred by its employees. [81836]

Clare Short: Where Central London road user charges are necessarily incurred in the course of official business they will be reimbursed in the same way as any other legitimate expense. Charges will not be reimbursed where they form part of the cost of daily home to office travel.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the estimated cost is to her Department of the Central London Road User Charging Scheme for (a) 17 February 2003 to 31 March 2003, and (b) 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004. [81875]

Clare Short: The only direct costs that will be incurred by my Department are in respect of the three official vehicles. We estimate that the costs of the Central London Road User Charging Scheme for the period 17 February 2003 to 31 March 2003 to be around #400, and for the full financial year 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004 to be around #3,000.

Environmental and Social Objectives

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proposals the

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Department has to follow up the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development with more environmental and social objectives. [81055]

Clare Short: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) placed poverty eradication at the heart of efforts to achieve Sustainable development. It integrated sustainability into the existing international agenda and added some important new targets, such as the target of halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.

My Department does not have any proposals for more environmental and social objectives following WSSD. We are working to ensure that the international community delivers on the promises it made at the Doha meeting of the World Trade Organisation, the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and at Johannesburg. We are working for a round of trade negotiations focused on making the international trade system fairer to developing countries, and to ensure that the commitments made at Monterrey to increase the level and improve the effectiveness of official development assistance are delivered.

Gender Disparity

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education in developing countries; and what her Department's strategy is for meeting targets related to this. [80554]

Clare Short: According to the recently published EFA Global Monitoring Report, girls' enrolment in primary school in developing countries improved in the 1990s. The girls' Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) increased by 4 percentage points, from 91.8 per cent. in 1990 to 96.2 per cent. in 1999. The Gender Parity Index (GPI), which measures the ratio between girls' and boys' enrolment rates, improved from 0.86 to 0.92 in developing countries.

Gender-disaggregated data on secondary education is less readily available. The participation rates for girls are increasing, but where there are major gender disparities in primary education, this is amplified at the secondary level; hence some of the lowest levels of secondary enrolment for girls are in Central and West Africa.

We are collaborating with a variety of partners to accelerate progress for girls' education. We are working with the UN Girls' Education Initiative to ensure stronger co-ordination among donors at the global and the national level. We are supporting a partnership with the World bank and UNICEF to develop sustainable strategies for girls' education in several countries. We have built close links with the gender unit in the Education group at the World bank to foster better integration of gender issues with international education initiatives.

We have three initiatives under way to give greater support to DFID country advisers to address girls' education and mainstream it in their work. We have developed a manual on girls' education, which is currently being disseminated. We are working to provide gender modules for inclusion in existing training courses.

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We have improved access to key policy documents and practical tools by establishing a joint World bank/UNICEF/DFID website (

We are also supporting southern civil society organisations, including the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) in four countries (Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi).

Rwanda and Uganda

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her meeting with the Presidents of Rwanda and Uganda on 17 October 2002. [80889]

Clare Short: The meeting was the second review of the Memorandum of Understanding Presidents Museveni and Kagame and I signed in November last year at Lancaster House. They committed themselves again to not interfering in each others' political and security affairs. They agreed to make more effective use of the mechanisms that had been put in place to resolve differences and to avoid recourse to the use of the media. The UK agreed to continue to act as third party in this process.

Equally importantly the two Presidents agreed to work together to achieve peace and stability in the region. They urged President Mbeki of South Africa, as Chairman of the African Union, to convene a Regional Summit to call on all parties to fully implement the Pretoria and Luanda Agreements.

Presidents Museveni and Kagame shared our concern at the situation in Burundi and agreed we should work together, especially with the Governments of Tanzania and South Africa, to get a get a cease fire agreed and support the Transitional National Government under the Arusha Accords.

Safe Water

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what efforts the

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Government has made to ensure that the commitments made at the Johannesburg Summit to provide access to safe water are kept by all states. [81056]

Clare Short: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the target to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, provide the focus of my Department's work. We are working to build an effective response by the international system to support developing countries in reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs. This includes supporting the United Nations Development Programme in monitoring progress by country towards the MDGs.

An integrated approach to water supply, sanitation and hygiene is the best way to improve health and combat poverty. We currently support three major multilateral initiatives:

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), a concerted multi-donor organization designed to raise awareness and the political profile of sanitation, hygiene and safe water.

In addition to multilateral co-operation, our commitment to achieve the 2015 water and sanitation targets includes bilateral programmes in many countries in the developing world including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, India, south Africa, Uganda, and Nigeria. My Department also supports UNICEF's water, environment and sanitation programme.

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