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Mr. Graham Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what use she and her Department has made of focus group research since June 2001; if he will identify for each research project the topics covered, the person or organisation carrying out the research, and the total cost; and if she will publish the research on her Department's website. 
Clare Short: DFID has not made any direct use of focus group research since 2001. However within our work to raise awareness and understanding of development issues, we have funded a project with the BBC, which involved use of focus groups in the UK to analyse public understanding of international news stories. The results of this research havebeen published and widely disseminated. The work was carried out by Opinion Leader Research at a cost of #38,247.
Also we do make frequent use of participatory poverty assessments (PPAs) in developing countries, a methodology which has challenged both traditional modes of poverty analysis and subsequent policy development. When implemented well PPAs allow policy makers a better understanding of how and why poverty occurs in particular contexts and the coping mechanisms adopted by the poor. Furthermore, PPAs provide a forum for the poor to voice their own demands for change in public service provision by reflecting on their own experiences in dealing with government services, their perspectives on the specific constraints they experience in trying to access services, and of the quality and relevance of those services.
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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) total volume and (b) proportion was of EU aid spent on HIV/AIDS in each of the last five years, in pounds sterling, broken down by region. 
Clare Short: An average of #36.4 million per year has been spent by the EC on HIV/AIDS support in each of the last five years. This works out as less than 1 per cent. of the total EC development budget.
|Financial year||HIV/AIDS spend||Percentage of bilateral aid total|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department is doing to help (a) children in developing countries orphaned due to AIDS and (b) child-run households as a result of AIDS. 
Clare Short: Today, more than 14 million children under 15 years of age have lost one or both parents to AIDS; 11 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. The implications are enormousthese children will grow up without parental supervision, support or care, many without an education, and alienated from society. Many will become vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and discrimination. Families, communities and NGOs are struggling to provide support.
Working at the national level, we aim to ensure that orphaned and vulnerable children's issues are at the centre of national policies and budget planning, allocation and expenditure. In Zambia we are supporting UNICEF on a nationally co-ordinated community response aiming to protect children's rights, increase their access to social services (including health and education and psychosocial support) and combating stigma. We recognise that much more needs to be done to tackle this crisis and will continue to work at the regional and international level to support greater awareness and response to the escalating situation.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the effect HIV/AIDS in developing countries will have on meeting the millennium development goals. 
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Clare Short: HIV/AIDS is already having a catastrophic impact on sub-Saharan Africa and in other parts of the world prevalence is expanding rapidly. The epidemic will have a serious effect on the millennium development goals:
On poverty and food security: HIV threatens agricultural productivity, can reduce household food consumption by 1530 per cent., and could kill a quarter of the agricultural work force in worst-affected countries by 2020.
DFID's response to date has seen an increase in HIV/AIDS related expenditure from #38 million in 199798 to over #200 million in 200002. We are supporting work to strengthen health systems and to develop comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and mitigation programmes. We are also supporting the development and implementation of national strategies to combat the epidemic. DFID's support is part of a collective international response and includes significant support to the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM).
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what is being done to facilitate better communication between the military and aid agencies in advance of potential conflict with Iraq. 
Clare Short: My Department has since 1997 had an increasingly close relationship with the Ministry of Defence and consults regularly with the Ministry on a range of issues at official and ministerial level.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she last met representatives of the UNHCR to discuss preparations for delivering aid to Iraqi refugees in the event of conflict in the region; and when she next expects to do so. 
Clare Short: My Department supports UNHCR in its task of responding to humanitarian emergencies around the world, and as a part of that support, holds regular discussions with UNHCR on a range of issues.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with (a) Jordan, (b) Syria, (c) Turkey, (d) Iran, (e) Kuwait and (f) Saudi Arabia regarding their policy towards accepting refugees from Iraq. 
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Matthew Taylor: Asked the Secretary of State for International Development, when Ministers in her Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000; when and where each meeting took place; which Ministers were involved in each meeting; which Irish Government Department were involved in each meeting; and which Ministers and officials from the Irish Government attended each meeting. 
Clare Short: Hilary Benn MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, attended the development policy forum in Belfast on 6 February 2002. He met Ms. Carmel Hanna MLA, Ministers for Employment and Learning and Chair of the All-Party Group on International Development, in the Northern Ireland Assembly. David Ford, Secretary of the Group, John Dallat MLA and The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Jim Ireland were also present.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the fighting in the Ivory Coast, and in particular, the impact it has had on the refugee situation. 
Clare Short: We are concerned at the continuing conflict in Cote d'lvoire and continue to work with others in the international community to support regional efforts to broker a viable peace agreement. Although precise figures are difficult to determine, large numbers of people, particularly among immigrant communities, but also Ivorian citizens and refugees, have been displaced due to the fighting. Most have found shelter in host communities or are in temporary camps. Several thousand migrant workers have returned to their countries of origin or crossed into neighbouring countries. At present, the west of the country seems worst affected due to on-going fighting between Government forces and new rebel groups, and the presence of large numbers of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone, many of whom have been displaced. According to UN reports, prior to the crisis, there were a total of 72,000 refugees living in Cote d'lvoire.
Although the situation is not currently a humanitarian crisis, there are real needs and the situation could deteriorate quickly. We are in touch with various agencies operating in Cote d'lvoire and are considering what assistance we should provide.
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