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Obesity

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what local exercise action pilots have been introduced by Sport England in collaboration with the Countryside Agency and the Department of Health to tackle obesity and increase physical activity. [100425]

Mr. Caborn: The Local Exercise Action Pilots Programme is a joint initiative funded by the Department of Health, Sport England and the Countryside Agency, with support from the Local Government Association, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Education and Skills and Department for Transport. Nine local Primary Care Trust led pilots are being developed to test out and investigate effective approaches to increasing access to, and levels of, physical activity. The pilot sites will be announced this month.

Sports Participation

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action she is taking to increase the number of (a) Muslim and (b) Asian people involved in (i) sport and (ii) contact sports; and if she will make a statement. [100587]

Mr. Caborn: Sport England provides a range of programmes to promote accessibility to sport for marginalised groups. The monies allocated for this purpose will in future be administered in the regions which will improve the targeting of funds to where they are most needed, including to the Muslim and Asian communities where appropriate.

DCMS also part funds the initiative Sporting Equals, a collaboration of Sport England and The Commission for Racial Equality to promote racial equality in sport.

Through their policy document Game Plan, Government are concentrating efforts to lessen the barriers to participation of the most sedentary groups, and in this way will tackle sporting marginalisation in other key groups including those from ethnic minorities.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Afghanistan

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of whether UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is being implemented in the work of reconstruction in Afghanistan. [101227]

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Clare Short: The international community continues to support enhanced protection of Women's rights in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban. A key milestone will be the forthcoming draft of the new constitution, to be presented at the Constitutional Loya Jirga. The international community (including the UK and the EU) are working to ensure that women's rights are fully protected in the constitution.

Progress on improving women's rights varies according to locality, but there are encouraging signs in many areas. Approximately 3 million children have now returned to school, of whom about 30 per cent are girls. However, the proportion of women and girls involved in education varies according to region.

The position of vulnerable women, such as widows and orphans, is still a major concern, particularly in urban areas. WFP and FAO are hoping to expand their employment and livelihood activities (bakery and poultry co-operatives that recruit vulnerable women and girls) in an effort to improve the situation.

Kyrgyzstan

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will grant additional resources to the Kyrgyzstan police project above the money already awarded. [99446]

Mr. MacShane: I have been asked to reply.

We have agreed to support the second phase of an Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) police assistance project in Kyrgyzstan.

Her Majesty's Government's Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) has so far pledged voluntary funding of Euro400,000 over two Financial Years. This support of the second phase, however, is conditional upon sufficient pledges from other states being offered to make it reasonably certain that the project can be completed.

Oil for Food Programme

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the cost of the aid that would be required to replace the Oil for Food Programme following a military campaign in Iraq. [100290]

Clare Short: 60 per cent. of the Iraqi population are dependent on the UN Oil For Food Programme. Current annual expenditures under the programme run at around $10 billion, the largest elements of which are the food allocation ($3 billion) and basic service delivery supplies (health, education, water and sanitation and electricity—$2 billion). Should there be conflict, the UK will aim to minimise any disruption to the programme and work towards its re-establishment as quickly as possible.

Poverty Reduction Strategies

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to increase the participation of civil society in poverty reduction strategies. [99340]

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Clare Short: DFID provides support directly through country programmes and indirectly through Partnership Programme Agreements to build up the capacity of civil society organisations in developing countries to engage in PRS processes. For example Catholic Church institutions have played a significant role in the PRS process in Zambia.

Smoking

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what policy her Department has adopted on smoking in the workplace. [100939]

Clare Short: DFID has a no smoking policy throughout our offices, except in designated smoking rooms/areas that are equipped with specific individual smoke extraction and ventilation systems.

Sudan

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to address the humanitarian situation in the Southern Blue Nile region of Southern Sudan. [100970]

Clare Short: We have not funded any interventions in Southern Blue Nile recently. Our humanitarian support is targeted accorded to demonstrated humanitarian need. If these needs are found in Southern Blue Nile we will certainly consider making a response.

A number of recent assessments have taken place (e.g. a joint World Food Programme/UNICEF team visited the region 17–23 February); their findings, once they are made known, will inform our decisions. Our representative in the British Embassy in Khartoum liaises with the UN and other agencies working in-country to keep our information up to date.

Swaziland

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what impact she estimates the national crop survey conducted by the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation findings will have on the levels of aid provided by her Department in Swaziland. [100918]

Clare Short: The recent preliminary crop assessments by the Food and Agriculture Organisation have indicated that there will be another very poor harvest in the lowveld. Over the last year we have already provided £250,000 to the World Food Programme for their humanitarian operations in Swaziland. We are finalising support to both UNICEF (£200,000) to improve the water and sanitation facilities at 80 schools, and to Save the Children (£70,000) to provide a livelihoods economist to help plan recovery programmes in the most vulnerable areas.

Once more reliable figures for this harvest are available we will consider further support through the World Food Programme's regional humanitarian programme covering also Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, and Angola.

Zimbabwe

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what changes her Department

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will make to its humanitarian aid programme in Zimbabwe as a result of the announcement of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network that food aid will be required for another 12 months. [100973]

Clare Short: It has been evident for some months that food production in Zimbabwe would be affected for the third year in succession by the combination of disruption to farming; economic policies that are a disincentive to production; lack of agricultural credit and inputs, and patchy rains. Current DFID and WFP feeding programmes extend until June 2003. DFID is already working with the international community to assess needs for the year ahead, and to identify the extent to which the international community needs to assist in meeting the gap.

PRIVY COUNCIL

Smoking

Chris Grayling: To ask the President of the Council what policy his Department has adopted on smoking in the workplace. [100922]

Mr. Robin Cook: My Department has adopted a non-smoking policy. Smoking is not allowed in communal and working areas and is permitted only in the designated areas provided. This policy applies to staff working in both 9 Downing street and 2 Carlton Gardens.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Crown Prosecution Service

Mr. Laws: To ask the Solicitor General what the reasons were for the change in total public spending on the Crown Prosecution Service between 1998–99 and 2003–04; and if she will make a statement. [99831]

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The Solicitor-General [holding answer 4 March 2003]: Since 1998–99 funding for the Crown Prosecution Service has increased, both in response to increasing workload and to support the departmental reform and modernisation programme.

As part of the SR 2000 Spending Review plans, the Treasury created a Criminal Justice Reserve worth £100 million in 2001–02 and £525 million over the three years up to 2003–04. We are investing in the CPS an additional £30 million in 2001–02, £59 million in 2002–03 and £76 million in 2003–04 from the Reserve.

The increase in funding allowed the Crown Prosecution Service to recruit the lawyers and caseworkers needed to handle more cases, better, and provided for programmes and initiatives dealing with victims and witnesses and information technology. The Crown Prosecution Service has successfully completed the first stage of its programme to modernise IT, electronic communications systems and the office environment for approximately 6,800 staff across 100 sites.

The CPS will also focus resources on closer partnership, working with the police by providing early advice and assuming responsibility for charging.


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