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Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 22 October 2003, Official Report, column 636, to the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Alan Simpson), if he will place in the Library a note of the date when he was first informed that references in the Government dossier to 45 minutes and weapons of mass destruction were references only to battlefield weaponry. [134536]

Alan Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 22 October 2003, Official Report, column 636, on Iraq, on what date he was first informed that references to the 45 minute warning about Iraq applied only to battlefield weapons. [134537]

The Prime Minister: As my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said on 28 January 2003, Official Report, column 769W, weapons of mass destruction are generally held to refer to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The term applies whether the weapons are delivered through battlefield or longer-range systems. As has been noted by the Intelligence and Security Committee in their report of 9 September 2003, the intelligence on the 45 minute point was issued by the Secret Intelligence Service on 30 August 2002. The Secret Intelligence Service report did not specify the particular delivery systems to which the time of 45 minutes applied. There was, therefore, no reference to battlefield or longer-range systems when the point was included in a formal classified Joint Intelligence Committee assessment issued on 9 September 2002, which I saw.


Central African Republic

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the diarrhoea epidemic in the north west region of the Central African Republic. [133765]

Hilary Benn: Several epidemics of diarrhoea have been reported in different regions of the Central African Republic. The most recent epidemic was confirmed

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north west of the capital, where at least 40 people died in late September 2003. A similar outbreak was detected and contained in August 2003.

Areas of the north were severely affected by six months of war between the Government and rebel troops, and this has adversely affected health and water facilities.

In response, the EC Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and the European Development Fund (EDF) launched a Euro1.77 million emergency programme to revamp and re-equip health facilities in nine war affected provinces of the Central Africa Republic, disbursing resources through international NGOs. This has involved rehabilitation of health facilities and equipment, the mobilisation of medical personnel and medical supplies, as well as the establishment of an efficient management system. UNICEF is also jointly involved in a six-month health project combating waterborne diseases, including the disbursement of drugs to six war affected regions.

A joint Government-NGO (Medicos Sin Fronteras MSF-Spain) medical team began work in July 2003, educating local leaders on water hygiene and providing local health centres with drugs to help fight the disease. Tests have also been undertaken on wells to check which need to be purified. Health authorities have since resumed the immunisation of children in the north west region of the Central African Republic.

Clean water supplies have now been restored in Bozoum and its surrounding areas since October 2003, which should help halt the spread of diarrhoea.


Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how his Department is supporting the democratisation processes in poor countries considered to be committed to reform. [132097]

Hilary Benn: We support democratisation in poor countries in a wide variety of ways, both directly and indirectly. This includes assistance to Electoral Commissions, voter registration and awareness programmes and election monitoring; support for parliamentary Select Committees; assistance to strengthen financial and other accountability, and anti-corruption measures; programmes to make justice systems work better, especially for the poor; and work with the media and a wide range of civil society organisations to enhance their participation in public life and the political process.

Departmental Budget

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of the Department's budget in each of the last three years has been spent on programmes and projects with an explicit concentration on disabled people; and of that, what percentage has been concentrated on children. [133003]

Hilary Benn: These figures are not available without incurring disproportionate cost. We work closely with Governments, the voluntary and private sectors and the bilateral and multilateral donor communities to ensure

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that disability is addressed in the context of the fight against poverty and the realisation of human rights for all.

DFID's approach to disability issues was set out in a paper on 'Disability, Poverty and Development' in February 2000. An integrated approach is required, linking prevention and rehabilitation with empowerment and changes in attitude. DFID's approach is therefore to 'mainstream' disability issues, so that the needs of disabled people are taken into account by all staff in all aspects of DFID's work, and also to investigate further the links between poverty and disability and how they interact with each other.


Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many internally displaced persons of Iraqi nationality he estimates there are in UN administered camps in countries neighbouring Iraq. [133777]

Hilary Benn: Latest estimates indicate that the United Nations, in partnership with host Governments, currently supports a refugee caseload of approximately 210,000 in the countries neighbouring Iraq. The Department For International Development has provided £1.75 million to UNHCR since the start of the conflict to assist with their work in Iraq and neighbouring countries.

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many internally displaced persons he estimates there are in UN-administered camps in Iraq. [133778]

Hilary Benn: A recent assessment by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) places the number of registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq at approximately 265,000. The full caseload of people displaced from their homes within Iraq has, however, been estimated at up to one million—the vast majority of these are long-term displaced and not as a direct result of the recent conflict. The majority of IDPs are unregistered and are not resident in organised camps.

Millennium Development Goals

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on recent progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. [133140]

Hilary Benn: There has been mixed progress towards the 2015 targets associated with the Millennium Development Goals. The proportion of the developing world population living in absolute poverty, on less than $1 a day, fell from 28 per cent. in 1990 to 22 per cent. in 2000. Assuming global economic growth remains on track the headline target of halving absolute poverty between 1990 and 2015 will be met. However progress across regions is uneven. Good progress in Asia has been accompanied by little change in the proportion in absolute poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The global target to halve the proportion of people without access to safe water between 1990 and 2015 is also on track.

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Other targets, including universal primary schooling, gender equality in school, reductions in child and maternal mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, will require a significant increase in effort to be achieved. However, the substantial progress that individual countries have achieved demonstrates that the targets could still be reached with the right policies and political will.

The MDGs will only be achieved through a partnership between rich and poor countries. The final goal covers action needed by developed countries to increase and improve aid flows and reform the trade system. The recent breakdown of talks in Cancun aimed at achieving a fairer global trading system was a particular disappointment, and the UK Government are working hard to ensure an agreement can be reached.

DFID has put the achievement of the MDGs at the heart of its work, and we are working with our partners to do all we can to meet these targets. A particular concern is sub-Saharan Africa and supporting progress in this region is a priority for DFID.

A more comprehensive assessment of progress towards the goals is provided in the UN Secretary General's 2003 report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration: Element.

Reproductive Health

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to his answer of 14 October 2003, Official Report, columns 70–71W on reproductive health, what the (a) structure, (b) aims and (c) methods of each of the projects in Nigeria listed under annex A to his answer are; when his Department last assessed the progress of each project; what the main conclusions of each assessment were; and if he will make a statement. [133193]

Hilary Benn: I will write to the hon. Member for Moray with details of the projects and programmes in DFID Nigeria that have a policy marker for Reproductive Health or HIV/AIDS, as listed previously (ref: 131641).

The health sector (including HIV/AIDS) continues to be our largest portfolio in DFID Nigeria in terms of financial commitment, and Reproductive Health and Rights are central to this. Furthermore, as we remain focused on helping Nigeria make accelerated progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, issues of maternal health, child health, access to comprehensive reproductive health services and the control of HIV/AIDS will increasingly be addressed through other programmes in the areas of governance, rights, education, infrastructure, poverty reduction and economic development.

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