|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
10 Nov 2003 : Column 55Wcontinued
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the future role of unmanned air vehicles in the UK armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: We currently expect unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to contribute significantly to future military capability in a number of areas. The WATCHKEEPER programme is on track to deliver a tactical UAV capability from 2006 which will provide UK commanders with accurate, timely and high quality imagery and support Network Enabled Capability. To explore the wider operational utility of UAV systems in the joint battlespace, we have established the Joint UAV Experimentation Programme (JUEP). Under the Future Offensive Air System programme, which is currently in its Concept Phase, we expect to look at a potential mix of platforms, including Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), to meet our future strike capability from around the end of the next decade.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost has been for each year since 1997 of widows' pensions to war widows who became widows in (a) the Second World War, (b) from 1946 to 1973 and (c) since 1973. 
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the security of people in Afghanistan; in what ways it is proposed that the rebels' opposition will be prevented; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: The security situation in Afghanistan continues to be a concern for both Afghans and the international community. There has been an increase in activity from Taliban insurgents in large areas of the south and east of the country, activity which the international coalition forces continue to counter.
On 13 October 2003, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1510, authorising expansion, as resources permit, of the ISAF beyond Kabul. Additionally, there is an active programme of Security Sector Reform, including a new Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Programme, which commenced with a pilot project in Kunduz on
10 Nov 2003 : Column 56W
24 October. Coupled with the four existing Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), and the additional four or five due to deploy in the coming months, these measures form a coherent package by which the international community is helping the Afghan people secure a stable and peaceful country for themselves.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the African Forest Law Enforcement and Government Ministerial Conference recently held in Cameroon. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: I represented the UK at the Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Conference which took place in Yaounde, Cameroon, from 13 to 16 October. Officials from DFID, Defra and the FCO also attended. The UK private sector and British NGOs sent strong delegations.
Ministers from 40 countries adopted a Declaration that commits governments from Africa and those of trading and development partners to work together to address these problems. The Declaration contains a series of indicative actions to be taken forward by these governments together with the private sector and NGOs.Independent monitoring of forestry operations and greater transparency in the allocation of forest resources were identified as critical elements for improving governance and countering corruption. Participants concerned with wildlife and the trade in bushmeat were pleased with the attention given to this subject and acknowledged that it cannot be disassociated from wider concerns about the livelihoods of poor people.
There was considerable interest in the EU Action Plan on forest law enforcement, governance and trade that the European Council endorsed on 13 October. Several African countries are keen to discuss the development of voluntary partnership agreements with the EU. Officials from my Department, Defra and FCO will now take this up with colleagues from the EC, other Member States and the African countries concerned.
Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in meeting the Millennium Development Goal targets for reducing (a) child and (b) maternal mortality. 
Child mortality is declining but on current trends will have fallen by only one quarter by 2015, far short of the two thirds reduction aimed for. There is considerable regional variation. Latin America is expected to meet
10 Nov 2003 : Column 57W
the target but there has been much slower progress in south Asia and the Arab states, and virtually no progress in sub-Saharan Africa.
Maternal mortality is difficult to measure but the available data suggest that little progress has been made in reducing mortality in recent years, and show an increase in maternal mortality in parts of Africa. In developing countries the coverage of the proxy indicator, the proportion of women who give birth with the assistance of a skilled health worker, increased from 42 per cent. in 1990 to 52 per cent. by 2000. Coverage in east and south east Asia, and northern Africa rose significantly. Coverage is highest in Latin America, at 85 per cent. In contrast, there was little progress in sub-Saharan Africa.
DFID has put the achievement of the MDGs at the heart of its work, and is working with its partners to do all it can to meet these targets. The MDG targets for child and maternal mortality in Africa and Asia form part of DFIDs Public Service Agreement. Supporting progress in sub-Saharan Africa is a particular 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: http://ods-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N03/481/57/PDF/N0348157. pdf?OpenElement.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's aims are at the Convention on Conventional Weapons negotiations in November; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department's representative at the Convention on Conventional Weapons negotiations in November will seek agreement on a mandate for future negotiations on cluster munitions. 
Hilary Benn: DFID is an active member of the G7 Pilot Programme for the Conservation of the Brazilian Rain Forests (a joint undertaking of the Brazilian Government, Brazil's civil society and the international community). DFID's currently is helping to:
10 Nov 2003 : Column 58W
enhance the sustainable management of the Amazon Floodplains by local communicates and government;
enhance the Ministry of Environment's research on how to improve the economic and regulatory environment for sustainable forestry management;
design the transition of this Pilot Phase to a Programme that is more mainstreamed and rooted in Brazilian policies for the region.
giving a greater emphasis to forestry management for small scale farmers in agricultural extension courses provided by the Federal Agricultural University of Para.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|