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International Finance Facility

11. Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development what discussions he has had with developing country Ministers about the International Finance Facility. [144416]

Hilary Benn: Discussions with Developing country Ministers on the IFF began in January this year when my predecessor Clare Short and the Chancellor wrote jointly to Developing Country Finance Ministers about the IFF proposals. Discussions have continued throughout the year with groups such as NEPAD, African Finance Ministers, and HIPC Finance Ministers.

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12. Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development what role his Department have in establishing a civilian government in Iraq by the Iraqi people. [144417]

Hilary Benn: The Department are playing an important role, in support of the Coalition Provisional Authority, in preparing for the planned transfer of sovereignty to Iraq's Transitional Authority in July 2004.

DFID has seconded over 40 advisers to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Basra and Baghdad to support civilian government during the occupation of Iraq. We intend to commit substantial further resources from early 2004 towards strengthening the capacity of Iraqi central government Ministries to manage the country effectively Work to train members of the judiciary will also begin in 2004.

We will also be prepared to consider support for the conduct of democratic elections in Iraq, and have agreed in principle to support civic education, and other initiatives to ensure that as many Iraqis as possible are equipped to participate in the process of political transition to a democratically elected civilian government.


13. Mr. McWalter: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development what estimate he has made of the monetary value of the support given by British engineers working on behalf of the Department in Mozambique since the 2001 floods; and if he will make a statement. [144418]

Hilary Benn: Several British engineering companies are active in Mozambique including for example Roughtons, Scott Wilson, and WSP.

DFID has assisted the Mozambique Government both through support to the general budget and to specific flood-recovery projects. An example of the latter is a £7.4 million project to repair the main national road crossing the Limpopo valley which was washed away in the floods. Engineering consultants are contracted for post-flood recovery work by the Government of Mozambique under international tenders, and British companies have taken up many of these contracts.

British companies have also been involved in post-flood recovery projects funded by the EC, to which the UK Government makes a significant financial contribution.


14. Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on his Department's work towards poverty reduction in India. [144419]

Hilary Benn: DFID provided £161 million of bilateral development assistance to India in 2002–3. In the New Delhi Declaration of January 2002 the Prime Minister looked forward to expenditure of over £300 million.

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Our programme helps Government deliver pro-poor policies and services. We are working closely with four focus states committed to poverty reduction, including on their programmes of fiscal and public sector reform, increasing access to basic health, education, and urban services for the poor and empowerment of the marginalised We also support the efforts of the Union Government and civil society in these areas nationwide.

Gender Advisers

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development to which countries other than Iraq his Department has assigned gender advisers since 1997. [141825]

Hilary Benn: Gender equality and the empowerment of women are very important for the elimination of poverty. A large percentage of the poor in developing countries are women.

All DFID staff have a responsibility to ensure that gender issues are addressed in development programmes. However, social development advisers work as part of teams in all DFID country offices and have special expertise in gender issues. They do this as part of their overall role which covers social issues as they relate to all poor people.


Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what changes the Government have made since 1997 to its programme aimed at preserving the rainforests in terms of (a) funding and (b) number of projects; and what the reasons are for such changes. [143220]

Hilary Benn: DFID accounts for expenditure on forestry but does not distinguish between different types of forests. The following figures apply to forests in general and not specifically to rainforests. They relate to bilateral expenditure and are exclusive of spending on research under the Forestry Research Programme, which has averaged about £2.5 million per annum since 1997.

In financial year 1997–98 expenditure was £22.1 million, on 199 projects. In financial year 2002–03 expenditure was £20.6 million, on 99 projects. Expenditure was fairly constant during this six-year period but there was a steady decline in the number of projects. This is a consequence of a focus on a smaller number of larger projects, more directly in support of poverty reduction. In addition, the last six years has seen the closure of a number of smaller programmes, particularly in Latin America.

£ millions

Total gross public (bilateral) expenditure (exclusive of research)Number of projects

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Research Strategy

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what research is being undertaken on policies to help prevent failing states. [142646]

Hilary Benn: DFID's Policy Division has established a team on 'Poverty Reduction in Difficult Environments'. This team is developing innovative policy options for working more effectively in places where the state is unable or unwilling to take an active role in delivering poverty reduction. This includes states seen as 'weak and failing' as well as most conflict-affected states.

Through a series of seminars, studies and workshops we are seeking to improve our understanding of the internal and external causes of states that do not focus their policies on poverty reduction. This includes whether it is possible to identify in advance potential problem states, and then use preventative measures.

This issue is a high priority for the Department for International Development. We are also working closely with the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit to develop cross- Government policy on 'weak and failing' states. The Strategy Unit project seeks to work towards better coordination between different Whitehall Departments, and achieve improved policy coherence across Whitehall when dealing with weak and failing states.

World Bank (Fast Track Initiative)

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reasons the UK has made no contribution to the World bank's Fast Track Initiative for countries with serious education needs and strong education plans. [144697]

Hilary Benn: The UK Government are committed to playing their full part in helping countries to achieve the Education for All goals. DFID is the fourth largest bilateral donor supporting basic education and the Department's investment is set to increase further over the next five years—to more than £1 billion—including substantial additional funding for FTI countries such as Ethiopia and India.

At the Fast Track Initiative meeting held in Oslo on 20–21 November 2003 it was agreed that FTI funding will now be extended to all low-income countries that are working towards the EFA goals, and that most additional funding will be secured at country level rather than through a global funding mechanism.

Accordingly, DFID will continue to channel our growing support to education through our bilateral country programmes in the form of long term, flexible and predictable funding in support of the Government's own development plans. We believe this is the best way to provide flexible financing, improve harmonisation and reduce transaction costs. We will continue to press for closer donor collaboration to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all external education assistance. The FTI has an important role to play in this. DFID will continue to play an active role in the development of the FTI, and will take over chair of the initiative in 2004.

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