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19 Jan 2004 : Column 924Wcontinued
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial support his Department has provided to the African Union since the expiry of the agreement in August 2003. 
Hilary Benn: DFID fully supports the vision of the African Union, particularly its key role in peace and security across the continent. Since February 1999 DFID has given £1,089,745 to the Conflict Management Centre of the OAU/AU. This is distributed in three tranches: February 1999 to September 2000 (£311,812); June 2001 to August 2003 (£677,933) and October 2003 to March 2004 (£100,000). The last tranche is via the United Nations Development Programme and will be spent shortly.
We have also been supporting an AU peacekeeping mission in Burundi bilaterally with £3.9 million to Mozambique as one of the troop contributing countries and we are about to release £2 million through the AU itself for the same mission.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department is giving to the Government of Angola for preparations for the general election in 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: DFID's Country Engagement Paper (CEP) for Angola identifies the priorities for UK development assistance over the next three years. This includes support to the government and other stakeholders to prepare for the next general election. The date of the next general election in Angola has not yet been set however, with a possibility that it might be later than 2005.
DFID are currently in discussion with the Angolan government and civil society as to the nature of that support. Possible areas include: reform of the constitution and electoral laws, voter and civic education, election-related conflict management and election monitoring. Another proposal is to fund Angolan parliamentarians to participate as observers in some of the elections that will take place in the SADC region during 2004 (Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia).
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to advance the target of an increase in the proportion of the Department's low-risk bilateral projects evaluated as successful. 
Hilary Benn: DFID's 2003 Autumn Performance Report on progress against our Public Service Agreement, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House last month, reported that 80 per cent. of our low-risk projects are currently evaluated as completely or largely successful. Of the remaining 20 per cent., many of these are evaluated as achieving a number of their objectives. While this represents a high success rate, DFID is constantly seeking to improve the impact and value for money of all our interventions, including high, medium and low-risk projects.
All projects are subject to an approval process in which their potential contribution to our corporate priorities is assessed. Once underway, projects are 'scored' annually to review progress towards achieving their objectives. Fuller reviews are undertaken midway through their duration and once they are completed. We also conduct wider evaluations of our portfolio's success and of the lessons we have learned. The performance of our portfolio, and progress against this target, is monitored every three months by DFID's Management Board. These processes allow us to address slippage and make judgments about how our resources should best be used.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to his Answer of 16 January 2004, Official Report, column 237W, on the Indigenous People's Demonstration Project, by how much the expenditure on the Indigenous People's Demonstration Project in Brazil will be reduced over the next two years; and what representations he has received
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on behalf of the Indigenous People's Demonstration Project in response to the reduction in United Kingdom funding. 
Hilary Benn: We expect to spend £500,000 during 200405 and 200506 compared to £700,000 originally envisaged. As savings have been possible in the cost of expert advice (recruiting a Brazilian rather than an EU national) and German aid funds are able to meet the demand for demonstration funds, we will be able to deliver training and capacity building activities at a rate similar to that originally scheduled for these years.
No representations have been made to either DFID's office in Brasilia or the British Embassy. DFID has, however, held discussions with the Brazil Cooperation Ministry to explain the reasons for the changes in expenditure. All project staff have been informed and are revising the project accordingly.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the level of cross-border humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people in Burma. 
Hilary Benn: We know that some agencies provide cross-border assistance to internally displaced people in Burma, but we do not have reliable information on the total levels of this assistance. DFID does not fund cross-border assistance since we are unable to undertake monitoring and evaluation in these areas to ensure effective use of funds provided.
We support the World Health Organisation's border health programme and the Burmese Border Consortium's effort to provide food aid to refugees along the border in Thailand, totalling £0.67 million in 200304. Internally displaced people are likely to be among the beneficiaries of DFID funding to tackle HIV/AIDS across Burma and basic health care programmes in two border states, towards which DFID is making a total contribution of £2.3 million in 200304.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance has been offered to the government of Burundi for the improvement of medical facilities for the delivery of new malaria treatments. 
Hilary Benn: There has been no assistance to the Government of Burundi for the improvement of medical facilities for the delivery of new malaria treatments. However we are providing assistance through international NGOs and UN agencies, as are other donors, to cover urgent humanitarian needs. This includes funding for Medecins Sans Frontieres who have helped introduce the new malaria protocol. This year we are also providing funding of £250,000 to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the implementation of the new protocol. WHO will be working closely with the Government of Burundi.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress is being made towards the rehousing of those left homeless by the storm in the Bubanza province of Burundi. 
Hilary Benn: It is reported that on Sunday 4 January 500 people in Mpanda Commune in the northwestern province of Bubanza were made homeless by a storm which destroyed 102 houses and a primary school. DFID have not responded to this problem directly. We are however providing support to humanitarian work in Burundi amounting to £1.18 million so far this financial year.
Hilary Benn: DFID closely monitors the humanitarian situation in Burundi through our office in Bujumbura, and through regular contact with NGOs and the UN. The UK takes a leading role in the donor support group in Burundi, the objective of which is to improve assessment, co-ordination and response.
We concur with the recent UN assessment that the current major problems faced by Burundi are insecurity, disease and malnutrition. Life expectancy plummeted from 53.8 years in 1992 to 40.9 in 2001; there is just one doctor for every 100,000 people; the infant mortality rate for under-fives has nearly doubled from 100 per 1,000 in 1993 to 190 per 1,000 in 2001; and 69 per cent. of the population is under-nourished.
The UK participated in last week's Burundi Partners' Forum jointly hosted by UNDP and the Government of Belgium in Brussels. The meeting was successful in mobilising commitments of over $1 billion in donor support over the period 2004 to 2006, as well as making progress in establishing a simple co-ordinated framework to make more effective use of the donor funds being made available.
Hilary Benn: DFID is contributing to efforts to address the humanitarian needs of Sudanese refugees in Chad. We made a contribution of £1 million to the United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in December, towards the Emergency Needs budget of their Supplementary Appeal for Emergency Assistance to Sudanese Refugees in Eastern Chad.
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We are continuing to monitor the situation and may make further contributions if the situation indicates this is necessary. This may involve a contribution to the WFP appeal if there is a need for additional food aid.
The cause of the movement of refugees from Sudan into Chad is the fighting in Darfur, in western Sudan. We reiterate our deep concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis resulting from this conflict and call on all those involved to address the problems in Darfur through dialogue, to establish and maintain a ceasefire with independent monitoring and to allow unfettered humanitarian access to those in need. The UK has already contributed over £4 million to the relief effort (including to the UNHCR) and remains willing to use its good offices in any way possible to facilitate the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
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