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20 Jan 2004 : Column 1140W—continued


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to visit Darfur. [148544]

Hilary Benn: I have no plans at present to visit Darfur, but my Humanitarian Adviser intends to do so during his visit to Sudan next week.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the safety of humanitarian aid workers in Darfur. [148545]

Hilary Benn: We have made no specific assessment; however we are aware of threats to humanitarian aid workers as a result of the insecurity there, which will have been exacerbated by the recent conflict.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what expansion of humanitarian access to (a) drought-affected people in West and North Darfur and (b) vulnerable people in South Darfur has taken place since June 2003; and what contribution has been made by his Department. [148546]

Hilary Benn: Humanitarian access to Darfur is constrained by the continuing conflict between government and rebel forces in the area. We have made representations to both sides that they should allow access from recognised international relief organisations for humanitarian purposes. I myself raised the issue with the Government of Sudan in my most recent visit there.

After June 2003 access improved briefly but, with the breakdown of the ceasefire and resumption of hostilities, access is now limited to the three provincial capitals.

We continue to make efforts to help both sides achieve a peaceful solution to their dispute.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the level of movement of people and goods in Darfur. [148547]

Hilary Benn: Conflict between government and rebel forces continues in Darfur. The Government controls the main towns, and has varying control in those areas outside. The rebels appear to be able to move freely in most areas, and can close roads between towns. Much movement between towns is by air. This is clearly impacting on the free movement of people and goods in the region.

Of particular concern is the difficulty of gaining access for humanitarian work: United Nations reports indicate that they have access to less than 15 per cent. of the population. Recent reports suggest the situation will worsen. My humanitarian adviser will be travelling to Sudan next week and plans to visit Darfur to assess conditions there.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the United Nations about the planned joint assessment of the humanitarian

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situation in Ituri, referred to in his written answer of 22 May 2003 to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman). [148077]

Hilary Benn: The UN joint assessment mission that took place last May found a critical humanitarian situation, a lack of security due to simmering tension between rival Hendu and Lema militias, and the town of Bunia nearly deserted. Aid groups were only able to assist a small number of people within Bunia, providing medical services to some 9,000 at camps concentrated around the local airport and 6,000 sheltering near the local UN compound. They had virtually no access to populations elsewhere in Ituri. My reply to the hon. Member of 19 January 2004, Official Report, column 931W, describes the improvements since that assessment.

We have regular discussions with the UN over the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including Ituri. In addition, a DFID humanitarian adviser visited the DRC in June, and following his assessment we agreed to fund a number of humanitarian activities in Ituri and North Kivu totalling over £1.8 million.


John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has made to the government of Ethiopia regarding acceptance of the Independent Boundary Commission's proposed boundary between Ethiopia and Eritrea; and if he will make a statement. [147823]

Hilary Benn: Her Majesty's Government keep in touch with the Governments of both Ethiopia and Eritrea at all levels. Towards the end of last year the Prime Minister wrote to both the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the President of Eritrea indicating that the Boundary Commission's decisions are final and binding and that the two parties should engage in dialogue.

I met the Ethiopian ambassador last month, during which we discussed the Peace Process. I also discussed the matter with the Eritrean Foreign Minister during his visit to London at the beginning of December.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa, my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin) has had extensive discussions on the Boundary Commission's report including meetings with the President of Eritrea and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia during his recent visit to the two countries.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much development aid has been provided to Ethiopia in each of the last three years. [148278]

Hilary Benn: The total net Official Development Assistance (oda) to Ethiopia over the last three years for which figures are available was as follows. These and all other figures include both development and humanitarian assistance.

US$ million

DFID bilateral expenditure in Ethiopia over the same period was:

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£ million

EC total net oda was:

EU Development Assistance

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts about possible further reforms to EU development assistance. [148516]

Hilary Benn: The EC's reform of its external assistance programmes is coming to an end. The UK Government, together with other member states, have urged the Commission to undertake an in-depth final assessment of this programme to assess its impact but, more importantly, to identify any need for further reforms. We believe further reforms should focus on increasing the level of resources to low income countries and also introducing more consistent use of best development practice throughout all EC programmes. A stronger focus on quality and results and a more rational institutional set up for managing EC aid are also important.

Human Trafficking

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reduction in the trafficking of women in (a) Laos, (b) Thailand, (c) China (Yunnan), (d) Cambodia and (e) Vietnam has been achieved by the International Labour Organisation. [148580]

Hilary Benn: Because the activity is criminal there are no accurate figures for the numbers of people who are trafficked and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) lacks hard data on progress with reductions. DFID is supporting ILO with a £6 million grant (over five years) to reduce vulnerability to trafficking through low incomes and ignorance of the realities. There is work in all five countries. The indications from China are that trafficking has been reduced or eliminated in communities (numbering around 80,000) participating in the programme. The programme includes work to improve the data.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian assistance has been provided to Iraq since April 2003 by (a) Australia, (b) Austria, (c) Bangladesh, (d) China, (e) Croatia, (f) the Czech Republic, (g) Denmark, (h) Finland, (i) France, (j) Germany, (k) Greece, (l) Iran, (m) Ireland, (n) Italy, (o) Japan, (p) Korea, (q) Kuwait, (r) Malaysia, (s) the Netherlands, (t) New

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Zealand, (u) Norway, (v) Russia, (w) Saudi Arabia, (x) Spain, (y) Sweden, (z) Switzerland and (aa) the United States of America. [148579]

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Hilary Benn: The following table shows contributions announced for humanitarian aid to Iraq since April 2003:

US$ millions

Australia64.9UN agencies, ICRC, and NGOs
Bangladesh2Food assistance
Croatia2.8Blankets, sleeping bags, flour, sugar, water purification disinfectants
Czech Republic41UNCHR, WFP, and assistance for refugees, health, and education
France10.7UNICEF, WFP, NGOs
Greece4.6UNHCR, ICRC, NGOs
Iran11Refugee camps
Ireland55.3UN agencies and NGOs
Japan212UN agencies, NGOs, bilateral assistance
Korea10UN agencies and Korean NGOs
Kuwait40UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, ICRC, water and sanitation, health
Malaysia2.5Humanitarian assistance
The Netherlands22UN Consolidated appeal and ICRC
New Zealand3.3UN agencies and NGOs
Norway56UN agencies, ICRC, and NGOs
RussiaN/a500MT of grain
Saudi Arabia13.3Medical assistance
Spain56.7UN agencies, bilateral refugee assistance, and NGOs
Switzerland21.9ICRC, UNCHR, IOM, IFRC, OCHA
United States of America623.6UN agencies, ICRC, IFRC, and NGOs

The countries listed above made the following pledges of reconstruction assistance for 2004–07 at the Madrid Donor's Conference on Iraq last October:

US$ millions

Czech Republic15
The Netherlands9
New Zealand3
Saudi Arabia500
United States of America18,649

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his most recent estimate is of the total cost of post-war reconstruction in Iraq; and how much (a) the United States and (b) EU member states will contribute to meeting that cost. [148581]

Hilary Benn: Needs assessments prepared by the United Nations and the World Bank, by the Coalition Provisional Authority, and Iraqi administrators, have estimated the reconstruction costs for Iraq to be $55 billion for 2004–07. These plans were presented by Iraqi Ministers at the Madrid Donor's Conference on Iraq in October 2003, and at least $33 billion in grants and soft loans was pledged. This includes pledges from the US of $18.6 billion, and a further $1 billion from EU member states (and acceding countries).

The balance of Iraq's investment requirements should be met from loans, foreign direct investment and Iraqi oil revenues.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how often meetings take place between representatives of his Department and the Coalition Provisional Authority to review progress of CPA projects funded by the Department. [149036]

Hilary Benn: The CPA projects funded by DFID are located in southern Iraq. Members of DFID staff seconded to CPA South are responsible for keeping these projects under review. They report to DFID Headquarters frequently.

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