|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether his Department's .gov.uk websites comply with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines adopted by the Government in 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: The DFID website (www.dfid.gov.uk) has been redesigned and relaunched in August 2004 to comply with the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and Cabinet Office's e-government Unit guidelines.
Every HTML page that is published on dfid.gov.uk is checked using Bobby web accessibility checking software. Pages are only published when there are no errors at Priorities 1, 2 or 3. Priority 3 is the highest level of conformance and the fact that we use this as standard shows how committed DFID is to providing for people with disabilities.
Website development is ongoing and we hope to continue improving the way in which we provide information for users with disabilities in the next year. DFID Website and Intranet Teams will receive training from the RNIB early in 2005 with a view to ensuring that they maintain their understanding of accessibility issues.
We have two stand alone departmental sites DFID Bangladesh (http://www.dfidbangladesh.org/) and DFID India (http://www.dfidbangladesh.org/) which do not meet basic accessibility standards. We aim to integrate these into the main dfid.gov.uk within the next 12 months.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: The UK has committed to paying our share of multilateral debt service costs to IDA (the concessional lending arm of the World Bank) and the African Development Fund for all countries that have completed the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and all other IDA-only countries with robust public expenditure management systems. We have calculated our share to be 10.14 per cent. based on our burden share from the last replenishment round of IDA.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress the UK
1 Dec 2004 : Column 152W
Government has made towards implementing commitments made at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development to increase the availability of renewable energy sources and promote measures to improve energy efficiency under the (a) REEEP Programme of Work, (b) Export Credits Guarantee Department Renewables Initiatives Process and (c) Global Village Energy Partnership; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas [holding answer 30 November 2004]: The energy commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) include action to improve access to reliable and affordable energy services as well as to increase the use of renewable energy and to promote the more efficient use of energy. The UK, through the work of several Government Departments, is actively following up on these commitments, including those referred to in the question.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) was announced at the WSSD and launched in London in October 2003. The international secretariat, initially within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), moved to Vienna in the summer of 2004, where it was established with a full-time manager and staff. In addition, five regional REEEP secretariats have been set up in various parts of the world. In addition to core funds provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the FCO Global Opportunities Fund has provided £2 million for projects. Other contributing partners include Austria, Germany, Italy and the US. REEEP is working with other WSSD partnerships, including the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP).
The Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) Renewable Energy Initiative, also announced at the WSSD, is to support UK exports of renewable energy technologies, providing up to £50 million of cover each year. Marketing of the initiative is a joint effort of the Department for Trade and Industry and the ECGD. Renewable energy exports to emerging markets take time to develop and there has been no take-up of the facility by UK exporters to date. However, the cover remains available and will continue to be promoted by ECGD officials and DTI trade promoters.
The Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) seeks to improve access to energy in developing countries, in support of economic and social development and poverty reduction. It promotes all technology options, including renewable energy where appropriate. The secretariat is hosted by a leading UK-based international NGO, with a full-time manager funded by the World Bank. GVEP has attracted over 400 partner organisations globally. A major part of its interest is to improve access to energy in Africa. DFID has provided £700,000 core funding and the full-time input of an energy expert. Other contributing partners include five EU member states, the UN Foundation, the US Agency for International Development and the United Nations Development Programme. DFID is actively encouraging GVEP and REEEP to work together, and with other energy access initiatives such as the EU Energy Initiative.
1 Dec 2004 : Column 153W
Mr. Gareth Thomas [holding answer 30 November 2004]: DFID does not intend to lead the Ethiopia country dialogue under the EU Water Initiative but is intending to strengthen the capacity of the EC delegation in Addis Ababa to take the lead on the policy dialogue and the administration of the EU Water Facility.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the effect of the coming into force of the European constitution on the operation of his Department, with reference to (a) changes in legislative competence, (b) the extension of qualified majority voting, (c) the increased legislative role of the European Parliament, (d) the cost of implementation of regulations, (e) the requirements of adherence to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and (f) the quantity of legislation originating in the EU institutions. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 29 November 2004]: The EU Water Initiative aims to improve coordination of EC and EU member states' development expenditure on water and sanitation, focusing on water resource management as well as service delivery.
The EU Water Initiative was launched in 2002 in Johannesburg, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The initiative was signed by the Presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and the European Commission, and by the Secretary-General of the UN.
Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to provide additional resources to the Finance Working Group of the European Union Water Initiative in order to implement their commitment to the Water Action Plan. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas [holding answer 29 November 2004]: The Department for International Development (DFID), chairs the Finance Working Group of the European Union Water Initiative and provides financial expertise to the Working Group. In addition, DFID supports all aspects of the EU Water Initiative through the secondment of a sector specialist to the European Commission and through the provision of expertise to other Working Groups. Over this financial year DFID will have spent £150,000 on the EU Water Initiative, and has budgeted for the same amount for the 200506 financial year.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|