Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with European Union counterparts about the (a) allocation and (b) delivery of EU aid to third world countries; and if he will make a statement. 
DFID continues to work for agreement that a much larger share of EC aid of higher quality should be allocated to low income countries where it will have the greatest impact on poverty reduction. Over the past two years, EC spending has been moving in the right direction, with 56 per cent. of aid being spent in low-income countries in 2003. A further re-balancing of aid is required if the Millennium Development Goals are to be met and the UK has called for the EC to spend 70 per cent. of its aid in low-income countries by 2008. This proportion would still recognise the needs of the poor in middle-income countries. It remains clear from the Council discussion that a number of other member states do not subscribe to this view. After a discussion, the Council Conclusions invited the Commission to find ways to increase focus on the poorest, with a specific focus on Africa.
EC aid has gone through serious reforms since it launched its reform programme back in 2000. DFID welcomes this and recognises important progress in terms of speedier delivery, more local capacity in the field and improved portfolio performance overall. Current reforms have focused on qualitative improvements. DFID believes there is a case for continuing reforms also under the new Commission, but with a focus on quality and impact of EC aid. The 23 November Council called upon the new Commission to undertake an assessment of EC External Assistance and to identify what follow up to the Reform Process is required focusing on quality, impact and results.
Mr. Gareth Thomas:
The Interim Iraqi Government (IIG) is leading on humanitarian and reconstruction work in Falluja and has established a central team to co-ordinate its assistance to the people of Fallujah. The UK is in close contact with the IIG, and DFID is providing technical advice to its Fallujah coordination team.
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The IIG and the Multi-National Force operating in Fallujah have reported that there is no humanitarian crisis so far and humanitarian visits to Falluja by British military officials confirm this assessment. The Iraqi Ministry of Health, Iraqi Security Forces, and the Multi-National Force have reported that their stockpiles of humanitarian supplies have provided for the immediate needs of Falluja's civilians. The IIG and Iraqi Red Crescent trucks containing humanitarian supplies are entering the city and distributing food, water, and medical supplies. Work to clear rubble and restore basic services is also underway.
DFID is maintaining close contact with the IIG, with representatives of the Multi-National Force, and with humanitarian organisations on the ground, to address the needs of Falluja's population. DFID is ready to respond positively to requests for humanitarian help or further advice in Falluja or elsewhere.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information he has received on the (a) location and (b) humanitarian condition of Iraqi civilians who left Falluja in advance of the US bombing. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: The Iraqi Interim Government (IIG), together with its humanitarian agency partners, is monitoring the location and condition of Falluja's displaced population. The IIG has reported that the main concentrations of Falluja's civilians are located in Ameria, Habania, Saqlawiyah, and Gaana, with a significant number also in Baghdad.
The IIG judges that there is no humanitarian crisis in Falluja or the surrounding area.The Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH) assessment teams have visited the four areas around Falluja where it considers the main concentrations of Falluja's displaced population to be located. The MoH teams report that most of the displaced citizens are staying with family and friends, some are in schools, mosques, and government buildings, and a small number are in tents. Pre-positioning of supplies has helped to provide for immediate needs, and the IIG and humanitarian agencies are continuing to deliver essential food, water, blankets and medical supplies. The IIG plans to send public health teams and medical staff into the four main areas to address potential health and hygiene concerns until it is safe for the displaced families to return to Falluja. DFID is providing technical advice to the IIG Falluja co-ordination team and is ready to respond positively to further requests for humanitarian help or advice in Falluja and the surrounding area.
Mr. Gareth Thomas:
The Interim Iraqi Government (IIG) is leading on assistance to the citizens of Falluja who left the city before military action took place. The IIG has established a ministerial team to co-ordinate its response, which includes supplying food, water and medical supplies to Falluja's displaced population, and planning for their safe return to the city. DFID is
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providing advice to the IIG Falluja team and is ready to respond positively to requests for further humanitarian help or advice in Falluja and the surrounding area.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what studies his Department has undertaken into the effects that the European Commission's proposed price reductions on sugar will have on his Department's existing programmes in Jamaica. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID is currently reviewing the composition of its Jamaica programme, developing in more detail, the areas identified in the Regional Assistance Plan for the Caribbean. This assessment will be undertaken in discussion with the Government of Jamaica and in light of the studies on the potential impact of sugar price changes.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what assessment his Department has made of the impact that a three-year transition period and a price reduction on sugar would have on the sugar industry in Jamaica; 
(2) what studies his Department has undertaken into the effects that the European Commission's proposed price reductions on sugar would have on the sugar industry in (a) Jamaica and (b) the wider Caribbean region. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID recognises that the reform of the EU sugar regime will have a significant impact on the sugar industry in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and hence on many communities already among the poorest in the region.
The impact of EU reform will vary between countries, and will depend crucially on the policies that Caribbean countries adopt with regard to their sugar industries. The Government of Jamaica are bringing together representatives of the Government, the sugar industry, academia, trade unions, and other civil society organisations to identify possible future scenarios for Jamaica's agricultural sector. The exercise will develop a relevant and practical action plan for the future, which will be passed to the Government of Jamaica for consideration and action.
The impact of EU reform will also depend on the transitional assistance available. On a parallel track, DFID is working to ensure that the EU offers the most effective possible package of transitional assistance.
In order to help inform the debate and ensure the impact on developing countries is taken sufficiently into consideration, DFID commissioned a study last year with LMC International and Oxford Policy Management, 'Addressing the Impact of Preference Erosion in Sugar on Developing Countries'. The study is divided into two sections. The first part assesses the economic and social impact on the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) Sugar Protocol countries of the various reform scenarios suggested by the European Commission. The second part of the study assesses alternative options for addressing the impact of
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preference erosion in sugar. The purpose of this analysis was to identify various options for debate by the ACP and the EU.
DFID has recently commissioned two further pieces of work on this issue: from LMC International, 'EU Sugar Reform: the Implications for the Development of Least Developed Countries (LDC)s' and from the Overseas Development Institute: 'Forthcoming changes in EU sugar/banana markets: a menu of options for an effective EU transitional assistance package'. This latter report should help those countries affected by reform determine their priorities for a transitional package. It also includes some analysis of alternative uses for sugar.
DFID is now following up this work by commissioning a series of country profiles for those Caribbean countries that will be affected by the change in the EU trade regime. The principle objective of these profiles is to identify a specific menu of options for an effective competitive fund package, which addressees the impact of sugar reform at both the national and the household level.
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