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DFID has been the fourth largest donor to WFP this year, with a commitment of nearly £50 million, of which 90 per cent. is targeted to Africa. DFID's contribution to emergency food aid needs for 2005 is likely to be comparable to 2004, should the humanitarian need remain proportional to 2004.
Hilary Benn: Since the establishment of the transitional Government, we have expanded our bilateral development programme in DRC, which stands at £34 million this year. On top of humanitarian assistance, our support is focused on four main areas, as long as the peace process remains on track:
Mr. Gareth Thomas:
The large volumes of development assistance that have been and continue to be provided in the Balkans have not been well co-ordinated, either by donors or governments. The region lags behind international best practice on donor harmonisation. However, some progress is now being made and the UK is making an important contribution to improving the effectiveness of aid in the region. In Albania, Bosnia and Serbia, we are helping to strengthen the governments' ability to manage external assistance. We are also promoting better donor co-ordination within the international community to ensure that development assistance provided for poverty reduction is well co-ordinated with support provided for European integration.
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14. Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many new investments have been made by CDC in the past 12 months; and what percentage by value were made in sub-Saharan Africa. 
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the predicted number of people depending on food aid in 2005 in Eritrea; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: The UN Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for 2005 estimates that 2.2 million people are in need of emergency food aid assistance. Initial feedback from the recent Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme Crop Assessment Mission to Eritrea is that the harvest for 2004 is likely to be similar or slightly less than last year. Last year's harvest was only 45 per cent. of the average harvest for the previous five years. The UN CAP is for $158 million, of which, $144 million is specifically for food aid.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the current stores of food aid (a) situated in and (b) readily available to organisations distributing aid in Eritrea; what estimate he has made of the adequacy of these stores to meet food aid requirements for 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: Current stores of food aid in Eritrea amount to 149,000 mt. 102,000 mt is held by the Government of Eritrea which includes donations from bilateral donorsUS, Japan and the EU, the remaining 47,000 mt has been donated by the World Food Programme (WFP). The UN Consolidated Appeal identifies a national food deficit for 2005 of 505,000 mt and of this, 384,000 mt is required in the form of emergency food assistance. Eritrea has a good road network, but fuel shortages are currently limiting the distribution capacity of a number of organisations.
DFID contributed £1 million to the WFP food aid operations in Eritrea in 2004. Sufficient food aid is available for operations in the first part of 2005; further contributions may be required later in the year. DFID stands ready to provide further assistance if this is required in the coming year.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department has (a) funded and (b) managed in conjunction with the Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission since 1998; and if he will make a statement. 
DFID has no history of direct funding support for or managing projects in conjunction with Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission (ERREC). DFID addresses the same aims and needs as identified by ERREC through supporting international NGOs
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with whom we have a track record and whom we believe can deliver effectively. NGOs in Eritrea work closely with ERREC.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proposals his Department has (a) made and (b) implemented since 1997 for projects aimed at the (i) minimisation and (ii) halting of soil erosion in Eritrea; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: DFID has funded several local NGO projects through its Small Grant Scheme for Eritrea which is managed by the British embassy in Asmara. Projects have focused on tree planting, water conservation management, and improving the efficiency of Mogodo (wood burning) stoves. No larger scale programmes are currently envisaged as DFID's programme budget for Eritrea is used to support emergency humanitarian assistance based on need.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions (a) he, (b) members of his Department and (c) UK representatives have had with (i) members and (ii) representatives of the (A) US Administration and (B) Italian government since 1998 regarding (1) food aid, (2) development and (3) debt relief to Eritrea; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: Discussions with members of the US administration and the Italian Government have been held during donor group meetings in Asmara and with EC wide groups regarding humanitarian and development assistance. There have been no separate bilateral discussions. The UK has not had any discussions over the issue of debt relief. Eritrea does not qualified as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) under the original level of indebtedness criterion and has not come to the Paris Club for a treatment of its debts.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution in terms of (a) speakers and (b) resources his Department made to the International Conference reviewing the 1997 Ottawa Convention on Landmines held in December in Nairobi; and if he will place in the Library the final declaration of the Review Conference. 
Hilary Benn: The Review Conference for the Mine Ban Treaty recently held in Nairobi was attended by a UK delegation comprising of officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. The Head of the UK Delegation, Mr. John Freeman, the UK Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva gave the UK statement.
DFID also contributed to the costs of bringing delegates from poorer mine affected countries via our financial support to the sponsorship scheme which was set up under the Convention to assist these countries. Over the past 12 months DFID has provided £16,660 to this scheme.
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