|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the (a) study awards to and (b) activities undertaken by (i) AEC, (ii) AGRER and (iii) GTZ referred to in the latest audit report of the European Development Fund. 
Hilary Benn: Under EDF6, contracts for management of technical assistance and study scholarship awards were concluded by open tender. Successful tendering organisations were GTZ (Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeitthe German development co-operation implementing organisation), AEC (Association Europeenne des Conservatoiresa Commission-established cultural and educational network) and AGRER (providing studies and assistance in development assistance project implementation). Some Commission Delegations in partner countries also managed these schemes directly.
Advances were paid to Delegations in European Development Fund (EDF) partner-countries and to managing organisations in Europe as part of the normal system of financing scholarships, managing technical assistance and making payments to students.
The Commission is winding up the contracts with GTZ and AGRER. AEC is in liquidation. The advances were partially settled in 2004 (and this will appear next year in the Communication on the 2004 accounts) and further settlement will continue in 2005. Department for
13 Jan 2005 : Column 616W
International Development officials are in touch with the Commission over closure of these contracts and settlement of advances.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the doubtful debts from the Congolese account referred to in the latest audit report of the European Development Fund. 
Hilary Benn: A portion of a European Development Fund (EDF) beneficiary country's allocation is deposited in a local national state bank account for disbursal on the authority of the National Authorising Officer (NAO) with approval of the European Community (EC) Head of Delegation. When the 9th EDF became operational in April 2003, all previous EDFs were consolidated into EDF9. Upon consolidation £2.744 million allocated to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from previous EDFs remained as a full unspent balance in a local account.
When the November 2004 report of the accounts for the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th European Development Funds (EDF) for the financial year 2003 was being prepared, the European Commission was unable to obtain information on the unspent balance from the Banque Centrale du Congo. As there had been no Commission presence in the country since 1996, in accordance with the "prudence" principle in accounting, the Commission decided to provide in full for a potential loss.
However, the Commission has since been able to confirm that all the funds are still at its disposal in the original bank account. This has been confirmed in writing by the bank. In effect, therefore, the full amount concerned has now been recovered. The recovered funds will revert for reallocation within the DRC's current EDF programme.
Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what UK development aid has been given to Iraq in each of the last five years; what the planned level of aid is for the next two years; and what percentage of his Department's budget that aid represented in each of those years. 
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether departmental special advisers have written to external (a) bodies and (b) individuals in their official capacity since May 1997. 
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on how many occasions between 31 March 2002 and 31 March 2003 his special advisers travelled abroad in an official capacity; what places were visited; and how much each visit cost. 
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid has been provided to Sri Lanka by way of relief after the tsunami; how much of that aid has been distributed (a) to predominantly Tamil areas and (b) to predominantly Singhalese areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID's humanitarian response has been channelled through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement, non-governmental organisations and direct interventions aimed at addressing urgent requirements and in support of the United Nations assessment, information dissemination and coordination role. We have provided three airlifts to help deliver UK non-governmental organisations' relief items, airlifted tents and tarpaulins from our stockpile and deployed six personnel to support the relief effort. The assistance that we have provided and are supporting is geographically spread throughout the country and reaches Tamil, Muslim and Singhalese areas in proportion to their needs.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he is making to the Sri Lankan Government concerning its refusal to allow Kofi Annan to visit Tamil areas affected by the tsunami; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure aid to Sri Lanka after the tsunami is being distributed to Tamil areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID's humanitarian response has been channelled through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement, non-governmental organisations and direct interventions aimed at addressing urgent requirements and in support of the United Nations assessment, information dissemination and co-ordination role. This includes substantial support to Tamil areas in proportion to needs across the country. Our humanitarian advisers in country are monitoring the international response to ensure that aid is getting to all in need.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he has discussed with the relevant national and international bodies the possibility of individual communities devastated by the Asian earthquake being adopted by communities in the UK to raise funds for the rebuilding of a specific community; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: The Secretary of State for International Development recently visited Indonesia and Sri Lanka, where he met with representatives of the respective Governments and of UN agencies and major NGOs. The Governments of the countries affected are leading and co-ordinating the response to this disaster, both on immediate relief and longer term reconstruction, working together with the United Nations, the World Bank, and other agencies. The UK will be following up its immediate humanitarian response with longer-term support, working within the framework set out by the Governments concerned. It is of course important that longer term reconstruction in the areas affected is properly coordinated so as to be as effective as possible.
The most immediate way that local communities in the UK can assist is by contributing to appeals by humanitarian agencies. Where there is an existing link with an affected community overseas it makes good sense to build on that relationship by offering support to the overseas community. Where no such relationship currently exists, there may well be further scope for developing twinning arrangements with the aim of providing practical support.
A first step for UK communities wishing to be involved with local communities in the recovery effort would be to consult the relevant UK Embassies and High Commissions, and UK-based community organisations of the countries affected. Most have websites giving details of the most practical and effective ways of supporting the relief and reconstruction effort. DFID is in direct contact with the Governments and agencies concerned and provides details of how individuals and organisations in the UK can help through our website: www.dfid.gov.uk.
Since the disaster, we are in contact with the Local government association about how UK local authorities might be able to work with local municipalities and authorities in the countries affected by the tsunami. Local councils and authorities are eligible to apply to
13 Jan 2005 : Column 619W
DFID's Civil Society Challenge Fund, which aims to help poor and excluded people to enhance their capacity to organise, and get their voices heard and to demand better services and better access to them.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure that the reconstruction of areas affected by the tsunami is carried out in such a way as to build in extra protection from (a) future such events and (b) flooding caused by climate change. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID will work with the governments of the countries affected by the tsunami to ensure that disaster risk reduction measures are integral to the reconstruction of the devastated areas. I plan to discuss these issues with representatives of the governments concerned at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction later this month.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken to co-ordinate the work of the UK Government with non-governmental organisations on the tsunami disaster relief effort. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID has been in daily contact with British non-governmental organisations since the disaster struck. The Secretary of State for International Development and I met with representatives of the Disasters Emergencies Committee on 31 December and the Prime Minister and I had further discussions with them on 5 January. DFID officials hold weekly meetings with a wider group of non-governmental organisations to share operational information. We will continue to keep in close touch with non-governmental organisations here in the UK and through DFID's Country Offices during the relief phase and ensure that we maintain these strong contacts as we enter the recovery phase.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken to monitor effectiveness of spending of donations by (a) the Government and (b) the public to the tsunami disaster relief efforts. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID has standard procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of the assistance it provides that involve careful assessment of need and considered targeting of our response from the outset. DFID sent humanitarian advisers to the region to ensure funding decisions were based on good assessment and information and were part of a co-ordinated effort. The monitoring of our assistance is supported by DFID's Country Offices. We will be following up our response with an evaluation of its effectiveness.
DFID does not monitor the effectiveness of public contributions to the relief effort. The main non-governmental organisations have their own procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of their individual responses and members of the Disasters and Emergencies Committee (DEC) are committed to subsequent evaluation of their response, for each DEC public appeal.
13 Jan 2005 : Column 620W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|