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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 31 January 2005


Freedom of Information

John Mann: To ask the Solicitor-General what categories of information are available under Freedom of Information legislation that have not been provided in written parliamentary answers by her Department in the last three years. [207812]

The Solicitor-General: I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 24 January 2005, Official Report, column 140W by the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs.


Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Leader of the House if he will list the occasions between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2004 when special advisers attended meetings with external representatives at which Ministers were not present. [210546]

Mr. Hain: Special advisers hold meetings with a wide range of external representatives in their official capacity. All such meetings are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers".

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Leader of the House if he will list the speeches his special advisers made in an official capacity between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2004, broken down by date. [210552]

Mr. Hain: None.



Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) humanitarian and (b) security situation of Banyamulenge refugees in Burundi; and if he will make a statement. [211395]

Hilary Benn: DFID and other members of the international community are paying close attention to the situation of the Banyamulenge refugees in Burundi.

Through its spokesman, the Burundian army has stated publicly that recent threats against the Banyamulenge should be taken seriously and that it is taking additional measures to protect the Banyamulenge refugees living in Burundi. The UK,
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United Nations and international partners continue to remind the Burundi authorities of their responsibilities in this area.

There are around 3,000 refugees in official sites in Mwaro and Muyinga provinces. The UN Mission in Burundi (ONUB) has increased its patrols in the area where Banyamulenge are known to be living and will monitor protection arrangements efforts promised by the Burundi authorities. The United Nations Mission in Burundi (ONUB) Force Commander is in close contact with the commander of the Burundian First Military Region. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees is closely monitoring the situation in those camps and humanitarian assistance is being provided.

In addition, another 80 Banyamulenge families are living in a former transit site at Ngagara in Bujumbura town, living and working among the local community. Their security is the responsibility of the Burundi Government, but ONUB is also monitoring the situation closely.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the current drought in Kirundo Province in Burundi on the (a) economic and (b) humanitarian situation in (i) Busoni, (ii) Bugabira, (iii)Ntega, (iv) Kirundo and (v) Burundi as a whole; and if he will make a statement. [211396]

Hilary Benn: Cyclical periods of drought and cassava pest (manioc mosaic) are having an adverse impact on the availability of food and on households' capacity to produce food in the northern provinces of Burundi. The World Food Programme (WFP) has said it will assist 520,000 people in the provinces of Kirundo and Muyinga for the next two months. This month it delivered 1,485 metric tonnes of food aid to 176,000 people in the communes of Busoni, Bugabira and Kirundo.

Distribution of food aid and emergency agricultural inputs (seeds and tools) have been increased since July 2004, but these have had a limited impact because of poor rains, extremely low productivity of the land, reduced arable land by household and the poor health status of the population. The negative impact of these combined factors on food security and nutrition show the widespread and extreme fragility of an average Burundian household.

DFID has contributed £750,000 to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) through the UN Consolidated Appeal for emergency agriculture activities in an effort to improve the food security situation. The WFP has said it has enough funding for food aid for the next five months. We are concentrating our efforts on food security through the FAO and looking at other support in an effort to prevent a recurrence of the present situation.

Civil Society Challenge Fund

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the amounts paid over the last two years from the Civil Society Fund,
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broken down by (a) the recipient, (b) the country they are operating in and (c) the purpose of the grant. [211100]

Hilary Benn: For fiscal years 2002–03 and 2003–04, the Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) funded 202 projects. Those projects were implemented and administered by 98 different United Kingdom Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

I have arranged for the document entitled Projects funded under DFID's Civil Society Challenge Fund—2002–03 and 2003–04" to be deposited in the Libraries of the House, which shows each of the individual projects together with the CSOs, the country in which they worked, the name of each project and the amounts spent by them on each project for the fiscal years 2002–03 and 2003–04.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make it his policy to give direct grants to Iraqi non-governmental organisations that operate in accordance with his Department's humanitarian objectives; and if he will make a statement. [211316]

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Hilary Benn: The last 18 months has seen the formation of many new Iraqi Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) seeking to address and articulate the rights of ordinary Iraqis. CSOs include such bodies as non-governmental organisations, professional unions and associations, faith-based organisations, government and legislative bodies. With little history of independent civil society in Iraq, many of these CSOs lack capacity. DFID's Civil Society Fund (CSF), a two-year programme with a budget of £5 million, seeks to strengthen the capacity of Iraqi CSOs better to address the needs of poor, vulnerable and socially excluded groups, especially women and young people. Much of the fund is aimed at building links between Iraqi and international CSOs. However, direct funding for Iraqi CSOs is also available.

Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 24 January 2005, Official Report, column 25W, on Iraq, if he will list the multilateral organisations to which the UK Government has contributed since April 2003; in what month each contribution was made; and how much was contributed to each organisation. [211830]

Hilary Benn: Since April 2003, monthly DFID expenditure to multilateral organisations for Iraq has been:
MayWorld Food Programme (WFP)5,000,000
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)7,035,000
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)7,000,000
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)750,000
JuneFood and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)1,500,000
World Health Organisation (WHO)5,000,000
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)4,000,000
United Nations Security Coordination Office (UNSECOORD)100,000
JulyUnited Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR)400,000
International Monetary Fund (IMF)525,000
NovemberUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP)5,116,312
FebruaryUnited Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)358,573
MarchWorld Bank International Trust Fund40,000,000
United Nations International Trust Fund30,000,000
World Bank International Finance Corporation (IFC)8,324,084
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)500,000

Total since April 2003: £156,275,224.

In May 2003, DFID also contributed £16,000,000 to the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement for its work in Iraq.

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