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Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government are taking to ensure that civil society, including faith-based organisations, in developing countries are able to access resources for meeting the needs of orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and Aids. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: We fully recognise the key contribution that civil society organisations (CSO) have to play in tackling HIV and AIDS. We are therefore actively working to promote CSO involvement in national AIDS responses. We are, for example, working to find ways to help the flow of resources from National AIDS Commissions to NGOs and CSOs. These, including faith-based organisations, have an important role in helping to meet the needs of children affected by AIDSorphans and vulnerable childrenin terms of protection, care and support.
At the Global Partners' Forum on orphans and vulnerable children held in Washington DC in December 2004, I announced how the UK would meet our target of spending at least £150 million over the next three years to meet the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Most of this will be spent in Africa where the impacts of AIDS on children are most severe. We will mainly be providing funds though our country programmes to support national responses. We are already providing funds through NGOs to support vulnerable children in Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In a number of countries, such as Kenya and Zimbabwe, we are supporting the rapid assessment, analysis and action plan processes which have been led by UNICEF; effective civil society involvement in their implementation is an important issue for us. We are also
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in the process of developing support to UNICEF to work at both country level and in the case of southern Africa at sub-regional level to develop and implement national OVC action plans. We will be working with UNICEF to ensure that civil society organisations are appropriately included in these programmes.
An additional means of ensuring that civil society organisations are appropriately involved in responding to the needs of children affected by AIDS will be provided as we renew our agreements with key UK NGOs such as HelpAge International and Save the Children to include relevant AIDS-related work as a key objective. Out of the 18 partnership agreements we have with UK-based NGOs, 14 have specific objectives on HIV and AIDS. We will also increase our Civil Society Challenge Fund from £10 million to £14 million in 2005 and encourage proposals from NGOs wanting to provide support in this field.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government will take during its G8 and EU presidencies to fulfill the commitment to champion the needs of orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and Aids set out in the strategy for tackling HIV and Aids. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: We will use our Presidencies of the G8 and the EU to increase action on AIDS. This will include attention to the situation of children affected by the pandemic, the orphans and vulnerable children. Committing resources to implement the Framework for the protection, care and support of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) living in a world with HIV and AIDS", which is the global guidance developed by UNICEF and partners and widely endorsed by the international community, including DFID, is key. The framework is being translated into national OVC action plans16 have been developed in Sub-Saharan Africa and more are being planned.
DFID has announced a commitment to spend at least £150 million over three years on OVCs (of which £44 million will go to UNICEF for the development and implementation of national OVC action plans). We will be encouraging other G8 and EU member states to increase their support to national programmes. The USA has, like us, already earmarked funding and endorsed the framework as have Germany and Denmark. Canada and France also see OVCs as a priority issue, yet others have not yet followed this line.
Along with other member states we are engaging in the consultation process towards a new Programme for Action on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis which the EC expects to adopt in 2006. The current Programme for Action does not address orphans and vulnerable children and we will consider how best to address this gap in the forthcoming consultations. Discussions on the new EU Development Policy have only just started. The Commission has produced a Consultation on the future of EU Development Policy Issues Paper", which includes consideration of the broad themes of Development of human resources and
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citizens' rights' and Combating inequality and promoting social cohesion", both of which are likely to include consideration of orphans and vulnerable children. Consultations with members of the European Parliament and other member states will take place in due course.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what the average (a) income levels, (b) life expectancy, (c) per capita funding for education and (d) unemployment rate for (i) Israelis, (ii) Palestinians and (iii) Bedouins within Israel were in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; 
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(2) what the average (a) income levels, (b) life expectancy, (c) per capita funding for education and (d) unemployment rate for (i) Syrians, (ii) Kurds and (iii) Armenians within Syria were in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what the average (a) income levels, (b) life expectancy, (c) per capita funding for education and (d) unemployment rate for (i) Persians, (ii) Azeris and (iii) Kurds within Iran were in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: Statistics for the four countries requested are shown below. Breakdown by ethnic group in Israel, Syria and Iran is not readily available. DFID does not have a programme of assistance in any of these three countries.
|Income per capita (constant 1995 US$)|
|Life expectancy (at birth)|
|Education (approximate per capita US$)|
|Unemployment rate (Percentage)|
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the impact of microenterprises on the economic development of developing countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: A very large proportion of poor households own or work in microenterprises in the informal economy. In Africa, informal work is estimated to have accounted for almost 80 per cent. of non-agricultural employment and over 90 per cent. of new jobs. For women in Sub-Saharan Africa, the informal economy represents 92 per cent. of job opportunities outside agriculture.
DFID has supported microenterprise development directly through financial services, skills, technology and buyers, and indirectly through an improved policy and legal operating environment for microenterprises. DFID's current commitments to microfinance development projects in Asia and Africa total approximately £50 million. DFID supports country investment climate assessments, and contributed to the World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone" that highlights how governments can promote investment, productivity and job growth.
Most microenterprises operate informally, making collecting reliable data on their impact very difficult. However, microenterprises clearly play an important role in developing economies. The average share of the informal enterprise sector in non-agricultural official GDP varies from 27 per cent. in Northern Africa to 41 per cent. in Sub-Saharan Africa. We do know however that many poor individuals would much prefer less risky employment in larger enterprises or the public sector, than self employment in microenterprises.
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