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Road Safety

Dr. Moonie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what action his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take in response to UN General Assembly Resolution A/58/L60 on Improving Global Road Safety; and if he will make a statement; [213329]

(2) what action his Department has taken in response to the World Health Organisation and World Bank report on road traffic injury prevention, published in April 2004; and if he will make a statement; [213330]

(3) what funding was provided in (a) cash and (b) percentage terms for (i) transport-related projects, (ii) road transport-related projects and (iii) road safety-related projects in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [213331]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The joint World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank World report on road traffic injury prevention brings much needed attention to the global impact of road accidents on low and middle income countries. DFID welcomes the UN resolution on Improving Road Safety noting the recommendations of the World Report and inviting the WHO to act as co-ordinator on road safety issues.

The Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) was established to increase awareness of road safety and promote sustainable reductions in death and injury on roads in developing and transition countries. DFID has supported the GRSP since it was founded in 1999. Our support in recent years has reduced as this partnership between businesses, civil society and Governments has become established drawing in contributions from a growing membership and our support is set to end in March this year. Since 1997, DFID has also supported a number of research projects under the theme improve transport safety and reduce the impact of accidents particularly for poor people in rural and urban areas".

DFID is currently leading on setting up a new Transport Knowledge Partnership (TKP), which will serve as a means of disseminating knowledge on
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transport in the developing countries. The TKP will be launched later this month in Manila and is intended to become a common platform for development agencies and governments to share transport related knowledge and lessons, including road safety activities such as GRSP.

DFID has maintained constant support to the transport sectors of developing countries. The funding we have provided has been in the region of £50 million to £60 million year on year since 1997. However as the total bilateral spend has doubled from 1997 to the present, the percentage allocated has fallen from 5.7 per cent. in 1997–98 to 2.1 per cent. in 2003–04. In addition to this project expenditure, DFID contributions to the multilateral donor organisations support the transport sector.

Road transport forms approximately 40 per cent. of the transport portfolio. The following table gives expenditure for road-transport related projects for each year since 1997. The table also shows expenditure on road safety related projects.
DFID bilateral expenditure

Road-transport related projectsRoad-safety
related projects

DFID Statistical Reporting and Support Group

This work has involved research, road-safety education in schools and communities, engineering safety measures, and support to the Global Road Safety Partnership. Increasingly we are placing attention on working alongside others to promote road safety policies and practices, such as through the establishment of TKP and regionally through programmes such as the Sub-Sahara Africa Transport Policy Programme, which includes a road safety component. By raising awareness of road safety issues, some developing and transition countries are beginning to put more emphasis on funding road safety through their own budget allocations.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development 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. [210544]

Hilary Benn: DFID's special advisers attend a number of meetings with external representatives. DFID does not hold a full record of special advisers' meetings. All such meetings are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers".
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Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development 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. [210563]

Hilary Benn: DFID's special advisers did not made any speeches in an official capacity in the period in question, as in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers".


Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will estimate the cost of the new debt initiative announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his recent visit to Tanzania. [213080]

Hilary Benn: The UK's initiative aims to provide full relief on multilateral debt service so that no country committed to poverty reduction has to choose between servicing their debt and funding development. The UK will pay 10 per cent. of the debt service owed to the International Development Association (IDA) and African Development Fund (AfDF) on behalf of eligible countries. All low income countries with a demonstrated commitment to use additional resources provided by debt relief could be eligible. These countries are those that have reached Completion Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, and all other IDA-only (i.e. eligible to borrow only from the most concessional lending arm of the World Bank) Low-Income Countries (LICs) that have a Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) approved by the World Bank. Sri Lanka has also been added in light of the impact of the South East Asia tsunami.

The list of currently eligible countries comprises 15 post-Completion Point HIPCs, four IDA-only LICs with PRSCs, and Sri Lanka. The initiative is effective from the start of 2005 covering debt service through to 2015, when a review will consider further needs. The UK's share of debt service payments for the currently eligible countries over the next three years will be around US $161 million. The cost to the UK for these countries through to 2015 will be US $884 million. This represents the minimum cost to the UK of this initiative.

As more countries progress through the HIPC Initiative, or have PRSCs approved, the list of eligible countries will expand. The cost to the UK through to 2015 for all countries that could potentially qualify would be US $1,921 million. This represents the maximum cost to the UK of this initiative.

Tanzania has formally completed the HIPC process and is therefore currently eligible to benefit from this relief. The UK will pay 10 per cent. of its debt service costs to IDA and the AfDF, which will amount to approximately US$ 14 million over the next three years, and US $74 million through to 2015.

The UK is calling on all developed countries to join us in this initiative to provide full relief on multilateral debt service. For the World Bank and African Development Bank the cost of this full relief through to 2015 for
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currently eligible countries would be US $8.8 billion and US $19.2 billion for all potentially eligible countries. Full relief on debts owed to the International Monetary Fund could add up to another US $5 billion through to 2015 and the UK is proposing that this be financed by a sale or revaluation of the International Monetary Fund's gold reserves.

Welsh Language Scheme

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department's Welsh language scheme was approved by the Welsh Language Board; and on what date the scheme was implemented. [211335]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID does not have a Welsh Language Scheme but works in consultation with our colleagues in the Welsh Assembly in order to provide major policy documents in Welsh.


World Poverty Reduction

13. Anne Picking: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contribution the UK is making to meeting the 2015 targets for reducing world poverty. [213427]

Mr. Timms: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the aim of all UK development policy. We pursue it by supporting countries' own efforts, including through increasing aid and delivering it better. We are working with G8 and EU governments this year to finance 100 per cent. multilateral debt relief and to secure agreement to the International Finance Facility to provide the resources needed.

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