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Mr. Bradshaw: The Forestry Commission announced in March 2004 that the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) would replace the Woodland Grant Scheme in 2005. The EWGS, which is expected to be fully open for applications from July, comprises six elements which are designed to support the establishment and management of sustainable woodland. These are:
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what action his Department has taken to ensure that (a) Dalits and (b) indigenous peoples benefit from the UK aid money to the region affected by the tsunami; and what (i) funds and (ii) programmes are specifically earmarked for (A) the Dalit community and (B) indigenous people in that region; 
(3) if he will list the (a) funds and (b) programmes delivered by his Department on a (i) unilateral, (ii) bilateral and (iii) multilateral basis for the region affected by the tsunami which have a specific focus on enabling women to participate fully in the reconstruction of their communities. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: In all its humanitarian responses, DFID works to ensure that the activities of the humanitarian community are informed by a solid analysis of the specific needs of the affected population. This requires assessment of and response to specific vulnerabilities and vulnerable groups, including women, orphans, the elderly, and, in the Asian context, the Dalit community, and indigenous people in the region. In addition, DFID humanitarian funding is often directly targeted at such groups. Following the Indian Ocean disaster, DFID has channelled £400,000 through the Save the Children Fund and £2,250,000 through the United Nations Children Fund to support orphans and other vulnerable children. The activities of the United Nations Children Fund are also targeted towards pregnant and lactating mothers. In addition, DFID has channelled £483,054 through Help Age International.
DFID is aware that social exclusion and discrimination on the grounds of gender, caste, ethnicity or religion constrain access to resources by some of the poorest people in Asia. DFID has made a public commitment in its Asia Director's Delivery Plan and Country Assistance Plans to ensuring that reduction of social exclusion is explicitly addressed in all its Asia programmes. DFID also regards the empowerment of women as an essential precondition for the elimination of poverty and the upholding of human rights.
DFID promotes an inclusive approach to ensure that no groups are excluded from mainstream programmes. DFID seeks to address the causes and consequences of exclusion and encourages disagregation of data by Governments in the region, where possible, to ensure that programmes are in fact reaching the poorest marginalized groups and to identify where programmes are failing.
DFID works with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations in the poorest areas that advocate the rights of excluded groups. In India, DFID is currently supporting the development of a system to assess how well social exclusion is being addressed in the tsunami relief programme. Many
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NGOs, including some that are not receiving DFID funding have asked to be involved in this auditing scheme.
Experience suggests that real change cannot be imposed by outside agencies. Recipients of aid, whether they are individuals, groups or Governments need to be convinced of the need for social inclusion.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the (a) nature and (b) impact of development projects undertaken in Burma since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID withdrew its bilateral development support to Burma in 1988 as a response to the military takeover that year. In 2001, when the view of the political situation in Burma took a more optimistic turn, DFID worked towards reviving its programme.
It is clear that progress towards a political settlement in Burma is an essential ingredient for significant pro-poor development and until such progress is made large-scale, sustainable poverty reduction will remain out of reach. However, as is explained in the DFID Burma Country Plan (available at www.dfid.gov.uk) we continue to believe that in certain areas, we can have a valuable impact on poverty in Burma.
In 200304, as part of its work to prepare the Country Plan, DFID reviewed its experience of working in Burma and consulted widely with colleagues including FCO, civil society groups inside and outside Burma, the National League for Democracy the UN and other donors. Some key lessons identified by this work included: the need to be realistic about what we seek to achieve; the importance of taking a long-term approach; that it can be possible to influence Government policy in certain areas; and that donors need to, and can, work better together in Burma to share lessons and experience to increase our impact.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what cash donations for emergency aid the Government have given to Guyana (a) through the EU, (b) through non-governmental organisations and (c) directly, following the recent flooding; and if he will make a statement; 
This has comprised an immediate £100,000 to the Government of Guyana's own relief effort and to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for the delivery of emergency supplies. These funds are providing water purification sachets and water containers, survival items such as blankets and treated mosquito nets to reduce the chances of malarial infection.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has received £120,000 from DFID for a 20-member rapid response unit using six boats to help with the distribution of supplies in areas cut off by the floods. The RNLI team arrived in Georgetown on Wednesday 2 February, and have started their work.
A further £57,000 has been allocated to the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) to help improve the quality of drinking water for up to 195,000 people and offer solutions for human waste disposal.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) technical assistance, (b) advice and (c) cash donations the Government have given to the Caribbean for disaster management following (i) Hurricane Ivan and (ii) the recent floods in Guyana. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: The events of last year's hurricane season in the Caribbean, has given an added urgency to the Department for International Development's (DFID) work on a Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy. There are best practice lessons to be learnt from within the region, for example in its preparedness for Hurricane Mitch and Cuba demonstrated that lives can be saved with a relatively small amount of resources. DFID's Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy, will be ready by autumn 2005, and will feed into our assistance plans for all the countries and regions where we work.
Over the period 200308, DFID is providing £3.75 million to the Pan American Health Organisation's Programme for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief (PAHO PED). Of this money approximately a third will be allocated to the countries and territories of the Caribbean. PAHO PED focus on three key activities:
DFID's Overseas Territories Department (OTD) have a Disaster Management Adviser based in the Caribbean and an ongoing disaster management programme (£350,000 per annum) with an emphasis on strengthening preparedness and risk reduction capabilities in the Caribbean Territories.
The FCO has a £55,000 per annum Good Governance Fund (GGF) disaster management project for the Overseas Territories (OTs) designed to raise the capacities of National Disaster Offices in the Caribbean OTs.
Within these programmes DFID OTD and FCO OTD are providing £80,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency and Response Agency (CDERA) to facilitate national performance evaluations by Caribbean countries affected in the 2004 hurricane season. A high level forum is being organised for 2005 to share experiences, to identify opportunities to improve disaster planning and to agree an action plan. Evaluations are already under way.
In a written response I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) on 25 October 2004, Official Report, column 989W, Imentioned that DFID OTD had commenced a study to determine Hurricane Ivan storm characteristics and consequential physical infrastructure damage in the Cayman Islands. The study, to which we have allocated £20,000, will aid the development of planning and preparedness criteria throughout the region.
The disaster management adviser offers direct technical assistance to Caribbean Overseas Territories. He remains engaged and involved in the longer-term recovery and risk reduction programme in the Cayman Islands.
With respect to the ongoing flooding emergency in Guyana, which is estimated to have affected 294,000 people or 39 per cent. of the population of Guyana, DFID immediately gave a total of £100,000 to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for the delivery of emergency supplies and the Government of Guyana's own relief effort. This support will provide water purification sachets and water containers, and survival items such as blankets and treated mosquito nets to reduce the chances of malarial infection.
DFID has also made available a 20-member six boat team from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's (RNLI) Rapid Response Unit. This team is led by a member of DFID's Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department, and will help with the distribution of supplies in areas cut off by the floods. The estimated cost of the RNLI initiative is £120,000, which includes the provision of 400 pairs of waders and 50 loudhailers (worth £15,000). The RNLI team and these supplies arrived in Georgetown on 2 February 2005. The RNLI team began work immediately and the supplies have been handed over to the Government of Guyana's Civil Defence Commission.
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A further £57,000 has been allocated to the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) in Guyana, to help improve the quality of drinking water for up to 195,000 people/35,000 households and offer short-term solutions for human waste disposal.
Once the immediate emergency has passed, we will work with the Government of Guyana, local and international relief agencies, to review and assess Guyana's disaster preparedness and the lessons learned from these floods.
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