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Chile (Earthquake Assistance)

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions have taken place with the government of Chile about redevelopment assistance following the earthquake in the northern Andean region. [6937]

Mr. Thomas: Based on reports of the Chilean Disaster Management Office to the United Nations, the earthquake that affected Chile on 13 June caused nine deaths and 100 injured. The Government of Chile has not requested international assistance. DFID has not had discussions with the Government of Chile following the earthquake.

Civil Society Challenge Fund

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Civil Society Challenge Fund. [7367]

Mr. Thomas: All Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) project partners must submit an annual narrative and financial report detailing progress against agreed outcomes. Every year 30 per cent. of these are selected for comprehensive appraisal by external consultants, the rest are assessed internally.

Every CSCF partner must produce a Project Completion Report detailing successes, failures and lessons learned. All of these are fully appraised by external consultants. In addition, DFID encourages all CSCF project partners to carry out a full evaluation towards the end of project. These evaluations are also fully appraised by our external consultants.

DFID also undertakes a number of field visits each year to a cross section of CSCF projects to verify the progress being made.


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions his Department has had with the US administration regarding political instability in Colombia. [7368]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has not had direct discussions with the US Administration on political instability in Colombia.
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The British and US Governments have regular discussions on issues of shared interest. The discussions include Colombia where we have a common interest in helping Colombia tackle the inter-connected problems of illegal drugs, armed conflict and human rights abuses. Britain and Colombia are also part of the G24, the group drawn from participants at the London Meeting of International Support to Colombia in July 2003 that meets regularly in Bogota to carry forward the relationship with and support to the Government of Colombia.

Female Education

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of progress towards access to reproductive education for women in third world countries. [6986]

Hilary Benn: The most recent assessment of progress is that contained in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Report: State of the World Population 2004: The Cairo Consensus at Ten: Population Reproductive Health and the Global Effort to End Poverty". The report shows areas of progress in meeting the 1994 Cairo goal of ensuring universal voluntary access to a full range of reproductive health, education, information, care and services by 2015.

Many countries have established or are developing reproductive health programmes and are recognising also the links between female education and reproductive health. But millions of people—particularly poor women—still lack access to quality services, including accurate information, education and modern family planning methods. This is why DFID continues to give priority to supporting reproductive health and rights for women.

Global Environment Facility

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much the UK is due to pay into the Global Environment Facility in 2005; how much has been contributed to date; and if he will make a statement. [7417]

Mr. Thomas: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provides grants and concessional funds to help developing countries fund projects and programmes that protect the global environment. Established in 1991, the GEF is the designated financial mechanism for the international conventions on biodiversity, climate change, persistent organic pollutants and desertification. The GEF also supports projects that protect international waters and the ozone layer. Since 1991, the GEF has provided $4.5 billion in grants and generated $14.5 billion in co-financing from other partners for projects in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Donor nations commit funds to replenish the facility every four years. To date, DFID has contributed £89.5 million under the GEF 1 (1994–98) and £85.25 million under GEF 2 (1998–2002). Under GEF 3 (2002–06), DFID has committed to a core contribution of £103 million and provided an additional £15 million as a signal of our commitment to addressing global
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environmental problems, making the UK the fourth largest donor to the facility. Therefore, in 2005–06, the UK will contribute £29.5million.

Negotiations for the fourth replenishment of the GEF (2006–10) began in June and will conclude in December 2005.


Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many officials currently in the Department received honours in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours List; and at what rank of honour. [5116]

Mr. Thomas: I refer my hon. Friend to the response given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 22 June 2005, Official Report, column 1059W.


Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance he plans to give to Mozambique to establish (a) river and (b) coastal transport to improve its transport infrastructure; and if he will make a statement. [6730]

Hilary Benn: The majority of DFID's financial assistance in Mozambique is provided directly to the Government of Mozambique to meet agreed poverty reduction priorities, of which infrastructure is one. DFID has no plans to provide specific support to improve either river or coastal transport in Mozambique.

Sri Lanka

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the role of his Department in the provision of relief aid in Sri Lanka. [5945]

Mr. Thomas: The Government have donated over £7 million directly to aid relief and recovery in Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami. DFID funded seven flights for the Disasters Emergency Committee, seconded four staff to help with relief work and made direct grants to United Nations Agencies and international non-governmental organisations to provide shelter, water sanitation equipment, food and other essential help to Tsunami victims. The secondments involved providing an air operations co-ordinator, two shelter advisers and an adviser to the United Nations Humanitarian Information Centre. DFID also provided a member of staff as part of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination team. Sri Lanka has also benefited from some of the £26.5 million disbursed as regional support to the UN, and the £50 million that the Treasury estimates will be given in tax relief on public contributions to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal.

During the relief and recovery phase, DFID has supported the humanitarian work of Help Age, World Vision, Save the Children Fund, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Sri Lankan Red Cross, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Office for the
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Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme and the United Nations Security Co-ordinator in the areas under LTTE control in the North and East of the island. The United Nations has commented that the relief effort in Tamil areas has been impressive. Our humanitarian advisers in-country are monitoring the international response and are confident that aid is getting to those in need.

In addition to providing relief assistance, DFID has agreed to meet the cost of 10 per cent. of the interest on Sri Lanka's debt repayments to the International Financial Institutions over the next 10 years. This support is expected to be worth some £41 million and will be used for post-tsunami and poverty-reduction work. Further financial support for longer-term reconstruction is under consideration. DFID stands ready to assist in the establishment of a Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure and a Post Tsunami Recovery and Reconstruction Plan.

The initial relief operation did go well, largely in all areas. However more needs to be done to allow the numerous donors to start reconstruction and to more actively involve affected communities in the planning of that process. The sheer amount of work required to obtain land has delayed the implementation of reconstruction. On my recent visit to the east and south of Sri Lanka I met with many families affected by the tsunami disaster and numerous national and international non-governmental organisations, United Nations and government officials working to support them.

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