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5 Jul 2005 : Column 263W—continued


Asian Tsunami

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much of the aid pledged by the Government to provide relief to countries that were affected by the Asian tsunami has so far been paid. [8782]

Mr. Thomas: Nearly £67 million out of the £75 million allocated to meet immediate relief needs has been programmed through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement and non-governmental organisations and DFID direct action. So far £60 million of this has been disbursed. A further detailed breakdown of this spending can be obtained in the document entitled A breakdown of DFID's immediate relief response to the Indian ocean earthquake and tsunami" which has been placed in the libraries of the House. The balance of the £67 million will be drawn down by the recipient agencies as needed. The remaining monies out of the £75 million have been earmarked for disaster risk reduction initiatives in affected countries.

DFID has also allocated £65 million to meet reconstruction needs. From this allocation, £36 million has been committed to Indonesia, of which £6 million has so far been paid out to the Multi Donor Trust Fund. A further £2 million has been committed to Sri Lanka and £3 million to India to provide technical assistance aimed at ensuring effective, transparent and equitable programming of tsunami reconstruction efforts. The remaining £24 million of the £65 million allocation for reconstruction has not yet been programmed.

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of possible cases of misuse of tsunami relief funds in Malaysia; and if he will make a statement. [9244]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has not provided any direct assistance to Malaysia after the Asian tsunamis. The Government's support has focused on the worst affected and poorest countries in the region. Therefore, we have not been involved in investigating allegations of misuse of relief funds in Malaysia nor had any requests to do so. We urge accountability and transparency of all funding provided to the relief and reconstruction effort.

Everything But Arms Agreement

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the Everything But Arms agreement in facilitating fairer trading conditions with developing countries; and if he will make a statement. [7233]

Mr. Thomas: I refer the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness to the response given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development
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(Hilary Benn), to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on 30 June 2005, Official Report, columns 1678–79W.


Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans the EU has for development assistance to Haiti. [8943]

Mr. Thomas: The European Commission (EC) is one of the leading donors supporting Haiti's Interim Co-operation Framework (ICF), which sets out a comprehensive two-year plan for Haiti's development from September 2004 to 2006. The EC pledged a total of €294 million to the ICF, comprising primarily the remaining funds available to Haiti under the 8th European Development Fund (EOF) and Haiti's allocation under the 9th European Development Fund (EOF) (€167 million).

The Commission is utilising the remaining funds under the 8th EOF and €95.6 million from the 9th EOF to support programmes that directly benefit the Haitian people, strengthen civil society and the private sector, and support democratisation, the rule of law and the electoral process; and other short and medium term priorities identified through the ICF.

Discussions are underway between the Commission and the Haitian Interim Government to prepare an indicative programme for the balance of funds (€72 million) allocated to Haiti under the 9th EOF. The indicative programme will be signed and implemented once national elections deemed free and fair are held. National elections are scheduled for later this year.

The EC has taken measures to improve the disbursement rate of this substantial funding by reinforcing the Commission staff in Haiti and simplifying the procedures for implementing projects.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government have taken to support poverty eradication in Haiti. [8944]

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government are currently supporting poverty eradication in Haiti through our contributions to, and engagement with, the international community working in Haiti, and through our support to civil society organisations operating in Haiti.

The Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF) in Haiti sets out a comprehensive plan for poverty eradication and stabilisation in Haiti. The UK Government are supporting the implementation of this plan through our contributions to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the European Commission (EC). The UK share of the pledges these institutions have made to the ICF is approximately £35 million.

The UK is also currently engaged in the negotiation of the 6thReplenishment of the Caribbean Development Bank's (CDB)s concessional fund, the Special Development Fund (SDF). A major issue for this replenishment is Haiti's imminent accession to membership of the CDB, and the terms under which Haiti will access resources from the SDF.
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Through its engagement with the international donor community, the UK Government have also been advocating for better donor co-ordination, reduction of implementation bottlenecks and greater poverty focus, in order to ensure positive impacts on the ground for poor Haitians. In light of the links between security and poverty eradication, the UK Government are also supporting the international efforts to improve the security situation and to follow up security operations with social, economic and humanitarian programmes. For example, the UK contributes 7.4 per cent. of the budget of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), likely to be £20 million in 2005–06. In 2004, DFID also provided some £4 million in humanitarian assistance to Haiti in response to the political unrest, the May floods, and Tropical Storm Jeanne. This too was channelled through international NGOs, the Red Cross Movement, United Nations humanitarian agencies, and our share of European Community humanitarian assistance.

The UK Government also supports NGOs in their poverty eradication efforts in Haiti. Currently, five of the British NGOs supported through DFID's Partnerships Programme Agreements for Latin America and the Caribbean include Haiti in their existing or planned country coverage. DFID has allocated a total of £6.2 million to these NGOs in 2005–06 (CARE—£1.5 million, OXFAM—£1.5 million, Christian Aid—£1.1 million, CAFOD—£1.1 million and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance—£1 million). The FCO also supports small-scale poverty-focused civil society projects in Haiti through its Small Grants Scheme. The 2005–06 allocation for this scheme is £100,000.

Health Professionals (Migration)

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact on the health systems of developing countries of health care professionals migrating to the United Kingdom. [9822]

Mr. Thomas: Health care professionals are clearly a crucial element of any health system and the UK Government are concerned about the severe shortages of health workers in some developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Migration of health workers to the UK and elsewhere can contribute to these shortages, which is why the UK has a Code of Practice for International Recruitment of Healthcare Professionals available at The Code of Practice prevents the NHS from actively recruiting health care professionals from low and middle-income countries unless there is a Government-to-Government agreement in place.

International migration is, however, just one of the factors contributing to the shortages of health workers in many developing countries. Other factors include lack of training capacity, workers leaving the health sector due to poor pay and working conditions, difficulties in deploying staff to rural areas, and the effects of HIV and AIDS.

DFID believes that addressing these shortages requires the development and implementation of comprehensive country-led plans, which increase the
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numbers of health workers trained, but also include measures to improve pay and incentives, working conditions, distribution, effective planning and management, and improving the performance of existing workers. An example of where DFID is supporting such a plan is Malawi where we are working with the Government to implement an emergency human resource programme, which aims to almost double the number of health workers in Malawi over the next six years.

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