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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2231W—continued

G8 Summit

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which of the recommendations of the Commission for Africa were met in the communique" of the recent G8 summit. [11973]

Hilary Benn: G8 Heads signed up to all of the major recommendations set out in the Commission for Africa report that are relevant to their countries. Further information can be obtained in the document entitled 'The Commission for Africa Report vs. the Gleneagles Communique" on Africa', copies of which I have arranged to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what payments agreed at the G8 summit at Gleneagles will be made available to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. [14146]

Hilary Benn: The G8 expressed support at the Gleneagles summit for Mr. James Wolfensohn, Quartet Special Envoy for Disengagement, to stimulate a global financial contribution of up to $3 billion per year over the coming three years. The expectation is that most of this will be delivered in 2006 and beyond. It will come
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from public and private sources and will assist the Palestinian economic regeneration and governance reform following Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. International financial support will depend on the Palestinian Authority (PA) providing a credible financial plan for development, with guarantees of fiscal prudence and transparency. The UK is working closely with Mr. Wolfensohn and the PA to help develop their plans and to ensure that our assistance is targeted at the highest priorities.

Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditions were attached to the offer of aid to the poorest nations in Africa following the agreement at the G8 summit. [14716]

Hilary Benn: The additional aid agreed for Africa by the G8 will be used to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and to help achieve the objectives agreed in the Communique. G8 leaders agreed that aid will be focused on countries where it will make a difference, particularly low-income countries which are committed to growth and poverty reduction, to democratic, accountable and transparent government, and to sound public financial management.

HIV (South Africa)

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes his Department operates in South Africa to assist those who are HIV positive. [13141]

Hilary Benn: DFID operates a number of programmes in support of those who are HIV positive in South Africa, They include:

IMF/World Bank

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking (a) to ensure that the (i) International Monetary Fund and (ii) World Bank are more transparent and accountable to parliaments in developing countries and (b) to promote oversight of each of those institutions by the parliaments of developing countries. [12463]

Hilary Benn: DFID recognises the importance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank being transparent and accountable to parliaments in developing countries. Clearly, such accountability needs to be at the heart of their relationship.

The main means by which parliaments should engage with the World Bank and the IMF activities is through the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) process. This is a
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national strategy for development that sets the agenda, which donors, including the World Bank, should follow in each country.

It is true that, in the past, parliamentary engagement in the PRS process has often been weak. However, over the past two years, DFID country offices have begun to support stronger engagement by parliamentarians in the PRS process. We are providing active support for parliamentary engagement in Malawi and Tanzania, where an independent Monitoring Group was established to oversee the joint commitments made around the PRS.

In Board meetings, DFID encourages the World Bank and the IMF to engage with parliaments as much as possible. We also actively push for them to make more of their documents public and will continue to pursue this both at board meetings and in discussions with staff. In fact, in March this year a new World Bank disclosure policy was approved which, among other things, makes board minutes public. The Bank is now working closely with parliamentarians in some of its borrowing member countries to involve them in the design and implementation of its lending programmes. The World Bank Institute has a major Parliamentary Strengthening Programme. A key objective is to strengthen the capacity of parliaments to scrutinise the allocation and use of public funds, and oversee the PRS. Since it began in 1996, it has held workshops in a range of countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia and Uganda to raise awareness among parliamentarians.

The World Bank Institute has also supported the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) and the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC) to encourage parliamentary scrutiny and action against corruption.

Outside the PRS, the main means of oversight is the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank. This provides opportunities for parliaments to scrutinise the World Bank and engage more deeply in development policy issues. The independent Network has some 450 members from over 90 countries and facilitates direct dialogue between parliamentarians and the World Bank to achieve greater transparency of policies and practices.

Management Consultancies

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which five management consultancies received the highest value of contracts awarded by his Department in each of the last three years; and what the total value was of the contracts awarded to each. [12573]

Hilary Benn: The following table contains details about the value of contracts issued to all consultants. We do not keep a central record for management consultants and this information cannot be provided except by incurring a disproportionate cost.

Contracts are awarded in open competition according to the EU Procurement Regulations, based on best value for money.
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ConsultantTotal issued value (£)
Atos KPMG Consulting Limited24,535,185
The British Council19,903,242
HTS Consultants (formerly Hunting Technical Services Limited)16,069,402
Charles Kendall & Partners Limited12,979,117
Maxwell Stamp PLC12,308,085
Maxwell Stamp PLC49,719,364
WSP International Ltd.14,465,029
Futures Group Europe Ltd.13,870,550
Deloitte & Touche South Africa13,100,000
British Council (UK)12,293,273
Family Health International21,341,899
Charles Kendall & Partners Ltd.18,279,290
HLSP Ltd.14,184,512
British Council (UK)11,999,359

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the total expenditure saved in each of the last three years as a result of implementing recommendations by management consultancies within his Department. [13635]

Hilary Benn: DFID do not maintain central records of expenditure saved as a result of implementing recommendations from management consultants. DFID's headquarters and overseas offices use consultants for a wide range of management tasks, mainly to increase the quality of our assistance to development partners. The financial value of these as savings could not be calculated without incurring a disproportionate cost.


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Nepal Safer Motherhood Project; and if he will make a statement. [9268]

Mr. Thomas: The DFID-funded Nepal Safer Motherhood Project operated in nine of the 75 districts of Nepal from March 1997 until September 2004. The project was implemented in partnership with the Department of Health Services, and the Ministry of Health, with a total budget of £5.8 million. The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Nepal is estimated at 539 per 100,000 live births, according to a 1996 survey. Given the methodological difficulties in measuring MMR, levels of skilled attendance at birth and Emergency Obstetric Care are taken as proxies for MMR. The project completion data revealed that within the project supported districts there was an increase in skilled attendance at birth from 3.05 per cent. (1997–98 Nepal fiscal year July to June) to 17.81 per cent. (2003–04). In addition there was an average annual increase of 1.3 per cent. in met need for accessing Emergency Obstetric Care, thus demonstrating that lives had been saved.

An evaluation completed in November 2004 assessed the project as having contributed to a national increased percentage of deliveries by skilled attendants from a 1997–98 baseline of 3.6 per cent. to 18.3 per cent. in 2003–04. Similarly, the project had contributed to a
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national increase in Emergency Obstetric Care from a baseline survey of 5 per cent. in 2000 to 14.8 per cent. in 2003–04.

Building on this success, DFID has contributed £20 million to help the Government of Nepal implement its Safer Motherhood Programme. This programme aims to extend quality services to all 75 districts over the period 2004 to 2009. The conflict in Nepal makes it harder to deliver programmes effectively, but health services do continue to function and it should still be possible to reduce MMR further through the programme.

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