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Sierra Leone

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that funding from his Department for SierraLeone is used for the purposes for which it is intended; [13832]

(2) what steps the Government are taking to ensure that funding from the UK to Sierra Leone is used for the purposes for which it is intended. [13833]

Hilary Benn: DFID is currently providing £40 million annually to Sierra Leone. Our assistance is provided through a ten year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), which includes benchmarks for progress on reform. These benchmarks are agreed between the UK and the Government of Sierra Leone on an annual basis and progress is reviewed regularly, They cover areas such as action on corruption, and sound financial management. These reforms aim to increase the effectiveness of our aid by strengthening systems of transparency and accountability. The MOU has been key to achieving progress on a range of issues, including establishment of the Office of Auditor General as an independent agency outside the civil service; successful completion of Sierra Leone's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and strengthening the power of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Progress against the benchmarks is also a factor in determining the level and timing of our budget support, which we provide directly to the Government of Sierra Leone. Before we provide budget support, DFID insists upon a detailed fiduciary risk assessment (FRA) every three years, which includes an evaluation of the risk of corruption. In the interim, an annual statement of progress should be made to demonstrate the ongoing management of fiduciary risk and to meet audit discharge requirements. We have just completed a new FRA assessment for our programme of budget support to the country. At the project level we have rigorous auditing processes, and independent reviews of activities are conducted throughout the project cycle.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many displaced Sudanese he estimates have returned to the south of Sudan; what assistance with resettlement he has provided; and if he will make a statement. [13929]

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Hilary Benn: According to the latest United Nations estimates, 500,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and refugees returned to southern Sudan during 2004. The 21-year civil war resulted in an estimated 500,000 people fleeing to neighbouring countries, and an estimated four million IDPs within South Sudan, This year the UN estimates that between 500,000 and 1.2 million people will return, including refugees from outside Sudan and IDPs. There are no accurate estimates of returns to date. The UN has recently prepared a draft operational plan for Support for Spontaneous Returns 2005–06. This details support to returnees on routes of return and in areas of return, including transport, food, non-food assistance, protection and information.

DFID has provided £45 million to the UN 2005 Workplan for Sudan, over half of which has been allocated by the UN Humanitarian co-ordinator to support humanitarian operations and returns in the south.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding he has made available for the South Sudan Democratic Forum. [13930]

Hilary Benn: The South Sudan Democratic Forum (SSDF) is an umbrella organisation of opposition southern groups, including representatives of a number of southern parties outside of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). DFID is encouraging all groups in the south, including the SSDF, to participate in a process of dialogue and reconciliation, and welcomes the ongoing discussions between the SPLM and opposition groups. The most recent round of these discussions took place on 5 July 2005. DFID has not provided funding to the SSDF.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) when the respective G8 countries were first contacted on providing logistical support for the African Union mission in Darfur; [13072]

(2) what support to date has been provided by the G8 countries to the African Union mission in Darfur; [13073]

(3) whether the G8 countries have established a timeline for further deployment of African Union troops in Darfur; [13074]

(4) what (a) transport, (b) logistics and (c) financial management support the G8 countries have pledged to the African Union mission in Darfur. [13075]

Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

At the Gleneagles summit, G8 and African leaders issued a statement expressing their shared determination to see an end to the crisis in Darfur.

Donors, including G8 members, have been providing logistical and financial assistance to the African Union (AU) mission in Darfur since its initial deployment in June 2004. At the High Level Donors' Conference in Addis on 26 May, the AU requested further assistance from the international community to support the expansion of its mission from 3,000 to more than 7,700. This will involve the deployment of additional troops, mostly from Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.
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It is for the AU, in co-ordination with the African troop contributors, to decide the timelines for deployment. The AU began the expansion on 1 July, and expects it to be completed by the end of September.

G8 members are committed to supporting this expansion and have allocated more than $460 million for the AU mission to date. This includes a contribution of approximately $150 million from the US to build and maintain accommodation and offices for the AU staff, and almost $150 million from Canada, which has been used, inter alia, to provide helicopters. The UK has allocated approximately $60 million, much of which has been used to provide vehicles. Other G8 members have also provided assistance, including for communications equipment. G8 members have also seconded logisticians and military planners to assist the AU, and have provided airlift to get troops and equipment into Darfur. The European Commission has provided $93 million of support through the Africa Peace Facility. This has been used to fund catering, fuel, some medical costs, and to pay per diems.

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance is being given by the UK (a) to re-house internally displaced persons and (b) to ensure the provision of clean drinking water for humanitarian settlements in Darfur. [13766]

Hilary Benn: The latest UN Humanitarian Needs Profile estimates that as of 1 June a total of over 2.9 million people in Darfur were affected by the crisis in Darfur and in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 1.9 million were internally displaced.

Since September 2003, the Department for International Development has provided £90 million in humanitarian funding to Darfur through UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, These funds have, amongst other things, paid for shelter and non-food items, immediate health care, water and sanitation projects. Currently, almost £6 million has been allocated for water and sanitation activities for the population in camps and surrounding areas, and around £1.4 million for shelter and non-food items.

Tsunami (Sri Lanka)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has made to the Sri Lankan Government on waiving the customs duty on all imports deemed to be contributing to the humanitarian aid effort. [7730]

Mr. Thomas: I refer the hon. Member to my previous response to her tabled parliamentary question of 6 July 2005, Official Report, column 469W.

Water and Sanitation

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the water and sanitation projects funded by his Department during financial years (a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05; what the project aims and activities were; when each project was (i) awarded, (ii) started and (iii) completed; what the total cost of each project was; what his Department's contribution to the total costs was; and what the contributions to the total costs were from project contractors. [13387]

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Hilary Benn: Details of DFID's water and sanitation projects in (a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05 can be found in the document entitled DFID Water and Sanitation Projects Funded During the Financial Years 2003–04 and 2004–05". It includes details of the project aims, as indicated by the title, total commitment, and expenditure by year. I have arranged for copies of this document to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

It is important to note that DFID also provides support for water and sanitation as an integral part of broader development projects, and through EC and other multilateral organisations. We do not routinely separate figures for sectors such as water from these projects, as this would incur non-essential administrative costs. However, our special report Financing DFID Support for the Water Sector 2002–04", which will be finalised in August, covers all water-related expenditure for the period 2001–02 to 2003–04.

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