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23 Nov 2005 : Column 2027W—continued

Indian Ocean Tsunami

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 8 November 2005, Official Report, column 309W, on the Indian Ocean tsunami, if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the independent review of his Department's humanitarian response in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India following the tsunami. [31019]

Mr. Thomas: The review consists of a number of documents relating to different aspects of the response, and to date is not fully completed. DFID intends to publish the review on its website once the process is complete. A copy will also then be placed in the Library.

IT Projects

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many IT projects which cost over £1 million and were introduced since 1997 are in use in his Department. [26607]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has had 11 IT projects which cost over £1 million and were introduced since 1997. Of these, seven are in use, three are current projects which are not yet complete, and one has been superseded by a later project.
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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many of the IT projects costing over £1 million in use in his Department and introduced since 1997 have been scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee; and if he will list them. [26621]

Mr. Thomas: None.


Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress is being made in developing economic action plans to help Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean affected by changes to the EU's sugar regime. [30503]

Mr. Thomas: It is very important that Commonwealth Caribbean countries produce appropriately costed sugar transition action plans as soon as possible in order to be eligible for European Union (EU) transitional assistance in 2006, and so that the European Commission (EC) can make realistic and appropriate plans for further financing from 2007 onwards.

DFID has been closely engaged with ensuring that the impact of sugar reform is fully considered for a number of years. In 2003 and 2004, DFID-funded reports were produced on the impact of reform on the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Protocol countries, the impact on the Least Developed Countries and options for transitional assistance. These reports were made public, and have enabled an informed debate on the developmental aspects of sugar reform to take place.
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In March 2005, DFID funded a workshop in Trinidad which initiated the process of developing sugar transition action plans in the Caribbean. Since July, as President of the EU, the UK has been working with the EC, other EU member states and the European Parliament to secure agreement on the draft regulation produced by the EC in June 2005 for the timely delivery of adequate transitional assistance to the Sugar Protocol countries.

DFID is working alongside the EC Delegations in the Caribbean to support development of sugar transition action plans by the six Commonwealth Caribbean sugar producing countries: Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Government of Barbados have asked for DFID's support for the preparation of their action plan on the basis of their forthcoming National Strategic Plan that will inform the future direction of the sugar industry. Consultancy work on this should begin shortly and a draft report should be prepared by mid-January 2006.

Belize has already developed a strategy for the reform of its sugar industry and initiated discussion of a detailed action plan. The Government of Belize recently asked DFID's support for its preparation and are finalising the scope of the required advice. We are encouraging the Government to take the opportunity of the changes necessitated by the sugar reform to look more widely at the macro-economic challenges facing the country.

The Government of Guyana's working group is preparing the draft action plan, with DFID-funded consultants identified to help put this into the required EC format. To date, given the Government's unwillingness to commit themselves publicly to producing an action plan, there remains a risk that Guyana will not be prepared to submit its plan by the end of the year.

In Jamaica, Prime Minister Patterson said in a statement to Parliament in October that the cane industry will be centred on three products raw sugar for export and domestic markets, molasses for use in rum production, and ethanol. He stated that the Government was at an advanced stage of development of the Jamaica action plan and intended to submit this to the EC ahead of schedule. He specifically recognised the assistance that DFID has offered to provide to help design measures to mitigate the social impact of the sugar reforms.

Due to the high debt to national income burden and its impact on the labour force, the adjustment process in St. Kitts and Nevis will be particularly challenging. To assist, DFID is leading the co-ordination of donor support to St. Kitts and supporting three key pieces of work to inform the Government's preparation of their action plan: consultants to advise on the corporate restructuring of the Sugar Manufacturing Company, a land resource analysis to identify feasible options for the use of the sugar lands and a study to help identify support for those affected adversely by the sugar transition. The Commission's team of consultants working on the preparation of St. Kitts adaptation strategy aims to complete its assignment in December, drawing on these DFID supported reports.
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In Trinidad and Tobago, DFID, in close liaison with the EC Delegation, is financing a consultancy to help put the Government prepare their action plan. The consultants facilitated the first consultation on 26 October that brought together representatives from farmers' associations, the sugar industry, the Government, and development partners. The consultants are due to deliver their report by the second week of December.


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on recent attacks on non-governmental organisation workers in Uganda. [29813]

Mr. Thomas: The European Union, under the UK presidency, condemned the recent attacks on non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff in northern Uganda in a statement issued on 31 October. NGOs play a crucial role in providing humanitarian relief to hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the conflict in the north. As a result of the recent attacks many agencies have severely curtailed their movement outside major towns. The World Food Programme continues to deliver essential emergency food aid as normal under heavy military escort.

The attacks only serve to increase the suffering of civilians. The Ugandan Government, working with other countries in the region, must do all it can to protect civilians and to ensure the safety of aid workers.

Water and Sanitation (Funding)

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will break down the UK's funding for water and sanitation in 2004–05 by (a) recipient country and (b) funding route. [26023]

Mr. Thomas: The most precise available measure of water and sanitation expenditure comes from a detailed analysis commissioned by DFID. The report 'Financial Support to the Water Sector 2002–04', produced for us by consultants, estimates that DFID spent £221 million on water and sanitation in 2003–04. This report also provides a breakdown of expenditure by country and estimates of how expenditure is split through different funding routes for the years 2002–03 and 2003–04. A copy of this report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The analysis is currently being updated for 2004–05 and figures are expected to be available around March 2006.

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will break down the UK's planned aid for water and sanitation in 2007–08 by (a) country and (b) funding route. [26102]

Mr. Thomas: In response to the current situation where most of sub-Saharan Africa is off-track to meet the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, DFID has committed to double spending on water supply and sanitation sectors in Africa from £47.5 million in 2004–05 to £95 million in 2007–08. This will bring our global spending on water and sanitation up to at least £225 million a year by 2008.
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We anticipate that meeting the commitment will require an increase in expenditure through all funding mechanisms, including our own bilateral programmes, but also through encouraging others such as the World Bank and the EU to do more in water and sanitation. We do not have specific country targets.

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