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19 Dec 2005 : Column 2513W—continued

External Contractors (Technical Assistance)

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many technical assistance contracts between his Department and external contractors were terminated in each year since 1997. [37502]

Hilary Benn: DFID has no central record of the number of contracts terminated in each year since 1997 and could not produce this information without incurring a disproportionate cost.

GM Crops

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what research his Department has funded on genetically modified crops and food since 1997; and at what cost. [38010]

Mr. Thomas: Since 1997 DFID has spent £2,761,890 through its contracted research programmes for research on genetic transformation in fish and crops. £2,245,489 was provided by Plant Sciences Research Programme (PSP), for research on transformation of rice, potato and cooking banana crops. £516,401 was provided for research on transgenic Tilapia, by the Aquaculture and Fish Genetics Research Programme. This is less than 3 per cent. of the total spending within the Renewable Natural Resources Research Strategy.

DFID also provides unrestricted funding to the institutions of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Some of these institutions are implementing research on genetic modification technology, but it is not possible to attribute any specific DFID funding to these activities.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contracts for projects relating to GM crops and foods have been let by his Department to external consultants in each year since 1997. [38011]

Mr. Thomas: Since 1997, DFID has funded two programmes which have had small elements of research involving Genetically Modified (GM) techniques:


Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the United Nations about HIV/AIDS in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. [38229]

Mr. Thomas: In 2005, AIDS has been a centrepiece of the UK's Presidencies of the G8 and EU. On 9 March 2005, with the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), France and the United States of America, the UK, through DFID, co-hosted the Making the Money Work" event in London to translate the Three Ones harmonisation principles into action. The Global Task Team established at this meeting has made significant time bound recommendations for improving the coordination and quality of international
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support for national-led responses to the epidemic. DFID is working in country and through the relevant UN boards to ensure the recommendations of the Global Task Team are put into practice.

Following the commitments made at the G8 Summit in July and Millennium Review Summit in September to scale up towards universal access, DFID will co-chair the Global Steering Committee with UNAIDS, established to take forward the commitments made at the summits to support countries in establishing more ambitious comprehensive country-led responses to AIDS.

At the UK-hosted Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria Replenishment Conference in September, the UK doubled its funding to the Global Fund from £51 million for 2006 and £51 million in 2007, to £100 million for 2006 and £100 million for 2007. Our contribution amounted to some 10 per cent. of the total US$3.7 billion pledged. Overall, the UK has pledged £359 million (US$640 million) to the Global Fund over 7 years (2002–08). We have also doubled our contribution to UNAIDS from £8 million to £16 million for this year.

To take forward the HIV and AIDS situation in developing countries, DFID Ministers hold regular discussions with heads of the relevant United Nations Agencies (in particular, UNAIDS). I have recently met with Anne Veneman, the head of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS, and Thoraya Obaid, head of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), where we discussed current HIV and AIDS issues.

At the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in June 2006, to review the global progress against the Declaration of Commitment which member states signed up to in 2001, DFID will be actively be involved in preparation for this session through dialogue with our EU partners and UN agencies.


Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes his Department is funding in Kenya. [38666]

Hilary Benn: DFID is the second largest bilateral donor to Kenya. In 2004–05, DFID spent £39 million. This year we will spend £50 million. Our primary aim is to support the implementation of the Government of Kenya's Economic Recovery Strategy. Our focus is on supporting accountable service delivery, stimulating pro-poor growth, tackling HIV/AIDS and working to improve donor effectiveness. Around 75 per cent. of our spending supports the health and education sectors. Kenya is making excellent progress towards the education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

DFID's support, with others will assist with the construction of 11,880 new or refurbished classrooms by 2010, plus more education materials to each one of the 18,500 primary schools in Kenya. In health, it is estimated that the doubling of DFID's support to £47 million will deliver 11 million insecticide treated bed nets, saving 167,000 children's lives, and reducing under-five mortality in Kenya by at least 15 per cent. We are also supporting the Government of Kenya to
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develop a wider strategy for health care and to tackle HIV/AIDS, another area where Kenya is making significant progress where prevalence has fallen from around 11 per cent. to 6 per cent. in five years.

DFID supports other areas of work including land and agricultural reform, private sector development, public financial management, improved statistics, and support to governance, justice and law and order. DFID worked with the Government of Kenya to help produce a credible anti-corruption action plan. Against this, they have already passed Procurement and Privatisation Bills, fully staffed the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, and have developed a code of ethics for Ministers. While the fight against corruption will be hard, these measures should begin to reduce the opportunities for grand corruption; but leadership in this fight remains equivocal and no senior Ministers have yet been asked to take responsibility for corrupt deals. DFID will continue to work with the key anti-corruption institutions, civil society, and the private sector, to continue the pressure in the fight against corruption while, at the same time, helping to deliver benefits to poor people.


Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid the UK allocated to the Maldives in each year since 2000. [38354]

Mr. Thomas: I refer my right hon. Friend for Rotherham to the response I gave to him on 9 November 2005, Official Report, column 472W.

Information about how much aid the Maldives have received in 2005 is not yet available.

Public Appointments

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 who have since been appointed to public bodies by his Department, broken down by party; and who was responsible for making each appointment. [36687]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not appointed any former hon. Members, who left Parliament in 2005, to the public bodies for which it is responsible.
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Renewable Energy

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many renewable energy projects his Department has undertaken since 1997; in what year each was undertaken; in what location; and what the (a) nature and (b) cost was of each project. [38224]

Mr. Thomas: I shall reply to the right hon. Member for Devizes shortly.


Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to secure aid agency transport links to Somalia. [37454]

Hilary Benn: DFID takes the security of aid provision very seriously in relation to Somalia and we are working closely with the international community to promote the establishment of an effective Somalia Government, to return stability and the rule of law. To this end we are helping Somalia develop an effective civilian police force. In partnership with other UK Government Departments, we are closely engaged in how to address the issues of piracy, terrorism and other forms of cross-border criminal activities with our international partners in the region.

DFID has also provided significant financial support through the Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF) for Somalia, administered by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) which has responsibility, inter alia, for the security of UN operations on the ground. We are also planning to provide increased funding to the World Food Programme (WFP) which will include transport and security.

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