1 Mar 2006 : Column 699W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 1 March 2006


Millennium Development Goals

8. Mr. Khabra: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on progress towards meeting the millennium development goals in Asia. [53965]

Mr. Thomas: Good progress is being made overall in Asia to reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty, and the region is on track to meet this target by 2015. Progress on other Millennium Development Goals is uneven. Areas of particular concern are the high rates of maternal mortality, the spread of HIV and AIDS, the quality of and access to education, especially for girls, and the need to improve access to sanitation.


9. Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures he plans to take to ensure that measures to combat tuberculosis in developing countries are made a priority at the G8 St. Petersburg summit in July. [53966]

Mr. Thomas: At the launch of the Global Plan to stop tuberculosis for 2006-15 in Davos, the Chancellor called for the G8 formally to designate tuberculosis a top priority at St. Petersburg in July, and urged G8 member countries to pledge to the Global Plan.

As always the UK will work through all available channels in the lead up to the G8 summit. We will encourage other G8 partners to ensure that tuberculosis control is addressed as part of the comprehensive package of measures agreed at Gleneagles, so that developing countries can make faster progress towards the Millennium Development Goal targets.

International Aid

10. Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is discussing with his Commonwealth counterparts on using international aid to promote good governance. [53967]

Hilary Benn: At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in November 2005 the Heads of Government reaffirmed their commitment to good governance. At the heart of the organisation is the Harare Commonwealth Declaration which sets out the shared commitment to good governance, human rights and democracy. To deliver these objectives the Commonwealth administers four Peace and Democracy Programmes: Good Offices for Peace, Democracy and Consensus Building, Rule of Law and Human Rights. Discussion has focused on learning from the experiences of member states on what works.
1 Mar 2006 : Column 700W


11. Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance will be given to Yemen in 2006-07 to help it combat the spread of tuberculosis. [53968]

Mr. Thomas: The current prevalence of TB in Yemen is 1.5 per 1,00 people. The Government of Yemen runs a National Tuberculosis Programme aiming to eliminate TB in the country.

The UK has committed £59 million until 2008 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Since January 2002 the fund has approved US$735 million for TB control, and $6.1 million is being spent in Yemen between 2005 and 2010.

DFID has committed £ million, between 2005 and 2008, to the global Stop TB Partnership which has provided support to good quality TB drug access in Yemen. The UK also provides core funding to the World Health Organisation (£2.5 million in 2005–06) which among other things, works to fight TB in Yemen.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on his Department's work in the Republic of Yemen. [52706]

Mr. Thomas: Yemen is the only low-income country in the middle east, with social indicators reflecting very low levels of human development—female primary school enrolment and completion rates and adult illiteracy rates are among the worst in the world, as are infant and maternal mortality rates. With a population of 20 million the poverty levels are high—10.7 percent. of population below US$1 a day and 45 percent. below US$2 a day.

DFID's support to Yemen goes back to 1997 with a £2 million per year programme focusing on strengthening economic and financial management. DFID extended the programme in 2003 also to include work on education and health, and opened an office in Yemen in 2004. DFID has increased its programme in Yemen from £2.5 million in 2001-02 to £12.5 million in 2005-06.

The Government of Yemen's 3rd five year development plan for poverty reduction (DPPR) is due to be finalised in the next few months. DFID will support the implementation of this and encourage a more effective, harmonised donor response through a joint donor framework for action. This will help donors achieve focus and prioritisation in their work.

This approach has given DFID the time to focus our engagement in strategic areas that we believe will bring about positive change; for example, supporting improvements in public financial management and improving aid harmonisation.

The current DFID programme includes support for basic education (with the aim of expanding access to quality basic education, focussing on the inclusion of girls), maternal and neonatal health (improving health services and health sector planning and policy making), community development through a social fund, support to elections reform, improved donor harmonisation and alignment, public financial management, and the
1 Mar 2006 : Column 701W
development of the new development plan for poverty reduction. DFID is also exploring options for working with the Yemen Government on improving access to justice for the poorest.

The Yemen Government have recently announced a package of reforms to improve governance, and DFID are supporting the development and implementation of these through all of our work, through our dialogue with Government, and through our funding.

DFID is drafting its country assistance plan for Yemen detailing our development strategy in the country over the next three years which will be published in September 2006.

Clean Water

12. Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the provision of clean water within development policy. [53970]

Mr. Thomas: DFID is committed to helping achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe water by 2015. Our programmes are focussed on sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, where achieving the target will be most difficult.

Our strategy was set out in the 2004 DFID Water Action Plan, and updated in my World Water Day speech in March 2005. We publish regular updates of progress; these can be found on our website at: www.dfid.gov.uk. The last was in August 2005 and the next is due at the end of March 2006.


13. Mrs. Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the reconstruction work in Pakistan following the earthquake. [53971]

Hilary Benn: The Government are doing everything possible to help Pakistan recover from the earthquake.

DFID is one of the largest bilateral donors for reconstruction, and we committed £70 million for reconstruction at the Donors' Conference last November. We are one of the group of seven" large donors working collaboratively with the Government of Pakistan to help meet the challenge of recovering from the earthquake.

Middle East

14. Rosie Cooper: T o ask the Secretary of State for International Development what alternative channels of funding to the Palestinians are being considered should Hamas refuse to renounce violence and recognise Israel. [53972]

Hilary Benn: The Government fully supports the statements by the Quartet and the European Union on 30 January. We support the Quartet in urging measures to facilitate the work of the current caretaker Government to stabilise public finances. Future assistance to any new Palestinian Government will be reviewed against that Government's commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and
1 Mar 2006 : Column 702W
acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the roadmap. Subject to that review it is too early to say what channels of funding to the Palestinians might be appropriate.


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to reduce corruption in sub-Saharan Africa. [49080]

Hilary Benn: Corruption is both a symptom and a cause of poor governance. DFID supports a wide range of governance reforms to prevent, detect and take action against corruption. For example, DFID is helping countries to reform their judicial system in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. DFID also supports public financial management reforms in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, DFID also provides technical and financial support to dedicated anti-corruption commissions in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Nigeria and Zambia. DFID also helps civil society hold African governments to account for the proper use of public resources. For example, DFID supports the international NGO Transparency International and its country chapters.

In addition, African countries are working together to tackle corruption regionally as well as in their countries. For example, DFID is helping the East and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) to build capacity in the region to prevent and detect money-laundering.

Both developed and developing countries must play their part to reduce corruption in Africa. In 2005 at Gleneagles, G8 countries committed to a set of actions at home to help stop corruption in Africa. DFID is working with other Government Departments to meet these commitments in the UK. For example, secondary legislation is now in place to enable the UK to ratify the UN convention against corruption, the first global anti-corruption standard. We expect to ratify imminently.

Next Section Index Home Page