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Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made on the establishment of a donors conference for Angola; and if he will make a statement. [54169]

Hilary Benn: Over the past few months, the Government of Angola has indicated that the time has passed for a traditional donors' conference where donors pledge resources. At the same time, some members of the international community as well as members of the Angolan Government have suggested that a partners' conference would be more appropriate at this stage in the country's reconstruction and development.

The main outcomes of such as event would be to secure a closer working relationship between the Government of Angola and the international community on development objectives: a formal agreement to continue open dialogue including on issues such as governance and transparency and further steps to improve aid effectiveness.

DFID and the FCO have agreed to consult the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the other bilateral donors in Angola about their interest in a partners' conference involving government, donors, the private sector and civil society. These consultations have only recently started and have not yet reached any clear conclusions


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) the Auditor-General and his Department and (b) the internal departmental auditing mechanisms in (i) Ethiopia, (ii) Ghana, (iii) Kenya, (iv) Mozambique, (v) Rwanda, (vi) Tanzania, (vii) Uganda, (viii) India, (ix) Pakistan and (x) Vietnam. [53851]

Hilary Benn: DFID has conducted fiduciary risk assessments in all 10 countries, in advance of agreeing commitments of poverty reduction budget support or other types of aid. These assessments involve an analysis (with recommendations for strengthening where appropriate) of the partner countries' public financial management and accountability systems—including the effectiveness of their auditors-general and other control mechanisms such as internal audit. In assessing audit systems we consider factors such as the independence of the auditor and resources available to carry out audits; the scope and nature of the audit work; standards used, timeliness of reports and follow up actions taken.

Further analyses of fiduciary controls in Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique, Pakistan and India have been carried out this financial year by the UK National Audit Office (NAO) and DFID's own internal audit department as part of routine audit work. Additionally, at the request of the Kenyan Auditor General, DFID provided consultant support to review the functioning of the Kenya National Audit Office.


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made
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of the number of people who are residing in internally displaced persons' camps in Darfur; and what estimate he has made of the number who have access to humanitarian assistance. [52195]

Hilary Benn: In Darfur 1.8 million people are residing in internally displaced persons' camps. The UN estimates that it currently provides humanitarian assistance to 77 per cent. of these. Inaccessibility of the remaining 23 per cent. is due to increasing insecurity in Darfur, particularly in West Darfur, over the last couple of months.

In addition to these internally displaced persons (IDPs) a further 1.8 million people who live outside the camps are in need of humanitarian assistance. These people are even more vulnerable to access disruption caused by insecurity.

The priority is to continue to provide for people in and outside camps who are in need of assistance and protection, and to find a political solution that will allow people to return home and rebuild their lives. During my visit to Sudan on 21–22 February, I talked to the AU about how the UK and others could assist AMIS in improving security and pressed the Government to put forward proposals for a negotiated political agreement in Abuja.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the distribution of aid in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [53165]

Hilary Benn: EU members states and the European Commission are partners with DFID in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The European Commission is the second biggest donor in the DRC (€227 million in 2005) after the World Bank. France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany also have aid programmes in the DRC. The EC, France, Belgium, Germany and the UK are all developing new plans for development assistance to the DRC over the course of 2006. We are working together to try and ensure that our activities are complementary.

Given the extent of humanitarian and development needs, the international community has given insufficient aid to the DRC. I wrote to Kofi Annan on 8 February welcoming the launch of the 2006 UN action plan for the DRC, which made clear the level of unmet need in the country, and asked donors to give $681 million in support of humanitarian programmes. The UK has pledged £60 million over two years to this plan, and encouraged European and other donors to contribute significant funds as well.

In my letter to Kofi Annan, I also stressed the importance of meeting all needs, no matter where poor people are or the cause of their suffering. The east of the DRC, which has suffered most from the conflict, has traditionally benefited more from development and humanitarian assistance than other regions, but there are other areas of the country with equal or greater needs that also need support. The UN action plan seeks to address humanitarian needs across the country, irrespective of geographical location and cause. We are working with the UN, European and other counterparts
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to achieve this. There is also recognition among the donor community that urgent humanitarian and longer term development needs in the DRC should be addressed in parallel.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what monitoring of the use of UK aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo is undertaken by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [54167]

Hilary Benn: Monitoring of the use of UK aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo is conducted in accordance with standard DFID procedures that apply across all of the Department's programmes. For our bilateral aid, organisations implementing projects on behalf of DFID are required to submit regular, usually quarterly, financial and narrative reports on their activities. In addition, projects over £1 million require a full review to be undertaken at least annually with recommendations for actions to maximise impact and a final completion report, including the lessons learned to inform future work. Regular monitoring by DFID staff, who remain closely in touch with partner organisations throughout the duration of a project, is also an important part of the monitoring process.

All multilateral agencies have their own internal monitoring and evaluation systems and DFID's work on reforming the international system has included helping to strengthen these systems to deliver results at a country level. An example is DFID's use of the Multilateral Effectiveness Framework to assess the performance of multilateral agencies and make recommendations for improvement. The UK has a seat on the board of multilateral organisations, and is therefore involved in multilateral decision making including the development and review of country strategies and programmes.

DFID also works jointly with multilateral agencies on many projects. DFID in the DRC works with multilateral agencies and other bilateral donors on justice, infrastructure, humanitarian, police, governance, HIV/AIDS and social sector projects. Working together in this way enables DFID to design, monitor and evaluate these programmes jointly with other donor organisations.

One of the most important ways in which we monitor multilateral agencies' work is through daily discussion, sharing information and ideas between DFID staff in DRC and partners in the European Commission, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations, on both the development of their overall strategies for DRC and the implementation of individual programmes.

Developing Countries

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of EU agricultural policies on people in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. [54451]

Hilary Benn: The Government acknowledge the damaging impact that dumping and trade-distorting subsidies have on developing countries, particularly on their agriculture. We fully support the commitment made at the WTO Doha ministerial meeting in 2001,
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which agreed that agriculture negotiations would aim to achieve: substantial improvements in market access; reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support.

On export subsidies, there was progress at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial held in Hong Kong in December. It was agreed that export subsidies would be completely eliminated by 2013, subject to movement in other areas of the negotiations. The UK wanted the end date to be 2010, but there will be frontloading and substantial reductions in these particularly damaging subsidies early in the implementation period.

The package of reforms to the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP) agreed in June 2003 and May 2004 mark a significant shift in the EU's agricultural policy. The decoupling of subsidies from production should connect European farmers much more closely to the market and have real impacts on reducing excessive production, which results in dumping and harms developing countries. The Government will continue to push for further reform of the EU's agricultural policy and I welcome the fact that the EU Commission has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that the EU plays a full and constructive role in the WTO agriculture negotiations.

The Doha Development Agenda represents an important opportunity to make a significant contribution to reducing global poverty. The UK Government are working to achieve an outcome that delivers real gains for developing countries, including the poorest. These gains should include improved participation by developing countries in the world trading system, through substantially increased market access for developing countries and the dismantling of trade-distorting agricultural subsidies by industrialised countries.

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