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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 21 March 2006


Eaga Partnership Initiative

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many households in Birkenhead have had central heating installed under the Eaga Partnership Initiative. [59561]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 March 2006]: The number of households that have received central heating measures from the warm front scheme in Birkenhead each year since June 2000 are as follows:

(1)From June 2000.
(2)To date.

Varietal Genetic Use Restriction Technologies

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which (a) Government and (b) non-governmental agencies have a role in assessing the potential socio-economic impacts of varietal genetic use restriction technologies. [59295]

Mr. Morley: Under article 31 of the Directive 2001/18/EC the Commission is bound to provide every three years a report which includes, among other things, an assessment of the socio-economic implications of deliberate releases and placing on the market of GMOs.

The criteria for the assessment of a genetically modified organism (GMO) incorporating varietal genetic use restriction technologies set out in the directive does not include a requirement to assess the socio-economic impacts.

Socio-economic impacts and GM technology is a factor developing countries can take into account under the Cartagena Protocol which the UK has ratified.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with whom (a) she, (b) Ministers in her Department and (c) officials in her Department have held discussions on varietal genetic use restriction technologies since 1 January 2005; and when those meetings were held. [59371]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 March 2006]: Varietal genetic use restriction technologies were discussed recently at a meeting which my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Rural Affairs,
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Landscape and Biodiversity held with a number of representatives of non-governmental organisations on 15 February 2006. This was followed up by a meeting with officials on 6 March.

These technologies are a subject which has arisen several times in meetings attended both by Ministers and officials of this Department since 1 January 2005, mostly as part of a general discussion on GMOs. Unfortunately, however, no records are kept which would allow the compilation of a definitive and comprehensive list of all the meetings attended by Ministers and officials at which these technologies were discussed since that date. None involved outside parties.


Abortion and Poverty

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department gave to the International Planned Parenthood Federation to produce the booklet 'Death and Denial: Unsafe Abortion and Poverty'. [59460]

Mr. Thomas: DFID did not make a specific grant to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) for the production of the booklet Death and Denial: Unsafe Abortion and Poverty". We did however ask the IPPF to produce this report when agreeing our overall core funding to the organisation, to help raise awareness of the consequences of unsafe abortion. DFID's core funding to support the work of the IPPF in 2006 is £7.5 million.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the evidential basis is for the statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the foreword to the booklet 'Death and Denial: Unsafe Abortion and Poverty', that each year 19 million women have no other choice than to have an unsafe abortion; if he will place in the Library the documentation which supports the statement; and if he will make a statement. [59474]

Mr. Thomas: The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that of the 46 million women who have an abortion each year, 19 million are estimated to be unsafe. That is, carried out by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking the minimum medical standards. They do so because they do not wish to go through with an un-intended or unwanted pregnancy. One important reason for this is that many millions of women still lack access to reproductive health and family planning services, and thus have no choice about when and if to have children.

Further information is available on the WHO website

Asian Tsunami

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of funds given by his Department to assist with the recovery from the Asian tsunami have been (a) allocated and (b) spent; and what plans his Department has for the unspent funds. [58802]

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Mr. Thomas: Following the tsunami, the Government allocated £75 million to meet the immediate needs of those affected. To date £68 million has been disbursed through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam, Save the Children Fund, CAFOD and Help the Aged. The balance will be allocated for disaster risk reduction and early warning initiatives across the affected region. We are currently looking at proposals for programmes to utilise these funds.

The complexity of the response and the changing situation on the ground meant that some organisations have not been able to spend funds according to their original timetable. However, where people still need help, DFID has allowed some partner organisations to extend the end date of relief programmes using DFID funds if we decide that the programmes remain appropriate.

In circumstance where DFID judges that extending the life of a programme would be of little value to those affected by the tsunami and is not an appropriate use of UK funds we will request that the balance of the DFID grant be returned. The UK will not provide financing in advance of need as this money could be usefully spent reducing poverty and saving lives in other parts of the world.

The Disasters Emergency Committee website (www.tsunami.dec.org.uk). contains details and an evaluation of how the major UK non-governmental organisations (NGO)s utilised the funds they were given.

DFID will allocate £65 million to meet longer term reconstruction needs. From this amount, £60 million has been committed to Indonesia. Of the £60 million, £13.5 million has already been allocated. Some of the funds have been put into a multi-donor trust fund which provides grants for a range of reconstruction activities including housing, infrastructure, and land titling projects. Additional funds have been used to support the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s livelihoods programme and to support a range of smaller technical assistance packages. Of this, £13.5 million, we estimate that £12.5 million has actually been spent. It is difficult to be precise about how much of the UK funds have been spent from the Multi-Donor Fund because it is a pooled funding mechanism. The Multi-Donor Fund estimates that it will have spent $102 million of the $228 million received from donors by the end of March.

We are looking to spend the remaining funds over the next 2 to 3 years. Our immediate priority is to support urgent livelihoods activities and other initiatives which will help to build a sustainable peace in Aceh. We have pledged an additional £20 million to the Multi-Donor Fund, but we will look to allocate this and any remaining funds as needs are identified.

The remaining £5 million balance of the £65 million has been allocated to India and Sri Lanka. The recovery programme in Sri Lanka is fully financed, but DFID allocated £2 million to help speed up implementation of reconstruction programmes and to ensure equitable distribution of assistance. To date, £1.3 million has
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beenspent on technical assistance and expertise. The remaining funds will be spent in 2006–07 to help people affected by the tsunami re-establish their livelihoods.

In India technical assistance worth £3 million has been provided to help ensure effective, transparent and equitable programming of relief.

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