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29 Mar 2006 : Column 985W—continued


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much (a) bilateral and (b) multilateral aid and assistance the UK Government have provided for the current drought and famine in Somalia; and if he will make a statement. [61690]

Hilary Benn: DFID has provided the following bilateral aid:

On multilateral aid—most of the funding provided through UN agencies is earmarked to specific activities and is therefore included in the bilateral assistance above. The UK share of the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) expenditure is 17.25 per cent. Current ECHO expenditure in Somalia in response to the drought is €1,358,233. The UK share is therefore €237,689, or £164,020.96. The UK also contributes to other multilateral organisations, some of which may have contributed in response to the drought—for example the African Development bank has said it will provide $500,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its operations in Somalia. However as these agencies will not report expenditure incurred in 2006 until the end of 2007, it is not possible to calculate an imputed UK share at this stage.

The UN issued a revised appeal for Somalia on 21 March for humanitarian operations for 1.7 million people that the UN judges are in need of urgent assistance. Of these it is estimated that 915,000 are experiencing a humanitarian emergency in the drought affected parts of southern and central Somalia. The revised appeal raises the amount requested for humanitarian operations from $174 million to $327 million; just over half of this is for food aid.
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Current contributions and commitments amount to $95.3 million. The UK is the second largest bilateral donor after the US.

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for which multilateral institutions working in Somalia the Government provides funding. [61691]

Hilary Benn: The majority of DFID funding is provided to three multilateral institutions, the UN system, the World Bank, and through the UK's contribution to the EC, which includes the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). Support to the UN includes to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for its Rule of Law Programme, the World Food Programme, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for drought related activities, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) programme, UN-HABITAT for urban development work and to the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for education work.

With the World Bank, DFID is for example, supporting the joint needs assessment work they are co-leading with the UNDP to prepare a five-year reconstruction and development programme and a Community Development Programme. We also provide core funding to the African Development Bank that is providing support to the drought in the Horn of Africa.

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in Somalia for the purposes of taking decisions on aid. [61692]

Hilary Benn: The political and security situation in much of south and central Somalia makes the provision of aid very difficult. Our assessments are led by the impact of:

To minimise the risks, DFID works closely with other donors to support UN-led activity. Somaliland and Puntland are better governed and more secure, making delivery of assistance easier.

However, the establishment of the Transitional Federal Institutions provides the best opportunity for bringing lasting peace and governance to Somalia. The recent convening of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) in Baidoa, is a positive step forward after almost a year of political division. Parliament is the only institution which can give legitimacy to the transitional process and, as the most inclusive body of the TFIs, it needs to begin to operate. The parliamentary session in Baidoa marks the start of the resumption of the process of restoring central governance to Somalia. The international community agrees that supporting it is a priority, and we, with other donors, are providing funds for this.
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The recent outbreak of heavy fighting in Mogadishu threatens the wider reconciliation process. I hope that those involved will stop the conflict and reach a settlement. Such fighting, together with the drought, currently worst affecting the south, demonstrates again why Somalia so badly needs a new government to bring stabilityA; and restore human rights and dignity to the people. DFID has responded to the drought with contributions totalling £7 million since December 2005; and our wider programme to help rebuild Somalia's destroyed social and governance sectors, and those in Somaliland, continues. This includes support to the restoration of public safety and security in Somalia, focusing on the re-establishment of policing, with £600,000 this year through the United Nations Development Programme. We also support the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in developing the National Security and Stabilisation Plan requested by the UN Security Council.

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his assessment is of the extent to which political instability in Somalia has contributed to the current humanitarian situation. [61693]

Hilary Benn: The immediate cause of the current crisis in Somalia is an unusually severe drought. However, Somalia has been without a recognised central Government since 1992, and has seen repeated political conflict. This has certainly contributed to the severity of the current crisis.
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An effective central authority could:

A government could also play a key role in co-ordinating development efforts in the country to reduce the impact of natural disasters.

The UK is helping to end the political instability by assisting with the establishment of the transitional federal institutions. The Transitional Parliament is currently meeting in Baidoa. Although there are considerable risks, as demonstrated by the continuing fighting in the capital Mogadishu, we believe this is the best opportunity yet for moving Somalia forward.


Efficiency Targets

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Solicitor-General how much of the agreed efficiency target for the Law Officers' Departments set out in the 2004 Spending Review is to be cashable; and under what budget headings these cashable efficiency savings will be re-spent. [52829]

The Solicitor-General: The table shows how much of the respective efficiency targets for the Law Officers' Departments is cashable.
Department£ million
Crown Prosecution Service20.114.626.617.234.120.3
Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office0.730.731.461.462.172.17
Serious Fraud Office1.1302.002.8150
Treasury Solicitor's Department(1)

(1) Includes the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.
(2) Of which £0.6 million relates to a reduction in capital expenditure which will not be re-spent.

The Law Officers' Departments will re-invest the cashable savings in the following activities.
Crown Prosecution ServiceFrontline activities such as Charging and meeting new workload pressures on frontline staff, IT system Compass, and case management system.
Revenue and Customs Prosecutions OfficeFrontline activity such as in-house advocacy, case management and other workload pressures on prosecuting.
Treasury Solicitors DepartmentIncreasing demand for services which are not rechargeable to clients.

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