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Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of (a) food shortages and (b) the number of internally displaced persons in the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: Recent conflict has caused an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people to flee their homes in North Western parts of the Central African Republic (CAR). It has not yet been possible for any agency to conduct a full nutritional survey due to instability, poor access and lack of local operational capacity, but one recent assessment found that at least 10,333 displaced people are in serious need. Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland is making medical surveys.
DFID is providing £300,000 (a quarter of the estimated requirement) towards the World Food Programme's (WHO) pipeline, which has been revised to feed up to 50,000 people for three months. The WFP has started providing food to the most vulnerable through partners already based in the area such as the Red Cross and Caritas. DFID is in contact with the main agencies to keep needs under review. Should additional specific nutritional interventions be required, we shall respond urgently.
Mr. Andrew Turner:
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many contracts are let by his Department to voluntary sector organisations;
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how many of those are let on an annual basis; and how many of those had received finalised contracts for 200607 by 31 March. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development has three current contracts with voluntary sector organisations: two were awarded in 2002 and the other in 2005. DFID does not let contracts on an annual basis and contract duration is specified in each case. The total does not include lower-value contracts let by DFID's overseas offices, of which we do not keep a central record; this information could not be obtained without incurring a disproportionate cost.
These contracts do not include the considerable activity by NGOs which DFID funds directly through our Civil Society Challenge Fund, Partnership Programme Agreements, Humanitarian Assistance and in country through our country programmes.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of drought in the (a) Somali region and (b) Borena zone of Oromiya region of Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: The humanitarian situation in the worst affected areas of the Somali region (Afder, Gode and Liban zones) was re-assessed by missions which took place from 28 March to 12 April. Preliminary findings indicate that more people are in need and that more non-food help is needed. Nutritional screening also indicated a high level of malnutrition. Humanitarian agencies are continuing with a blanket supplementary feeding programme until targeted supplementary feeding is fully operational.
A similar reassessment in the Borena zone of the Oromiya region has recommended that the number of people in need has increased from 155,000 to 220,000. Blanket supplementary feeding continues and a nutrition survey is planned for May.
To date, US$37.5 million has been contributed in response to the joint Government of Ethiopia/United Nations appeal for US$111 million for non-food assistance. DFID allocated £4 million to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and £1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Most of the non-food needs included in the appeal would be best addressed through long-term development. DFID is working with the Government and other donors, including the European Commission, OCHA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to find other ways of assisting in the meantime.
The next full assessment of all pastoral areas including the worst affected areas of the Somali region and the Borena zone of the Oromiya region is scheduled for June, following the April-June rainfall season. DFID will follow the situation closely and respond to identified humanitarian needs accordingly.
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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of UK development aid was provided (a) bilaterally and (b) multilaterally to ensure better and more transparent government in fledgling democracies in 200506. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID provides bilateral and multilateral assistance towards developing countries on the basis of their need and their ability to use aid effectively. Many of these countries are moving towards democracy and our assistance supports their state building efforts.
DFID tracks its bilateral expenditure towards developing countries by monitoring expenditure against specific sector objectives, one of which is improved governance. This includes different aspects of state building and the encouragement of better and more transparent government.
DFID's bilateral expenditure on programmes which include governance amongst their objectives was £347 million in 200506 or 13 per cent. of a total bilateral spend of £2.5 billion. Examples of this expenditure include £3,600,000 support to civic education for the Afghan National Assembly and Provincial Council elections, and £2,555,444 to support building the capacity of Iraqi media by establishing a broadcasting station for provinces in Southern Iraq. UK development aid is also used to support public service reform programmes. An example of this funding in 200506 was £8,500,000 provided to enhance the commitment, capability, accountability and transparency of the public service in Tanzania.
DFID provides funding to a number of multilaterals and this is pooled with other donors. In many cases these institutions support a range of activities, including governance. The UK share of this is not tracked.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what monitoring his Department has carried out on how the International Planned Parenthood Federation spent the funds provided by his Department in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID provides funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) for its work to promote reproductive health. The IPPF produces an annual report and audited accounts which are used by DFID for monitoring purposes. DFID also attends the IPPF's annual donor consultation meeting to consider issues such as performance and effectiveness.
In 2003, DFID co-sponsored with other IPPF donors, an evaluation of the Federation's work to promote adolescent sexual and reproductive health. It confirmed the important role of the IPPF in promoting adolescent reproductive health and that the development goal of combating HIV and AIDS would only be achieved through the increased involvement of adolescents and young people. It emphasised that although progress had been made, much remains to be done to respond to the
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reproductive health and rights needs of adolescents and young people, and there was a need for increased support by the international community.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action his Department has taken in response to the Report of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, which took place in Beijing in September 1995, concluded with adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The Government fully supports implementation of the Platform for Action which we see as hugely significant in taking forward the global agenda on gender equality and as essential for making greater progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs.) We welcomed the re-affirmation of the key importance of the Declaration and Platform for Action, including the clear linkage with achievement of the MDGs at the Beijing Plus 10 conference, the Millennium Review Summit, and most recently at the meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women in March.
DFID's strategy for promoting gender equality is set out in the document Poverty Elimination and the Empowerment of Women", and we are working to ensure that gender issues are made a priority across our work, and that developing country partners integrate gender into their own national plans. DFID also supports specific activities to promote the rights of women and girls, including in the areas of girls' education, maternal mortality and reproductive health. DFID is one of the three Government Departments responsible for the UK National Action Plan on implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which was launched on International Women's Day 2006 on 8 March.
Over the next year, we will be looking to see how we can strengthen this work in response to an evaluation of our work on gender and women's empowerment over the past ten years and to current trends in the delivery of international development assistance.
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