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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 3 May 2006


Departmental Websites

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list (a) the websites operated by his Department and (b) the
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reports placed on the internet in March 2006, indicating in each case whether paper copies were also made available. [65211]

Mr. Thomas: DFID maintains the following websites:

The reports published on DFID websites for March 2006 were as follows:
Name of reportPaper copy also available
Disaster risk reduction policyYes
Implementation of the Commission for Africa recommendations and G8 Gleneagles' commitments on poverty—the UK's contributionYes
DEEP IMPACT: an investigation of the use of information and communication technologies for teacher education in the global south—Education Paper 58Yes
Partnership Programme Agreement—ActionAid Global Progress Report 2004(1)Yes
Pakistan Decision Report—Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS)No
Nepal Annual Report 2005Yes
Sending money home: UK to India leafletYes
How can microfinance help rebuild livelihoods in Afghanistan?No
Pioneering East African drama reaches 5mNo
Bangladeshi communities take ownership of hygiene issuesNo
Training the trainersNo
Q. When is a sardine not a sardine? A. When the European Community says it's not: Peru's use of the Geneva-based Advisory Centre on World Trade Organisation Law to challenge a European Community decisionNo
Paddle your own canoe: a case study of fishing communities around Lake ChadNo
Rebuilding livelihoods and maintaining peace: clay-brick making in Sri LankaNo
How Gambian producers gained better access to marketsNo
Promoting fairtrade tourism in South AfricaNo
Supporting greater transparency in BoliviaNo
How partnership opens airwaves for Bolivian youthNo
Right to Identity: Turning schoolchildren into citizensNo
Supporting a safer community in La PazNo
Evaluation of DFID Country Programmes: Country Study Ghana 2000–2005Yes
Project Completion Reports Synthesis Report 2005: An analysis of projects and programmes in Prism 2000–2005Yes

(1) This was actually an ActionAid report. We published it on our website to raise awareness

Where paper copies were not made available and where an inquirer has difficulties accessing material via the internet, our public inquiry point can provide hard copy on request.

Disabled Children

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to help provide education for disabled children in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. [67703]

Mr. Thomas: All children, including those with disabilities or living in difficult circumstances, should have the opportunity to fulfil their right to access and complete a good quality education.

Tackling exclusion, including exclusion based on disability within the education system, is part of our work with partner governments. Copies of DFID's policy paper entitled 'Reducing poverty by tackling social exclusion' which sets out our broad based approach to tackling social exclusion across all sectors, have already been deposited in the Libraries of the House. This strategy highlights specific issues of discrimination which explain a large part of the disadvantages faced by children with a disability.

DFID provides its funding for poverty reduction in support of partner governments' own plans for poverty reduction. In fulfilling our financial commitments to partner governments, including the significant commitment announced on 10 April that DFID will spend some £8.5 billion in support of education in developing countries over the next 10 years, the UK Government have taken a significant step forward in improving the opportunity for inclusive education to become a realistic goal for partner governments. We encourage partner governments to ensure that as wide a range as possible of stakeholders participate in the consultations on national poverty reduction strategies, including groups representing disabled people. Issues of social exclusion and targeted interventions for excluded groups will be addressed in the discussions our Country Offices will have with governments on developing 10-year plans for education.
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DFID's social exclusion strategy also emphasises the importance of the role of civil society in tackling all forms of social exclusion and the importance of DFID's partnerships with organisations involved in advocating for the rights of disadvantaged groups.

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which developing countries with oil, gas or mining industries have not signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; and what steps the Government are taking to encourage them to do so. [66837]

Mr. Thomas: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Guide on Resource Revenue Transparency defines 45 developing countries (and eight developed countries) as rich in hydrocarbons or mineral resources. Of these, 19 countries have committed to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The Government are presently in discussion with a further ten countries who have not yet begun implementation.

The Government believe that improved transparency over revenue management will bring a number of benefits to any resource rich country—in terms of improved governance, greater economic and political stability and an improved investment climate. The EITI International Advisory Group, which is supported by a Secretariat housed in the Department for International Development, is currently considering other incentives to encourage participation in EITI, and how these might be strengthened.

Ministerial Cars (Fuel Costs)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the fuel costs were for ministerial cars used by his Department in each of the last five years. [67125]

Mr. Thomas: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Transport on 27 April 2006, Official Report, column 1226W.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with pharmaceutical companies on the pricing of cancer drugs in the developing world. [66824]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has engaged extensively with the pharmaceutical industry as part of our work to increase access to medicines in developing countries. In January 2005, we published a set of recommendations for the industry, that specifically looked at pricing policies, investment in research and development for diseases affecting developing countries, and ways of working in developing countries. These recommendations built on existing good practice in the industry. Many companies have made significant progress in making their medicines more available and affordable in developing countries.
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To date, our discussions have focused on major communicable diseases such as HIV, malaria and TB, and on neglected tropical diseases, such as sleeping sickness. However, discussions with the industry have also emphasised the degree to which treatments for non-communicable diseases such as cancers really should also be the subject of differential pricing offers given the significant public health needs in developing countries. There are in fact higher rates of cervical cancer deaths in Ghana than in the UK.

This is an area we will continue to work on with the industry.

Sakhalin II Development

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on the funding for Shell's proposed Sakhalin II development and the requirements of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Environmental policy; and if he will make a statement. [67239]

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government have been following this project very closely through their role as a shareholder and Board member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The UK Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) is also considering the request from Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC) to provide export credit guarantees.

The Government are fully aware of the social, environmental, commercial and energy security issues associated with this project. The EBRD, the ECGD and other members of the lender group are also treating these issues very seriously. The lender group's involvement in this project so far has improved its social and environmental standards.

In December 2005, EBRD Management agreed that all documentation required to commence a public consultation process was fit for purpose". A 120 day public consultation period ended on 28 April. EBRD Management is now considering all written responses received and additional representations from public consultation meetings.

Should EBRD Management recommend to its Board that the project should receive EBRD funding, then at that point the UK Government will decide whether to support an EBRD loan. The Government will also consider all the representations it has received and carefully assess all aspects of the project before reaching a final decision.

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