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Mr. Byrne: The Department is encouraging further voluntary third sector involvement in the commissioning and provision of health services as part of the implementation of commitments made in the recent White Paper, 'Our health, our care, our say', working with partners and agencies across the statutory and voluntary sectors at regional and national levels. The ministerial third sector commissioning task force, which was set up to strengthen the commercial relationship between the third sector and the public sector will be publishing a report in the summer. The report will make recommendations on removing obstacles to the third sector in the provision of health and social care.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effect of the time taken to announce decisions on the allocation of section 64 funding to voluntary sector organisations in the health field on the work of these organisations. 
Mr. Byrne: The Department recognises the implications of the delay in notifying voluntary and community organisations of the result in their Section64 applications. Those organisations with a second or third year project will receive an interim amount equivalent to the first quarter payment, which will enable them to continue the project without interruption. Organisations still awaiting the outcome of the application for 200607 have been regularly informed of the situation by email and telephone for those organisations that have directly contacted the Department.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what sanctions his Department has taken against countries in breach of UN conventions on the employment and use of child soldiers. 
The UK has signed and ratified both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and encourages all other states to do likewise.
The UK actively supports work in the UN Security Council on this issue. UN Security Council resolution 1612 of July 2005 on children and armed conflict established a mechanism to monitor and report on grave violations against children, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers and a Security Council Working Group to make recommendations to the Council on possible measures to promote the protection of children.
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Security Council resolution 1612 also reaffirms the Security Council's intention to consider imposing multilateral sanctions against parties to situations of armed conflict which are on its agenda and are in violation of applicable international law relating to the rights and protection of children in armed conflict. Multilateral sanctions are usually applied taking into account a broad range of factors and have already been applied in relation to several conflict situations where the recruitment of child soldiers is a serious concern, such as those arising in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire. Relevant Security Council resolutions also call for those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law to be brought to justice, including where appropriate by the International Criminal Court (ICC). I welcome the transfer of the first individual indicted by the ICC, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a national of the DRC, to The Hague on 17 March. He is charged with conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities. The UK also works through the EU to promote the protection of children affected by armed conflict, including through Troika de"marches.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the Government are providing to developing countries in producing their 10 year plans on achieving their development objectives. 
Mr. Thomas: The international community agreed at the 2005 World Summit that all countries would adopt and implement comprehensive national development strategies to achieve the millennium development goals.
Many developing countries already have poverty reduction strategies or other national poverty plans, which set the agenda for development assistance from donors. We are working with the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme both to encourage developing countries to build these poverty plans into 10-year strategies for achieving the millennium development goals by 2015; and to ensure that donors agree with partner countries the increased development assistance necessary to finance them.
Longer-term planning by developing countries and support by donors is particularly important in education and health. On 10 April, I and my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that the UK Government will provide $15 billion (approximately £8.5 billion) funding for education by 2015. This will help to give our partner countries confidence to prepare 10 year plans to achieve the education goals. DFID will be working with governments and through existing collective donor arrangements to support the development of these plans. In particular the Fast Track Initiative for education provides assistance with education planning and long-term predictable finance in support of plans to achieve education goals. DFID has doubled the UK's contribution to the Fast Track Initiative's Programme
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Development Fund to £5 million, and will be providing an additional £100 million to the Fast Track Initiative for education over the next two years.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people have received sanitation and clean water as a result of the implementation of the EU Water Initiative in the four years since its inception. 
Mr. Thomas: The 25 EU member states and the European Commission are together the largest donors in Africa and in 200304 spent over £1.4 billion on water and sanitation. The EU Water Initiative (EUWI) was created to increase the impact of this aid, by co-ordinating efforts to ensure that the sector receives appropriate political profile and increased levels of investment. This is why we have been keen to make the Initiative work.
DFID has been actively involved since the outset with the EUWI but like others, has been disappointed with slow progress. We are currently working with Tearfund and WaterAid to strengthen commitment to the Initiative across the EU and in particular to improve monitoring and accountability.
One of the aims of the EUWI was to catalyse additional funding for water and sanitation and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP)EU Water Facility (EUWF), was established in 2004 in response to this aim. In contrast to the EUWI, the EUWF is a funding mechanism. Although progress has been slow, mainly due to lengthy procurement procedures, approximately €230 million is now committed to co-fund 97 projects in ACP countries, which are valued at €412 million. An initial analysis of these selected proposals by the EUWF has found that by 2010 approximately 10 million people will benefit from access to drinking water and approximately 5 million people will benefit from access to basic sanitation. A second call for proposals has been launched this year and the full €500 million of the EUWF will be committed by 2007.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what recent discussions he has had with the Governments of (a) India, (b) Bangladesh, (c) Pakistan, (d) Sri Lanka, (e) Botswana, (f) Cameroon, (g) Ghana, (h) Kenya, (i) Lesotho, (j) Malawi, (k) Mozambique, (l) Namibia, (m) Nigeria, (n) South Africa, (o) Tanzania, (p) Uganda and (q) Zambia on (i) strengthening Government-business relations, (ii) supporting free media, (iii) ensuring that justice is consistent and reliable, (iv) providing efficient administration and (v) ensuring effective government; 
(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Governments of (a) Botswana, (b) Cameroon, (c) Ghana, (d) Kenya, (e) Lesotho, (f) Malawi, (g) Mozambique, (h) Namibia, (i) Nigeria, (j) South Africa, (k) Tanzania, (l) Uganda, (m) Zambia, (n) India, (o) Bangladesh, (p) Pakistan and (q) Sri
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Lanka on (i) corporate governance, (ii) industrial relations, (iii) human resources, (iv) infrastructure, (v) the financial framework and (vi) business regulation; 
(3) what recent discussions he has had with the Governments of (a) Botswana, (b) Cameroon, (c) Ghana, (d) Kenya, (e) Lesotho, (f) Malawi, (g) Mozambique, (h) Namibia, (i) Nigeria, (j) South Africa, (k) Tanzania, (l) Uganda, (m) Zambia, (n) India, (o) Bangladesh, (p) Pakistan and (q) Sri Lanka on (i)environmental protection, (ii) corruption reduction, (iii)tax policy and (iv) competition policy. 
Mr. Thomas: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development has had recent discussions with the Governments of most of the countries mentioned. The discussions were wide ranging and included governance, infrastructure, the environment, human resources and trade and growth. In addition, DFID officials engage in regular policy dialogue with the various Governments on a number of topics. They include: public sector reform, public financial management, Government accountability, access to justice and corruption, the importance of infrastructure links and business regulation for improved trade and growth, and management of human resources in areas such as health and education. In pursuing our growth and poverty reduction goals, DFID also attaches importance to the reform of tax policy and administration and to fostering a more competitive market environment. Jointly with other donors, DFID is supporting a number of country and regional projects in Africa and Asia that address these two issues.
Neither I nor my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development have had discussions with the Governments of Botswana and Namibia on the issues raised in the recent past. Both are middle income countries and DFID does not have significant programmes in either country.
I met the Prime Minister of Cameroon in London on 8 March. We discussed Cameroon's progress towards reaching heavily indebted poor countries completion point and prospects for debt relief and also reviewed Cameroon's progress on tackling corruption. DFID is supporting the Government of Cameroon's Forestry Programme to tackle illegal logging and improve sustainable forest management.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development recently met the Ghanaian Minister for Finance and Economic Planning in Washington. They discussed a wide variety of topics relating to the development of Ghana including how to deepen democracy and the importance of a well regulated business environment.
Kenya: DFID officials have regular dialogue on many of the subjects raised in relation to a number of sectoral programmes which DFID supports in Kenya. These include the Public Sector Reform programme, Public Finance Management programme, Governance Justice Law and Order Sector programme and the Political Empowerment programme.
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My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development met recently with the Government of Lesotho's Minister of Finance. The discussions concentrated on education, HIV/AIDS, infrastructure and trade and investment in Lesotho. DFID supports Lesotho's revenue authority to improve tax collection and management.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development met the Malawian Minister for Finance in London in November and discussed the response to Malawi's food shortages and progress by the Government to achieve economic stabilisation and tackle corruption. I visited Malawi in October to monitor progress on health and HIV/AIDS programmes which aim to address human resources constraints in the health and education sectors in Malawi. DFID and other development partners are finalising a review which has covered a broad range of development issues including the economy, the social sectors and governance.
Mozambique has recently completed its second poverty reduction strategy plan following consultations with civil society and donors, including DFID. Strengthening Government, improving efficiency of the public sector and its administration, improving the justice sector and enhancing business relation were all key issues for discussion.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development met the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-lweala in April at the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings in Washington. Their discussion covered the Nigerian debt relief deal, recent economic events, and Nigeria's economic reforms. The UK Government strongly supports the reforms in Nigeria which focus on improving governance, stimulating private sector development and improving basic services.
Recent discussions with the Government of South Africa have focused on the follow-up commitments made at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in July 2005, to improve infrastructure in Africa, support good governance and tackle corruption, to address human resource constraints, to boost trade and growth and tackle climate change and water resources.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development spoke to President Kikwete of Tanzania last month. They discussed a variety of issues relating to Tanzania's development and welcomed President Kikwete's commitment to reducing poverty and fighting corruption. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development also met with the Tanzanian Minister of Finance at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank (WB) annual meetings from 2223 April. Among the issues discussed was Tanzania's progress on development. DFID has supported Tanzania to assess the impact of its revenue authority on small businesses and the investment climate.
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My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development met President Museveni in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in November. A wide ranging discussion covered a number of our concerns about recent governance developments. DFID's programme in Uganda includes direct support for more accountable and effective Government.
In February, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development met Zambia's Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Dipak Patel, who is the current chair of the least developed countries group in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade negotiations. They discussed a range of issues concerning trade and in particular the Hong Kong WTO trade negotiations. I met with the Minister of State for Health Services in October 2005 and discussed Zambia's human resource strategy.
In March, DFID co-hosted the Asia 2015 conference in London with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The conference brought together many senior politicians, officials and business leaders from the across the Asia region. Among the main topics discussed were the importance of tackling climate change and the need to ensure growth and effective Government. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development and I had a number of discussions about how to increase state capacity and effectiveness in order to increase access to services and reduce poverty.
DFID is engaged in regular policy dialogue with the Government of India and state governments across on policies and programmes to improve Government effectiveness and efficiency. DFID has been supporting a Centre for Good Governance in Andhra Pradesh for several years and has now been asked to assist in the establishment of a national centre. These initiatives provide a clear framework for discussion and planning for enhancing Government effectiveness.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development has had two recent discussions with the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The first in Islamabad in October last year following the tragic earthquake, and the second during the Asia 2015 conference. Their discussions were wide ranging and focused on the UK's £128 million response to the earthquake. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development also reiterated the UK's continued commitment to support Pakistan's poverty reduction efforts. They discussed plans for a development partnership with Pakistan; Pakistan's economic growth and progress in Pakistan's social sectors and in water and sanitation.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development met with the Bangladesh Minister of Finance and Planning, Saifur Rahman, during a visit to Dhaka in December and more recently during the Asia 2015 conference. On both occasions they had wide ranging discussions which touched on many of these issues.
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Our main priorities in Sri Lanka are recovery actions after the tsunami and improving prospectus for peace. We have also agreed to provide £41 million of Debt Relief to Sri Lanka over the next 10 years, in order to release Government finances for tsunami recovery and poverty reduction. Key to recovery is rebuilding infrastructure and a regulatory framework so that small enterprises can re-establish their businesses. I visited Sri Lanka last year and discussed many of these issues with the Government.
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