|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many cases of poliomyelitis there were in Nigeria in each of the last five years; and what steps the Government are taking to reducing incidences of the disease in Nigeria. 
Surveillance was poor up to 2001, and so the 2001 figure may not be very accurate. The figures for 2002 and subsequent years can be assumed to be accurate. Despite the rising number of cases, recent World Health Organisation (WHO) virological surveillance, which tracks the genetic sequencing of the virus, indicates a restriction of the circulation of WPV. (This means that the number of subtypes of the virus in circulation is steadily decreasing, indicating that the immunity of the general population is increasing.) The geographical spread has also been restricted, as evidenced in Table 2.
|Fed Capital Territory||1||1|
There are two main reasons why progress on interrupting transmission of the polio virus in Nigeria is so slow. First, over decades of military rule the routine immunisation services, which should be a central component of the primary health care system, were allowed to collapse. The polio eradication effort has therefore had to depend on supplementary immunisation activities alone, with door-to-door campaigns repeated five or six times every year. However, the second reason for slow progress is that these door-to-door campaigns are not well accepted by the general population in northern Nigeria and so large numbers of children are missed by every campaign as their parents refuse to allow them to be immunised.
The Government of Nigeria is firmly committed to eradicating polio and DFID is working intensely with the WHO, UNICEF and other international partners to help Nigeria address the current problems. DFID lobbied successfully for a greater emphasis to be placed on rebuilding routine immunisation services that address several childhood diseases, instead of the exclusive emphasis on polio campaigns. Routine services provided from fixed sites are much more acceptable to the general public than single- disease door-to-door campaigns. DFID Nigeria has designed a £20 million project to support the reviving of routine immunisation in several low-coverage northern states. This project is expected to go live later this year.
DFID also financed a consultative workshop in Kano in January this year which was very successful in getting key opinion leaders from across northern Nigeria to give their full support to polio eradication activities in the context of greater attention being paid to other childhood diseases at the same time.
Another recent development is the decision to convert polio-only national immunisation days into what are being termed immunization plus days". DFID and other international partners, especially the European Commission, the US Government and UNICEF, had been pressing for this for some time. During immunization plus days" BCG 1 , DPT 2 and measles vaccines will be provided alongside the polio vaccine, and children will also be given vitamin A and anthelmintic 3 tablets.
These tactics are necessary in order to increase the acceptability of the polio vaccine among the general population, especially in northern states where the transmission of the wild virus has not been checked. Children cannot be immunised against their parents' will and so it is necessary to win over people's hearts and minds so that they accept the polio vaccine. DFID is financing various advocacy initiatives in this regard, and has also funded anthropological research by the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex into the reasons for non-acceptance of the oral polio vaccine in northern Nigeria. The results of this research are now informing Nigerian government strategy at national, state and local levels.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many UN agencies are working to provide water and sanitation to the developing world; and what steps are being taken to harmonise their activities. 
Hilary Benn: The UN currently has 23 agencies working on some aspect of water and sanitation. The agencies have different functions and only a handful have significant programmes in the provision of water and sanitation services to developing countries. Both UN agencies and donors recognise the need to improve harmonisation and have agreed a proposal for a co-ordinating body, UN Water". This will provide a mechanism for co-ordinating the work of the existing agencies. DFID is working with others to establish UN Water, and will be providing financial support to a Secretariat in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
DFID is also proposing that, in discussion with national governments, the UN should decide which UN agency is best placed to lead on water and sanitation in any country. This lead agency, and not others, should be the channel for donor money allocated to the UN in this sector.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the ability of the (a) EU Water Initiative and (b) EU water facility to deliver clean water and sanitation to those who need it; and if he will make a statement. 
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 across the EU and in particular to improve monitoring and accountability.
The EU Water Facility (EUWF), in contrast to the EUWI, is a funding mechanism. It was established in 2004 in response to the clear need for more money in the water sector. Although progress has been slow, mainly due to lengthy procurement procedures, approximately €230 million is now committed to co-fund 97 projects, which are overall valued at €412 million. A second call for proposals has been launched this year and the full €500 million of the EUWF will be committed by 2007.
4 May 2006 : Column 1796W
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the ongoing dispute between the World Bank and the Government of Chad regarding frozen Chadian oil royalties; what discussions he has had with members of the US Administration regarding their offer of mediation in this dispute; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: Chad is one of the poorest countries in Africa. UK development aid is provided indirectly through multilateral organisations. When oil reserves were discovered in the 1990s, the industry asked the World Bank to invest in the building of a 1,070 km pipeline to carry Chad's petroleum to the Atlantic coast for export. The World Bank saw this as a unique opportunity for Chad to climb out of extreme poverty. Before it became involved, the World Bank obtained assurances that the new revenues would be used to lift the population out of deprivation.
On 6 January 2006, the World Bank announced that it would withhold new loans and grants to the Government of Chad and suspend disbursement of International Development Association (IDA) funds allocated to the country. The value of funds suspended was approximately $124 million. This action followed passage of amendments to the country's Petroleum Revenue Management Law by the National Assembly. These changes substantially weakened programmes to improve the lives of poor people, which the World Bank had been supporting.
The World Bank offered to assist the Government to address their financial difficulties by analysing and helping to address them, including how public finances had been managed. It had also proposed a review of how the Petroleum Revenue Management Law had been implemented to identify which, if any, amendments to the law might be warranted. The World Bank has remained open to dialogue with the Government on the best ways to address their current financial crisis while protecting poverty reduction programmes. On 26 April, the World Bank and the Government announced that they had completed a third round of discussions and reached an interim agreement. Based on this, the World Bank has agreed to resume some loan disbursements for education, health, community development, HIV/AIDS, agriculture, electricity, water and infrastructure.
The Government of Chad have agreed to pass a 2006 budget law specifying that 70 per cent. of the oil revenues will be used for priority poverty programmes. This allocation excludes security spending, which is to be funded from general revenues. If the Bill does achieve this, as soon as the oil consortium submits payments owed, the World Bank will release one third of the total amount on deposit in the escrow account over each of the next three months, with the understanding that the World Bank and the Chad Government will work on a further, more permanent agreement during that period. The Chad authorities have also agreed to parallel actions to strengthen the monitoring, transparency and accountability of direct and indirect oil revenues and development aid.
4 May 2006 : Column 1797W
We welcome the steps which the Government of Chad have taken to restore the confidence of the international donor community. While a final agreement is still to be reached, we welcome the Government's efforts to address the issues. We believe the steps agreed provide a way forward to ensure that the people of Chad see the benefits of the aid and oil revenue their country receives.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what assessment his Department has made of the oil revenue management measures promoted by the World Bank in Africa; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the oil fund established by the government of East Timor and the oil revenue management measures promoted by the World Bank in Africa; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: On 12 January 2006 in Sydney, Australia and East Timor concluded the terms of a Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea" (CMATS Treaty) which provides for an interim agreement to allow exploitation of the Greater Sunrise gas reservoirs to proceed while suspending maritime boundary claims for 50 years and maintaining the current treaty arrangements in place. Under this creative solution, Australia has agreed to share equally (50:50) the upstream revenues from the resource.
DFID has not made a direct assessment of the impact of the discovery of oil on poverty reduction in East Timor, apart from noting that once the Greater Sunrise project proceeds, it could result in transfers of revenue to East Timor of as much as US$4 billion over the life of the project. The revenue will be paid to East Timor's Petroleum Fund, the balance of which is already around $330 million derived from the 90 per cent. share of production East Timor receives from the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA). The exact benefit to East Timor will depend on the economics of the project but we hope that it will assist in securing East Timor's development and economic stability.
From the outset the Government of East Timor has pursued a rigorous approach to transparency with revenues and contracts in the public domain. The Government have conducted thorough public consultations on several initiatives on transparency and management of oil and gas revenues. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri stated Timor's official support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at the Lancaster House conference in June 2003. He also set out a policy to ensure transparency. We encourage this approach which will help promote poverty reduction along with good governance and transparency.
Within Africa, DFID has assessed the oil revenue management measures promoted by the World Bank in Chad and supports the Bank's efforts to ensure that these revenues are used to improve the lives of poor people.
4 May 2006 : Column 1798W
The World Bank has also promoted the adoption of the EITI in a number of resource rich African countries. We encourage this since effective implementation of the Initiative will help promote poverty reduction along with good governance and transparency.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|