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Mr. Thomas: The UK has committed itself to spending £1.5 billion between 2005-06 and 2007-08 to
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support activities to tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS. This will be used for activities which support the expansion of comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support with the aim of fulfilling the Gleneagles commitment to universal access by 2010. We are working with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), which is leading the global effort of other donors, multilateral agencies, civil society and the private sector to ensure that additional resources are committed to support our efforts to achieve universal access.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to ensure the promotion of preventative strategies for HIV/AIDS. [75680]

Mr. Thomas: The UK is playing a substantial leadership role in AIDS, and a key part of this is promoting access to HIV prevention strategies as well as to AIDS treatment and care. For example, the UK used its European Union (EU) presidency to work with the European Commission and with member states to agree a common EU position on HIV prevention—the EU statement on HIV prevention for an AIDS-free generation. The EU statement advises on the importance of comprehensive, rights and evidence- based approaches to HIV prevention. This year the UK has worked hard to ensure that this advice is reflected in the outcome of the AIDS United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting and we continue to press for such recognition in other key fora, including the forthcoming G8 meetings.

DFID provides support so that national governments in poor countries can develop and implement the policies and strategies that are necessary to ensure that the people who need them have access to comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, information, services and supplies including those for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health.

The UK has committed £1.5 billion to AIDS work over the period 2005-2008.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditions are attached to the funding his Department gives to African countries for the treatment of HIV/AIDS to ensure that the funding is directed towards the appropriate agencies and treatments. [75681]

Mr. Thomas: DFID's policy on ‘Partnerships for Poverty Reduction: Rethinking Conditionally’ (launched in March 2005) is that we will not make aid conditional on specific policy decisions. However, we believe that an effective aid partnership should be based on a shared commitment to three objectives: reducing poverty and achieving the millennium development goals; respecting human rights and other international obligations; and strengthening financial management and accountability, to reduce the risk of funds being misused through weak administration or corruption. We will consider reducing or interrupting aid if partner Governments deviate significantly from any of these objectives.

In supporting HIV and AIDS programmes in Africa, DFID uses a range of different funding channels to help ensure that resources are directed towards
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appropriate agencies and treatments. In countries with sound poverty reduction plans and public financial management, we can put poverty reduction budget support directly into a Government's treasury. We can also earmark funding for specific Government sector budgets. And we also fund projects, especially when it is not possible to work through Government budgets. In all cases, DFID officials work closely with Governments and civil society to help ensure that policy and programme choices are appropriate. We also monitor the progress and impact of programmes that we fund and take lessons into account when making future decisions.

In addition, DFID is currently undertaking an assessment of mechanisms for channelling DFID funding to the point of care for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV (OVCs).

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development of new generic versions of drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. [75682]

Mr. Thomas: The United Kingdom (UK) is committed to increasing access to medicines in developing countries, including the development of new generic drugs for HIV/AIDS. To this end we are working with Governments, international organisations, pharmaceutical companies, academia and private foundations. There have been some important successes over the last few years such as the doubling of UK funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria to £100 million in 2006-07 and £100 million in 2007-08, resulting in long-term policy and financial signals to ensure a sustainable supply of key drugs. In addition, the UK has increased its direct funding for research to develop vaccines and medicines for diseases disproportionately affecting the poor, in particular through the financing of Product Development Partnerships (PDPs).

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's strategy is for ensuring that the Gleneagles G8 summit goals in relation to rapid expansion of treatment for HIV/AIDS are achieved; and if he will make a statement. [75684]

Mr. Thomas: The UK's strategy for tackling the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the developing world is set out in the Government's strategy ‘Taking Action’. We have also worked closely with the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), with other Governments and multilateral agencies and through the Global Steering Committee on Scaling Up Towards Universal Access (which DFID co-chaired with UNAIDS) to set out the priorities for action in order to achieve the Gleneagles commitment to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment and care by 2010. These priorities were reflected in the Political Declaration agreed at the United Nations General Assembly on AIDS (2 June 2006), which provides a political blueprint for achieving universal access.

The UK played an active role in negotiations. It set out commitments for countries to develop, by the end of 2006, ambitious national plans to scale up towards
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universal access by 2010 to comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support, with interim targets for 2008; to provide $20-23 billion annually by 2010 for AIDS responses; to put in place comprehensive prevention strategies; to promote the rights and reduce the vulnerability of sex workers, men who have sex with men, children, women, adolescent girls and drug users; to intensify efforts to develop new technology especially microbicides and vaccines; to ensure that no credible, sustainable national plan goes unfunded; to reaffirm the importance of countries employing the flexibilities within Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) to protect public health; and to strengthen countries' capacities to do so.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures his Department is taking to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to develop paediatric drugs for children with HIV in the developing world. [75686]

Mr. Thomas: The United Kingdom (UK) is committed to increasing access to medicines in developing countries, including the development of paediatric drugs for children with HIV. To this end, DFID is working with Governments, international organisations, pharmaceutical companies, academia and private foundations. For example, the launch of the UK Government policy document ‘Increasing peoples access to medicines in developing countries: a framework for good practice in pharmaceutical industry’ in March 2005, encourages pharmaceutical companies to reduce prices of existing formulations, develop new products, provide voluntary licences to others to develop paediatric formulations and produce fixed dose combinations.

More recently, the UK has agreed to support the French initiative on setting up an international drugs purchase facility (IDPF). We expect this to have a positive impact on stimulating the pharmaceutical industry to develop paediatric drugs.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the likelihood of the Gleneagles G8 summit target of ensuring universal access to HIV treatment being achieved by 2010. [75687]

Mr. Thomas: The United Nations General Assembly met from 31 May to 2 June to discuss progress on the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on AIDS, which sets out the international community's commitment to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS. The UN Secretary-General presented to this meeting an assessment of progress which underlines the challenge that we face in meeting the Gleneagles commitment to provide universal access to prevention, treatment and care by 2010. The Secretary- General's report shows that only 9 per cent. of HIV-infected pregnant women are currently on anti-retrovirals, and that only 20 per cent. of people with advanced HIV are on anti-retrovirals. While this shows the scale of outstanding need, it is noteworthy that since 2001 the number of Africans on treatment has risen eight-fold. A full copy of the report can be found on the Joint United Nations
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Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) website at:

Human Trafficking

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department is supporting campaigns and projects to educate communities about human trafficking in (a) Moldova, (b) Albania and (c) China. [74997]

Mr. Thomas: In China, DFID is providing £3.075 million in support of an International Labour Organisation (ILO) project which helps to reduce the vulnerability of girls and young women to trafficking. The project covers activities in Anhui, Henan and Hunan provinces, from which girls and young women are trafficked, and in Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces which receive them. The project is being implemented over four years. It started in May 2004.

DFID is not supporting such campaigns or projects in Albania. Until 2000, DFID contributed to the funding of a centre in Vlora for trafficked women and girls returned to Albania. The centre aims to educate young women about the risk of becoming victims of trafficking. In 2003, DFID contributed to the purchase of equipment for a centre in Tirana, managed by the Institute of Migration (IoM), that seeks to give employment to returned female victims of trafficking.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is providing 238,000 through the IoM, to foster safe migration and prevent human trafficking. The project aims to build the capacity of the state infrastructure in Albania to provide information to potential migrants, vulnerable groups at risk of human trafficking, the media, government officials, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the general public. The project includes a national telephone hotline to provide information on legal migration, and enable members of the public to report people-trafficking to the authorities.

In 2005, the FCO provided £500,000 for work by the IoM with returned Albanian migrants, many of whom have been trafficked. By assisting their re-integration, the project aims to reduce the risk of repeat trafficking.

In Moldova, the IoM manages an extensive, nationwide programme on trafficking which has included a feature film, TV, radio and public service announcements, established Migration Information Centres, organised seminars for local authorities, and produced hotline promotional stickers and other information material distributed at Moldovan border crossings. In partnership with the Moldovan Migration Department, IoM launched in 2004 a website and mobile information centre that distributed information on legal migration and the dangers of trafficking. Other information and education activities on trafficking in Moldova are provided by the NGO La Strada, including seminars, educational materials, a resource centre and a hot line. La Strada has received support from the FCO.

DFID's bilateral programmes, and support to multilateral agencies, aim to reduce poverty and some of the root causes leading to human trafficking. This
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includes creating economic opportunities, promoting pro-poor sustainable growth, conflict resolution and improving governance and the institutional environment for poverty reduction.

Palestinian Territories

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of whether British aid is reaching humanitarian projects in the Palestinian Territories to ensure the (a) electricity, (b) water, (c) food, (d) health and (e) educational needs of the Palestinian people are met. [75581]

Hilary Benn: The UK Government are concerned to support the basic needs of the Palestinian people. Until the Hamas-led Government renounce violence, recognise Israel's right to exist and accept previous agreements and obligations we cannot provide aid to the Palestinian Cabinet or its ministries. However, there are other ways to help Palestinians directly and we are doing all that we can to assist.

Since the Hamas Government came to power, the largest component of our assistance has been a £15 million contribution through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). UNRWA provides health, education, housing, food and jobs to approximately 40 per cent. of Palestinians who are registered refugees. This aid is getting through to people who need it most.

In addition, DFID is working closely with the European Commission and others to develop a temporary international mechanism to provide direct assistance to the Palestinian people. This will include those who are not registered as refugees and therefore do not receive help through UNRWA. Our hope is that such a mechanism will be established as soon as possible.

Public Transport (Incentives)

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what incentives are available to encourage members of his staff to use public transport for travelling to and from work. [75096]

Mr. Thomas: DFID provides interest-free loans to staff for the purchase of travel season tickets. This is the only direct incentive we provide to staff, although we also publicise public transport alternatives, engage with local authorities on the provision of public transport around our East Kilbride office, and monitor and report on trends in our Green Transport Plans.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the World Food Programme support to Sudan; how much of that aid is funded; and which regions of the country (a) are and (b) will be receiving World Food Programme supplies. [76023]

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Hilary Benn: The World Food Programme (WFP) emergency operation in Sudan, which I discussed with Jim Morris of the WFP on 8 June, is the largest in the world. The UK has provided £49 million to the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) this year, of which the WFP has been the largest recipient. We are also supporting the WFP in the development of its five-year strategic plan for Sudan, and have provided the WFP with £5 million for road projects in the south.

Only 49.5 per cent. of the WFP's 2006 budget has been funded to date. As a result, the WFP was forced earlier in the year to halve food rations to Darfur temporarily, though ration levels elsewhere have been maintained. Recent additional support from two key food aid donors (the EU and the US), and a contribution of 20,000 tonnes of Sorghum from the Government of Sudan, have since enabled the WFP to increase the ration level in Darfur to 84 per cent. Reinstatement of full ration may be possible by October, though this is still not certain.

This year, the WFP is providing over 730,000 MT of food aid to approximately 6.1 million people across Sudan. Of those, 2.7 million are in Darfur, 2 million are in the south, 1 million in the three states of South Kordofan, Abyei and Blue Nile, around 250,000 in eastern Sudan, and smaller numbers in other parts of the country.

Traditional Knowledge

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the Government's policy is on the (a) maintenance and (b) extraction of value from the exploitation of traditional knowledge for indigenous communities in developing countries. [74559]

Mr. Thomas: In its 2003 response to the report from the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights the UK Government broadly endorsed the analysis provided by the Commission on traditional knowledge (TK). In particular, the UK Government recognised the important part that traditional knowledge plays in the livelihood of many poor communities in developing countries, and thus the need to protect it.

As a signatory of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) the UK has agreed to

Discussions as to how best these objectives can be achieved are ongoing in the CBD and in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Inter-Governmental Committee on Traditional Knowledge, Folklore and Genetic Resources (IGC) and the UK is committed to achieving agreement on an international system which achieves these objectives.

The UK Patent Office is working with other members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on the development of appropriate TK databases which patent examiners can consult when dealing with patent applications involving TK. This will reduce the risk of patents being granted wrongly on existing TK.

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Duchy of Lancaster


Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will list her engagements for 25 May 2006. [75827]

Hilary Armstrong: I had various engagements on 25 May 2006 including Cabinet meetings with ministerial colleagues and meetings with officials and external stakeholders.

Parliamentary Ombudsman

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will list those occasions when the recommendations of a report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman have been (a) rejected and (b) partly rejected by her Department since 1997. [76261]

Hilary Armstrong: Since 1997 the Cabinet Office has declined to give full effect on three occasions to recommendations made by the Parliamentary Ombudsman in relation to the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

The ombudsman's report on these three cases is available in the Library and can also be accessed online at:

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