|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Thomas: The Government will spend approximately £8.5 billion over the next 10 years. By 2010, we will be providing £1 billion a year in support of education in developing countries. This long-term commitment will provide poor country Governments with predictable funding against which they can prepare ambitious 10-year education sector plans to achieve the education goals. Our support will help in the development and implementation of 10-year plans, which will increase investment in schools, including recruiting and training more teachers, getting more pupils into and completing school and improving the quality of education.
Our approach is to help developing country Governments to implement their own plans for provision of water and sanitation, both by direct
financing and providing technical know-how. We are also taking steps to make the international system, particularly the UN, more effective, through our support to UN-Water, and to the Joint Monitoring Programme, which measures global progress towards access to safe water and basic sanitation.
The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe water by 2015 is on track to be met globally, but not in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. DFID is committed to doubling spending on water in Africa to £95 million by 2008. We are now actively involved in seven African countries (Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia), up from only two years ago; and through our funding of other agencies' programmes, we reach many other countries. For example, the EU plans to provide 10 million people with access to water and a further five million to sanitation by 2010 through projects it has recently approved through the Water Facility.
DFID's Water and Sanitation strategy was set out in the 2004 Water Action Plan. I reinforced DFID's commitment to doing more during my speeches on World Water Day in March 2005, and at DFID's External Water Forum in February 2006. DFID closely monitors progress in water and sanitation and publishes regular updates on the DFID website. The latest update can be accessed on DFID's website address at:
Hilary Benn: Since 2001, 14 African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia) have received debt stock cancellation under the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. Another African country, Uganda, received debt stock cancellation under HIPC in 2000. All 15 of these countries have had 100 per cent. of their remaining debt stock at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank cancelled this year under the new Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). When they completed the HIPC initiative, all these countries also received 100 per cent. cancellation of any bilateral (Government to Government) debts outstanding to the UK.
A further 10 African countries are currently receiving interim debt relief under HIPC, and will receive 100 per cent. debt stock cancellation under the MDRI and on bilateral debts from the UK when they complete the HIPC initiative.
Nigeria has also received considerable debt stock cancellation in the past year as part of the deal agreed with its Paris Club (Government) creditors to resolve 100 per cent. of its debts. Overall, US$18 billion of
debt stock was cancelled under the deal, and Nigeria bought back the remaining debt for $12.4 billion.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures are in place to ensure that no illegal immigrants are employed in the manned guarding of his Department's premises. 
Mr. Thomas: Guards at DFID offices are currently a combination of in-house and contracted staff. For all in-house permanent and pensionable staff, a range of nationality and identity checks are carried out at the time of recruitment, which ensure that the individual has the right of employment in the UK. Contractors are responsible for ensuring that similar checks are carried out on any staff whom they employ at any DFID offices.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff of his Department have travelled other than in economy class on flights between Heathrow and Glasgow in each of the past 12 months. 
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the most expensive flight within the UK is which his Department has booked for departmental staff in each of the past 12 months. 
Hilary Benn: Improving economic management and aid effectiveness is one of DFID's three objectives for its £102 million (2006-07) aid programme to Afghanistan. DFID is working with the Afghan Government to help improve revenue collection and financial planning, and works particularly closely with the Ministry of Finance. We are supporting them in customs and reform, which will help them to raise money from imports and exports and wealthier Afghan business and individuals, thus reducing their dependence on foreign aid. This is going well with revenues increasing by 30-40 per cent. per annum. We have also helped them improve the national budget process, with good results. The 2006-07 budget was recently approved by Parliament and further endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the launch of a Poverty Reduction and Growth Programme.
DFID also works to build state institutions and improve the livelihoods of rural people, supporting the Afghan Government's own objectives, as set out in their Interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy. Although the rebuilding of Afghanistan cannot be achieved without significant investments in infrastructure, we do not focus on this area. Given the scale of resources required, and the importance of donors working to their respective comparative advantages, we believe other donors are better placed to make these investmentsin particular the USA, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan, all of whom are investing in Afghanistan's infrastructure sector. Part of DFID's livelihoods work does include support for small scale rural infrastructure through funding to national programmes. Through the
National Rural Access Programme for example, around 6,000 km of rural roads have been rehabilitated and/or constructed since 2002.
Over 70 per cent. of our aid goes directly to the Government of Afghanistan. The UK is the largest donor to the Government's recurrent budgetcovering annual costs such as salaries for teachers and health workers. This is exactly what the Afghan Government wantand is the best chance for building effective state institutions that will last.
In Iraq, DFID has committed over £417 million to specific projects since March 2003, of which over £353 million has now been disbursed. This includes a £70 million contribution in 2004 to the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI)trust funds run by the UN and the World Bank; and 19 per cent. of EC contributions to Iraq (£67 million).
DFID has been supporting economic reform in Iraq since 2004 and has committed £13 million to support the Iraqi Ministry of Finance to lead and manage a programme of macro-economic and budget reform. Activities include help with 2007 budget preparation, policy advice on public expenditure and in particular subsidy reform, and keeping the IMF's Standby Arrangement on track. DFID also plans to provide two additional consultants to the Government of Iraq to work on structural economic reform (e.g. oil sector restructuring and financial market reforms).
Since March 2003 DFID has spent £78 million on physical infrastructure improvements in southern Iraq, to improve delivery of power and water services essential to further economic growth. These include:
repairs to power stations in the south which have added and secured enough power in total to supply over 50,000 homes, and improved electricity supplies to 1.5 million residents;
work to provide 10 small generators adding a further 15MW to the national grid;
construction of a water training centre for use by the southern Governorates
replacement of 800 km of water mains, as well as repair of 5,047 leaks across the four southern Governorates;
construction of almost 10 km of piped main drainage plus mains connections to 830 houses;
supply of technical advice for a major sewage installation in Al Amarah, providing up to half the city's population with access to a piped system and replacing open sewage channels; and
installation of new sewage treatment facilities at Mina Prison, Basra;
We have also committed a further £18 million to improve power and water infrastructure in the south includes building a new gas pumping station; essential repairs at power stations; building three new water towers; and two further water projects which will provide drinking water for 500,000 people.
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Kosovo Protection Corps clearance of UK cluster munitions in Kosovo; and when the clearance is expected to be completed. 
The Kosovo Protection Corps has been trained to UN benchmarks in the clearance of a broad variety of mines, unexploded ordnance and cluster munitions by Handicap International. Alongside non-governmental organisations engaged in explosive ordnance disposal, they have cleared a significant number of designated dangerous areas in Kosovo in 2006 alone. It is anticipated that in 2007 the clearance of dangerous areas will have been completed. A recent report made by the United Nations Mine Action Service stated that the Kosovo Protection Corps explosive ordnance disposal teams will be capable of addressing the residual land mine and unexploded ordnance threat in Kosovo from 2007 and beyond.
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many proposals the Department has received to fund clearance of unexploded UK cluster munitions in the last two years; how many related to Kosovo; and how many have been funded in each case. 
DFID has spent £15 million on humanitarian landmine clearance and related work in Kosovo, including approximately £3.3 million through the Halo Trust for its work there during 1999-2001. Since 2001, we have judged, in consultation with the United Nations Mine Action Service and our own specialist adviser, that the overall threat from unexploded ordnance in Kosovo has been reduced considerably and that the capacity of the Kosovan de-mining authorities has grown sufficiently to deal with it.
DFID directs its mines action funds to worse affected, less well resourced countries, including funding the Halo Trust in, for example, Sri Lanka, Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Somaliland and Sudan.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in what projects the UK is involved in (a) the Palestinian Territories, (b) Iraq and (c) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: In the Palestinian Territories, DFID support has focused on three areas: supporting the peace process, improving the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance, and helping the institutions of a future Palestinian state to be more effective, accountable and inclusive. DFID has spent £176 million on its Palestinian programme since 2001, plus our share of European Community aid. DFID projects and programmes are as follows:
Support for Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency;
Assistance to the Negotiations Affairs Department to support progress towards a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
Building the capacity of the Palestinian Authority (currently suspended) and civil society organisations on governance and public administration reform;
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|