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Hilary Benn [holding answer 19 July 2006]: DFID has funded organisations such as Pesticide Action Network UK in support of organic cotton production in Africa. A study financed by DFID in 1998 highlighted positive developments in the organic cotton sector in Uganda. The UK also provides indirect support for organic cotton production in Africa through, for example, the European Union and its EU-Africa Partnership on Cotton.
DFID is supporting broader African agriculture in a number of ways, which include support for organic cotton production. Much of this support for individual countries is targeted at country their own priorities and plans. DFID is also assisting the Africa Union/New Partnership for Africas Development (AU/NEPAD) Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme to boost agricultural growth.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the UK aid programme offers to the development of links between rural and urban markets in Africa. 
Hilary Benn [holding answer 19 July 2006]: Links between rural and urban markets are important for economic growth and for allowing the poor to participate in that growth. One of the key constraints is the poor state of infrastructure linking rural and urban areas.
DFID is helping a number of countries in Africa to improve their road networks to link rural and urban markets. This includes specific projects to improve roads and transport services in countries such as Nigeria and Ghana in addition to budget support for implementation of countries own infrastructure plans.
DFID support for information and communications technology (ICT) is also helping to build effective links between rural and urban markets. For example, the DFID-supported Business Linkage Challenge Fund is helping to boost the outreach of mobile banking in Kenya.
The Infrastructure Consortium for Africa was launched in London as a multi-donor initiative in October 2005. This is addressing regional infrastructure constraints to connecting markets across Africa, which will impact on rural-urban links. The UK has committed US $20 million for the work of the consortium.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in establishing the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit; and what its (a) composition, (b) budget and (c) line of accountability will be. 
Hilary Benn: The Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit (PCRU) was established at the end of 2004 to help improve the United Kingdoms capacity to contribute to achieving a stable environment in countries emerging from conflict. It seeks to do so by working closely with Government Departments and the military to help (a) facilitate joint military-civilian assessments of the immediate challenges and opportunities in such countries; (b) facilitate joint military and civilian planning; (c) share lessons to further improve the effectiveness of UK activities in helping to stabilise countries and (d) enhance Her Majestys Governments capability to deploy civilians overseas to develop and oversee implementation of these plans during their initial stages.
Facilitating an assessment and plan for the UKs engagement in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. It has provided seven staff and consultants over the last six months to support implementation of this plan in areas such as security, justice and governance, prior to the establishment of longer-term staffing by DFID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO);
Providing the majority of the staff of the strategic delivery unit in the British embassy in Kabul which helps ensure the overall coherence of UK assistance in Afghanistan;
Providing the team leader and support staff for the UK-led provincial reconstruction team in Basra which co-ordinates and helps deliver UK, US and Danish capacity building assistance to the Iraqi Government in the south, focusing on Basra Province;
Providing advice in other areas such as UK security and justice sector work in Yemen and assisting the AU/AMIS in the development of an initial six month communications strategy for the Darfur Peace Agreement; and
working with the Permanent Joint Headquarters in military exercises to demonstrate the value of integrated civilian/military planning.
Currently, the PCRU has 28 personnel drawn from five Government Departments and agencies including DFID, FCO, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and HM Treasury. In responding to requests for deployment this is supplemented by drawing on its database of 400 experts. The units £10 million budget for 2006-07 finances core staff, deployment of these staff and consultant experts, and associated vehicles and communications.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) foreign-owned and (b) British-owned businesses and consultancies have worked with his Department on water provision for the urban poor in the developing world since 1997. 
Hilary Benn [holding answer 19 July 2006]: DFID does not maintain records of the ownership of businesses and consultancies that have worked with us in the urban water sector since 1997. Our investments are developed through close working with a range of stakeholders, such as national and local Governments overseas, other donors, civil society organisations and private sector companies.
We provided a total of £221 million of development assistance in 2003-04 for water and sanitation. £131 million Of that was bilateral expenditure, of which approximately one-fifth was spent on urban water supply, one-quarter on rural water supply and one-fifth on humanitarian assistance.
Ian Pearson: In the light of current advice from the Health Protection Agency, the Drinking Water Inspectorates view is that to safeguard human health, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) should not be present in drinking water supplies above three microgrammes per litre (micro).
Barry Gardiner: The Government do not specifically monitor the loss of wildlife habitats in urban areas. However, the recently published report on progress under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan suggests that the last three years have seen more positive signs of progress. The list of priority species and habitats is also being reviewed to ensure that the UK Biodiversity Action Plan remains responsive both to new information and to conservation needs.
17. Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the local government association on the setting of targets for recycling. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We have had regular discussions with representatives of local government and others to discuss recycling and other waste matters. The LGA have also submitted a formal response to our current waste review.
18. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with non-EU countries on the use of growth-promoting hormones in raising livestock. 
20. Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will visit Shrewsbury to discuss with local sugar beet farmers the closure of the main British Sugar plant in Shropshire. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will reply to the letters from the Assistant Director for Planning of Bridgend county borough council (BCBC) dated
9 August 2005, 26 August 2005 and 19 October 2005, and from the Chief Executive of BCBC dated 7 December 2005, 11 January 2006 and 4 April 2006. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the level of capital funding that local authorities intend to spend on sports facilities in the period leading up to the 2012 Olympics; and if she will make a statement. 
It is estimated that local authorities in England plan to spend £621 million on sports and recreation services in 2006-07. No estimates of planned local authority spending on sports facilities are available for later years.
Mr. Woodward: There are no current plans for a switchover to digital radio. However, section 67 of the Broadcasting Act 1996 requires the Secretary of State to keep under review the development of digital radio for the purposes of considering how long it would be appropriate for sound broadcasting services to be provided in analogue form. The first review in 2004 found that both the BBC and Ofcom agreed that it was premature to set a switchover date. We are, however, working with Ofcom and the industry to overcome the remaining potential barriers to digital radio.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent estimate she has made of the carbon emissions of her Department; what commitment she has made to reducing such emissions; and if she will make a statement. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps Ofcom took to elicit responses to its consultation on television advertising for food products targeting children from those (a) in favour of and (b) opposed to restrictions. 
Mr. Woodward: The matters raised are the responsibility of the Office of Communications as independent regulator. Accordingly, my officials have asked the Chief Executive of Ofcom to respond directly to my hon. Friend. Copies of the Chief Executives letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what administrative functions for which her Department is responsible are outsourced overseas; and what assessment she has made of the merits of outsourcing further such functions overseas. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the percentage of local authority (a) capital and (b) revenue funding that will be spent on sport in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and if she will make a statement. 
The percentage of local authority (a) capital and (b) revenue net current expenditure that will be spent on sport in the current financial year is tabled as follows. The figures for 2007-08 are not yet available.
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