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24 July 2006 : Column 990W—continued

Of the projects currently committed, the shrine, surrounding area and the market place respond directly to requests from the local population. The shrine is a popular meeting point attracting hundreds of visitors from around the province. The adjoining area is especially popular with women who come to walk there with their children. All the rehabilitation projects listed were carried out by an Afghan NGO to ensure cultural sensitivity in delivery. Initial feedback on the rehabilitation suggests that this work has been well received.

DFID has committed a further £3 million to the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) for military managed activities.

AIDS/ Tuberculosis /Malaria Global Fund

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the progress of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. [86429]

Mr. Thomas: The mid-term review of the first replenishment of the Global Fund took place on 4-6 July. The review highlighted that the Global Fund is demonstrating significant progress against key targets, is improving grant performance, especially in weak systems and fragile states, and is implementing the recommendations of the Global Task Team on improving AIDS co-ordination among multilateral institutions and international donors.

To date, a total of US $8.9 billion has been pledged and/or contributed to the Global Fund through to 2008. As of 1 June 2006, the Global Fund had approved a total of US $5.4 billion to nearly 400 grants in 131 countries. Of the US $5.4 billion approved, US $2.3 billion has been disbursed to public and private recipients in 127 countries and to date, 89 per cent. of approved grants have signed grant agreements. Results achieved so far include:

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However, the Global Fund continues to face many challenges, including aligning its programs with country priorities and planning processes, and generating sufficient long-term resources from a more diverse donor base to meet its future needs.

The Global Fund’s revised resource needs for 2006 and 2007 is US $5.5 billion. There is a current funding gap of US $2.1 billion for this period, of which, US $0.7 billion is needed to fund round 6 of new grants that will be approved in November 2006.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the government of Angola concerning its request for a post conflict donor conference; and if he will make a statement. [85538]

Hilary Benn: I refer my hon. Friend to the response I gave on 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1292W.

DFID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are keen to improve dialogue between the Government of Angola, donors and investors in the country. We are working closely with other bilateral donors and the World Bank to create a Forum for Development and Investment, aimed at improving the harmonisation of reconstruction efforts in Angola. We are following up this issue with the Government of Angola.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the Department funds projects in Argentina to tackle (a) trafficking in people and (b) the commercial sexual exploitation of children. [86343]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development is not funding any projects in Argentina to tackle trafficking in people or the commercial exploitation of children.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment his Department has made of outbreaks of cholera in (a) Southern Sudan and (b) Southern Africa. [87466]

Hilary Benn: In South Sudan, an ongoing cholera epidemic has resulted in 16,964 reported cases of the disease, with 504 deaths. Of these, 6,163 cases and 116 deaths have been in Juba. The international response, working in partnership with the Sudanese Ministry of Health, has recently made good progress in bringing the outbreak under control in the South. Over the last week in Juba, for instance, there were only 10 new cases and no deaths reported. There continue to be new cases reported in some parts of the South but the response
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has become increasingly effective in containing these and treating those infected, according to DFID’s humanitarian partners.

The UN Common Humanitarian Fund in Sudan, to which the UK is the largest donor with £49 million this year, has played a key role in funding the international and local response to the cholera outbreak in the South, through UN agencies and NGOs.

In Angola, a widespread cholera epidemic has been ongoing since mid-February, when the first case of cholera was reported in the Boa Vista slum area of Luanda. Due primarily to heavy rains, and poor hygiene and sanitation conditions, the epidemic spread rapidly to the other municipalities and then to neighbouring provinces (Benguela, Bengo, Kuanza Norde, Malanje, Huambom, Namibe and Bie).

Even though the epidemic has calmed considerably from its peak at the beginning of May, when more than 500 cases were being reported per day, it continues to result in 100 new cases per day across the country. By July 11, the Angolan Ministry of Health reported a total of 49,620 cases of cholera and 2,040 deaths since mid-February, making it the most serious outbreak ever to have affected Angola.

DFID has provided £200,000 to Medecins Sans Frontieres to help combat the epidemic in Angola, and is currently supporting UNICEF with a grant of £3.5 million to tackle some of the root causes of Angola’s vulnerability to cholera outbreaks, including the poorest’s access to primary health care, safe water and sanitation.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the Unnumbered Command Papers produced by his Department in each session since 1976; by what means (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public can (i) inspect and (ii) obtain copies; and if he will make a statement. [81325]

Hilary Benn: Documents which are laid before Parliament as unnumbered Command Papers are generally restricted to Explanatory Notes to Treaties, Explanatory Memoranda to Statutory Instruments and some Treasury Minutes. All other documents are published in the Numbered Command Papers series.

A complete list of unnumbered Command Papers can be produced only at disproportionate cost.

Copies of all unnumbered Command Papers are made available via the Vote Office.

Departmental Staff

Roger Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many disabled staff in his Department received support through the Access to Work scheme (a) in each of the last five years and (b) in 2006-07. [82230]

Mr. Thomas: The number of disabled staff in DFID that received support through the Access to Work scheme in each of the last five years is detailed in the following table:

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DFID staff (number)















Departmental Travel Costs

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to his answer of 10 July 2006, Official Report, column 1408W, on departmental travel costs, whether each flight was a return flight; how many of the trips involved overnight stays; what the cost of overnight stays was; what the purpose was of the trips; and what assessment was made of using alternative travel to Glasgow to achieve the objectives. [86376]

Mr. Thomas: There were 1,056 return flights from London to Glasgow during 2005, 874 of which involved overnight stays at a total cost of £126,642. All travellers are required to confirm the business purpose when booking flights but DFID does not keep a central record. We are evaluating our investment in video-conferencing and better communication to provide a cost effective alternative to travel and staff must confirm before booking flights that they have considered conducting their business by other methods.

Developing Countries

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on his Department’s commitments to address climate change and environmental degradation in developing countries. [87475]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development (DFID) has issued two key papers in recent months outlining our commitments on climate change and the environment.

DFID’s new White Paper, ‘Eliminating world poverty: making governance work for the poor’ was launched on 13 July. The White Paper addresses the need for a coherent approach to global environmental challenges and development, such as climate change. It states that:

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In February 2006, DFID published a policy paper, “DFID’s Approach to the Environment”. It outlines how we incorporate sustainability and environment into our work. The paper sets out principles for tackling environmental challenges, to be applied according to the circumstances of country programmes. These include:

The paper has an implementation plan agreed across DFID and approved by Top Management. Each division is responsible for ensuring that it delivers on implementation. Progress will be reviewed in spring 2007.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how his Department will assist in strengthening (a) biodiversity, (b) the ecosystem and (c) conservation services in developing countries. [87476]

Hilary Benn: DFID is committed to incorporating biodiversity into development in helping to improve poor people’s livelihoods and in supporting developing countries to use the benefits of biodiversity and conservation to reduce poverty.

Our major contribution to international biodiversity conservation is made through the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The GEF provides grants and concessional funds to help developing countries fund projects and programmes for sustainable management of the global environment. One third of the GEF’s funds are spent on biodiversity and it is the financial mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The UK is currently the fourth largest donor, contributing £118 million in the third replenishment period (2002-05). We are working to ensure a successful fourth replenishment.

DFID recognises that biodiversity and the ecosystems it supports have a significant contribution to make towards poverty alleviation. However, the links between biodiversity, ecosystems and poverty often remain poorly understood. DFID is involved in a number of initiatives to develop a better understanding of mechanisms to capture the value of biodiversity and ecosystems.

For instance, DFID is currently working to develop a collaborative research programme on Ecosystem Services and Poverty with the Nature Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Biodiversity will be a sub-theme within this programme.

DFID is also one of the key contributors to the Ecosystems Marketplace. It serves as a one-stop shop for information on ecosystem service markets where providers and beneficiaries of ecosystem services can get together. More information is available at: Additionally, DFID has engaged in a collaborative research project with the
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UK’s fourth largest fund manager—ISIS Asset Management—to examine the nature of the relationship between biodiversity and business and the associated risks.

As well as these initiatives, DFID works to ensures that its development assistance does not contribute to damage to ecosystems. Environmental Screening, mandatory for all DFID assistance greater than £1 million, identifies environmental risks and opportunities. We are currently reviewing Environmental Screening experience since 2003. This will consider compliance with procedures and the quality of screening.

We also work to ensure that there is a coherent Government approach to international biodiversity. To achieve this, an Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on Biodiversity (IDMGB), comprising DFID, the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers has been established.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department work on (a) climate change and (b) other environmental issues in developing countries, based (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad. [87478]

Hilary Benn: Implementing DFID’s environment policy involves a range of staff, including programme managers and advisers with environment, livelihoods and infrastructure responsibilities.

DFID has 18 specialist environment posts working on climate change and environment. Of these, 12 are full-time environment posts; and six combine environment with other responsibilities, such as livelihoods or infrastructure.

In the UK, the Sustainable Development Group in Policy Division is home to ten specialist environment and natural resource posts split between three teams:

Policy work on agriculture (including fisheries and forestry) is carried out by the Renewable Natural Resources and Agriculture team in Policy Division’s Growth and Investment Group.

On environment in developing countries, Asia Division has a regional adviser based in the UK and advisers in China, India and Bangladesh. Africa Division has two regional advisers based in UK and one adviser based in Kenya.

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