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DFID has no bilateral programme with Lebanon or Syria but GCPP currently funds one project in Lebanon.

Millennium Development Goals

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how his Department measures progress against the Millennium Development Goals in relation to countries where data on performance in key sectors is missing or incomplete. [86032]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 18 July 2006]: DFID uses international data from the World Bank and the United Nations to assess progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the countries in which it has a programme. It is not possible to assess progress towards the MDGs in countries where data on performance in key sectors is missing or incomplete. In such countries, DFID will identify other ways to measure progress. For example, DFID might use targets contained in partner government national strategies as the basis on which progress is assessed. In some countries, sample surveys conducted through DFID projects or by other agencies provide useful data on which assessments of progress can be made.

DFID is working with many partner countries and with international institutions to improve the quality of the data that are available to measure progress, so that the number of cases of incomplete or missing data are reduced. This includes working with the PARIS 21 (Partnerships in Statistics for Development for the 21st Century) consortium of donors, partner countries and multilateral agencies to raise awareness of the problems linked to inadequate statistics.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has provided for the Millennium
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Ecosystem Assessment; and if his Department will fund a future Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. [87477]

Mr. Thomas: DFID provided funding to the International Institute for Environment and Development of approximately £68,000 for lead co-ordination of a forests working group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and contributions on climate change. DFID recognises the importance of the Assessment and it informed development of our own environmental policy. As far as we know there are no plans to undertake another Assessment so soon after the previous one. We would consider possible support to such an initiative should this decision be made.


Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects in the Palestinian Territories funded by (a) the United Kingdom and (b) the European Union were damaged or destroyed by Israeli military action in the month prior to 19 July. [88156]

Hilary Benn: Because of military activity, aid agencies currently face difficulty assessing the extent of damage to facilities in the Gaza Strip. However, initial reports from northern Gaza indicate that four schools and one clinic provided for Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have sustained heavy damages. Fifty seven empty food containers leased by UNRWA have also been damaged at a cost of £31,000. The European Community and EU member states collectively provide more than half of UNRWA’s core funding and two of the damaged schools were specifically financed from European Community funds.

The main entrance bridge to Beit Hanun was partially destroyed by an Israeli air strike on 9 July. The bridge was built in 2004 with £205,000 in funding from the European Community.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Government of Paraguay on (a) debt bondage affecting indigenous peoples in the Chaco and (b) the trafficking of human beings and the system known as criadazgo affecting child domestic workers; and whether the Department is supporting projects in Paraguay to tackle these problems. [86342]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development is not funding projects nor had discussions with the Government of Paraguay on the problems of debt bondage affecting indigenous people in the Chaco or on the trafficking of human beings.

Pharmaceuticals (Developing Nations)

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of the classification of returned
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medicines under the Hazardous Waste Regulations on the provision of pharmaceutical treatments to developing countries; and if he will make a statement. [86324]

Hilary Benn: When returned medicines have been sent abroad to developing countries in the past, they have caused a number of problems in receiving countries. This has been because of quality and labelling issues, the medicines were not always the ones wanted, and the cost of sorting and then disposing of the useless products.

The classification of mixed, returned medicines as waste will provide a barrier to the export of unwanted, poor quality and mislabelled drugs and medicines to developing countries. It also encourages the rigorous inspection and sorting of these wastes, so that properly labelled, quality-assured medicines can be separated out and sent to those developing countries that need them.

PR Agencies

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on using public affairs and public relations agencies in each of the last two years; and on what projects in each case. [84820]

Mr. Thomas: In the last two years, the following three projects using public affairs or public relations agencies were commissioned centrally by DFID at a total cost of £223,509.19.

Corporate Communications

Asia 2015

St. Helena

Public Appointments

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many public appointments are within his patronage; what (a) salary and (b) other emoluments are attached to each; and what the comparable figures were in (i) 1976, (ii) 1986 and (iii) 1996. [83174]

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Hilary Benn: DFID currently has 17 public appointments that are the responsibility of Secretary of State for International Development. This comprises two members of the Crown Agents Holding and Realisation Board and 15 members of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. The Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) currently receives £5,000 per annum. An honoraria of £200 is paid to those CSC Board members who participate in selection boards for awarding scholarships. Additionally, CSC Board members receive remuneration for travel expenses. The members of the Crown Agents Holding and Realisation Board attract no emoluments.

In the past, the only members of a public body within the patronage of DFID, who received more than expenses, were those appointed to the Board of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC). The CDC transformed from a statutory corporation into a public limited company in December 1999. The last salary information we have for the CDC is for 1999 when the Chair received £30,000, the Deputy £10,000 and Board members (five in total) received £7,500 per annum.

Details of the public appointments to public bodies sponsored by the Department for International Development can be found in Public Bodies, copies of which are in the Library. Public Bodies has been published annually since 1980 and the most recent edition provides figures for 2005. Each edition of Public Bodies contains details on the number of public appointments and remuneration details for that particular year. Comparable information for 1976 in respect of those bodies sponsored by DFID could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the (a) humanitarian and (b) security situation in Somalia. [87470]

Hilary Benn: We keep the humanitarian situation in Somalia under constant review. There have been a number of assessment visits this year with DFID participation, and I visited the drought-affected area around Wajid myself in May.

The main concern remains the effect of the drought in some areas of the South. The conflict in Mogadishu and beyond between Somali warlords and Islamic Courts, which now threatens to involve others, is also having humanitarian repercussions as people’s lives are disrupted by the fighting. It appears that for the time being, Mogadishu is no longer contested and that people are now able to go about their business more freely. The UN estimates that approximately 1.7 million people require relief assistance in Somalia. The main rains have been better than last year, but still a long way short of the quantities and distribution needed to produce a satisfactory harvest and recovery of pasture. The UK is currently the second biggest donor of humanitarian assistance having committed £13.2 million since the onset of the drought. This includes support to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who are providing drought relief
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assistance and directly addressing the effects of the previous fighting in Mogadishu where they run hospitals treating the wounded.

The security situation in Somalia is extremely fragile. The past few months have seen heavy fighting in Mogadishu. With the Islamic Courts’ victory over the warlords, the situation in the city appears to have largely stabilised. However, there is a continued threat of conflict between the Transitional Federal Government based in Baidoa and the Islamic Courts which could destabilise the whole country and region, and draw in regional states. We are urging all national and regional parties to show restraint and commit themselves to resolve the situation through dialogue. We strongly support continuation of the Arab League sponsored dialogue between the Transitional Federal Institutions and the Islamic Courts in Khartoum.

The northern parts of Somalia remain relatively stable.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the (a) humanitarian and (b) security situation in the Sudan, broken down by region. [87469]

Hilary Benn: The information is as follows:


The humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to be of concern. The ability of agencies to access and deliver assistance to affected populations has become increasingly difficult because of banditry, inter-SLA factional fighting and attacks on civilians and NGO staff. In North Darfur, the recent fighting between SLA factions has led to an estimated 15-18,000 people displaced, adding to the 250,000 displaced since the start of 2006. While humanitarian indicators (health, mortality, malnutrition etc.) have remained relatively stable in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, the oncoming rainy season and the increasing instability threatens to undermine the progress made.


The issue of access for humanitarian agencies is also a significant problem in the East. The World Food Programme (WFP) has propositioned food stocks in anticipation of both the rains and further access difficulties.


The UN estimate that about 500,000 displaced people returned to the South from within Sudan and neighbouring countries over the last dry season (October-May). The flow of returnees has slowed in recent weeks due to the onset of the rains. Provision of basic services and the establishment of sustainable livelihoods for returnees and others in the South is a major challenge. There has been a predicted seasonal surge in malaria and other disease in the South, but the cholera outbreak has largely been brought under control.

DFID Humanitarian Program.

DFID is providing £67 million this financial year to humanitarian activities in Sudan. In Darfur, we are the second largest bilateral donor with £126 million given
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in humanitarian assistance since 2003. A major part of our funding this year (£49 million) is for the Common Humanitarian Fund, a pioneering mechanism allowing the Humanitarian Co-ordinator to fund the highest priorities across Sudan. We also continue to lobby the Government of Sudan on allowing full and unimpeded access for humanitarian agencies throughout Darfur and the rest of Sudan.

Security information is as follows:


The situation remains fragile. Fighting continues between different rebel groups as well as tribal militias, particularly around Sir Maza, Tawilla and Kutum in North Darfur and Greida in South Darfur. Banditry is an ongoing problem, especially in West Darfur.


Some isolated clashes have been reported, but overall the situation is calm at present. The SPLM forces withdrawal from Hamesh Korei has been peaceful. However, there is some tension along the border between Sudan and Eritrea. We hope that the current talks in Asmara will lead to lasting security in the region.


Much of Southern Sudan remains volatile. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has re-established a presence in the far South. Recent tribal clashes in Lakes State reportedly left 60 dead. Lawlessness remains a problem.


The situation is calm at present. We condemn the recent attack on Hamrat ash-Sheikh in North Kordofan, and any attempt to spread violence from Darfur further afield.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to tackle the shortage of water in Darfur. [88112]

Hilary Benn: Water access and management are root causes of the conflict in Darfur DFID’s expenditure for water and sanitation in Sudan is approximately £17 million per year, which accounts for approximately half of DFID’s total water and sanitation expenditure in Africa. The bulk of these funds are provided as humanitarian support channelled through the Common Humanitarian Fund and NGOs. We are also providing direct support to UNICEF, which is a key donor for the water sector.

Water will be a core issue for the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed in early May 2006. A UN/World Bank-led Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) was launched in June to plan the recovery and development process for Darfur. Water will be an important issue that they will consider when formulating their plans, which will be presented to donors at a pledging conference in October. The UK has provided technical experts for the JAM and £360,000 for its administration costs. The JAM’s conclusions will shape our future support for Darfur. We stand ready to be a major partner in its recovery and development.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will assess the outcome of the Brussels Conference on Darfur; and what additional resources have been pledged. [88113]

Hilary Benn: The EU estimates that at least $186 million was pledged to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) at a Donors' Conference in Brussels on 18 July, though they are still finalising the total figure. This is a very creditable result. The UK re-affirmed its pledge of £20 million for AMIS for this financial year. We stand ready to go on pressing others to contribute more should it prove necessary.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) helicopters and (b) armoured vehicles have been lent to the African Union Mission in Sudan. [88114]

Hilary Benn: The Canadian Government have supplied 105 armoured personnel carriers and 25 helicopters, providing 1,200 helicopter flying hrs per month to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). Canada has recently announced it would also contribute a further 200 helicopter flying hours per month. We are not aware that any other helicopters or armoured vehicles have been lent to AMIS.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what strategies have been put in place to protect women from violence in Darfur, with particular reference to those residing in camps. [88115]

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