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The Global Conflict Prevention Pool, jointly managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (FCO), DFID and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is funding the following projects with Israeli non-governmental organisations:
Peace NowSettlement Watch;
Ir Aminadvocacy project on status of Jerusalem;
Council for Peace and Securityadvocacy work on Israeli separation;
Economic Co-operation FoundationGaza disengagement; and
HaMoKed/BTselemFreedom of movement for Palestinians.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the value was of each IT contract awarded by his Department in each of the last five years; and who the contractor was in each case. 
The Quest Electronic Document and Record Management system had a projected supplier base cost at tender of £8.98 million. The projected total supplier cost is £10.76 million. This includes a number of additional cost options available under the original contract. The supplier is LogicaCMG UK Ltd and the contract was signed in 2004.
The Aries Finance, Procurement and Reporting System, had a projected base supplier cost at tender of £11 million. A number of additional cost options are available under the contract. The supplier is Agresso Ltd and the contract was signed in 2005.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which IT contracts awarded by his Department in each of the last five years have been abandoned; and what the value was in each case. 
During and since the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel I called for all parties to allow humanitarian access, including during my visit to Lebanon the day after the ceasefire came into force. From the outset DFID has also provided resources to enable UN agencies to provide much-needed logistical capacity, through convoys and shipping, to allow relief supplies to reach those most in need. At the Stockholm Early Recovery Conference on 31 August I and others
called for the lifting of the air and sea blockade by Israel. Israel announced the lifting of the blockade on 7 September. DFID also provided £1.5 million to assist efforts to remove dangerous unexploded ordnance to ease access for returnees and humanitarian aid workers and emergency bridging to help assistance reach those in need.
DFID has seconded a specialist to assist the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs with their work to monitor and facilitate movement and access in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPts). The European Commission (EC), on behalf of the EU and through their chairmanship of the Task Force on Project Implementation, makes regular representations to the Israeli authorities on access issues.
The British embassy in Tel Aviv made frequent representations to the Israeli Government about the importance of ensuring humanitarian access during the Israel-Lebanon conflict. It also continues regularly to raise issues relating to access and movement into the oPts.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of child casualties in the Middle East conflict; and if he will make a statement. 
In Israel, government figures indicate 43 Israeli civilians including seven minors were killed during the conflict. 4,262 civilians were treated in hospitals for injuries. Of these, 33 were seriously wounded, 68 moderately and 1,388 lightly. Another 2,773 were treated for shock and anxiety. There is no breakdown of how many of the injured were children.
Hilary Benn: During the recent conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, despite calls from the UK Government and other international partners for all parties to allow unfettered humanitarian access, it was extremely difficult for agencies to operate effectively. The ceasefire quickly eased the situation and a much worse humanitarian crisis was averted. The aid agencies have been working hard to deliver essential relief. We will undertake a monitoring visit in October to assess the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance by agencies supported by DFID. It is important now to ensure that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 is fully implemented so there is no return to conflict.
In the occupied Palestinian territories (oPts), the main obstacle to effective delivery of humanitarian aid is access. The closure regime and restrictions on
movement in the West Bank and, particularly, Gaza frequently hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reports that it has incurred more than US$490,000 in staff cost and US$1.3 million in excess storage and other fees due to restrictions imposed by Israel on UNRWAs personnel and movement of humanitarian goods in 2005.
DFID has seconded two experts to work with the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the oPts. They are supporting OCHAs work on humanitarian access, assisting with monitoring the humanitarian situation and helping to develop a more strategic 2007 humanitarian appeal.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the needs of refugees and internally displaced people from the situation in the Middle East. 
Hilary Benn: Having visited Beirut to assess the situation for myself the priority for our humanitarian effort is now to ensure safe return for displaced citizens. To this end, DFID has provided over £1.5 million from our £22.3 million commitment for mine and ordnance awareness and clearance programmes. We are supporting NGOs and UN Agencies providing essential sanitation, health and hygiene supplies to refugees and continue to press for safe and secure access for humanitarian convoys to reach those most in need.
A further priority is to repair basic civilian infrastructure, namely water and bridges, to assist Southern Lebanons recovery from the conflict and to help displaced persons return home. The UKs multilateral contributions to the EU and UN emergency funds will assist the reconstruction process, and work erecting the first UK supplied prefabricated bridge began on 13 September.
The UK responded positively and quickly to the crisis and aid has been getting through. As long as the current ceasefire holds the humanitarian situation in Lebanon is manageable. Maintaining the ceasefire will require the full implementation of UNSCR 1701.
The situation in Gaza remains difficult. 7,000 people have requested shelter from the UN in response to Israeli shelling and at the height of military operations more than 5,000 were being supported by the UN. On 27 August, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) closed the schools which were being used as relocation centres and gave refugees a relocation allowance. UNRWA is still providing relocation allowance for 800 families. Other agencies (especially the International Committee of the Red Cross) are providing tents, water and other services for 300 people.
The Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP), which is jointly managed by DFID, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD), is providing funding for the following projects:
Peace NowSettlement Watch.
Ir Aminadvocacy project on status of Jerusalem.
Council for Peace and Securityadvocacy work on Israeli separation.
Economic Co-operation FoundationGaza disengagement.
HaMoKed/BTselemfreedom of movement for Palestinians.
DFID support in the Palestinian Territories is focused on three objectives: supporting prospects for peace, improved delivery of humanitarian and development assistance, and helping to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions for a future Palestinian state. DFID has provided £176 million since 2001, plus our share of European Community aid. Until a government is formed with a position that reflects the principles set out by the Quartet, UK Government aid will be channelled outside the Palestinian Authority. Current DFID projects and programmes are as follows:
Support for Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Support for Palestinian basic needs through the Temporary International Mechanism. This EU initiative is providing social allowances, supplies and operating costs to maintain essential services. It was recently extended until 31 December 2006.
Assistance to the Negotiations Affairs Department to support progress towards a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Assistance to build Palestinian anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance capacity.
Building the capacity of the Palestinian Authority (currently suspended) and civil society organisations on governance and public administration reform.
Improved analysis of PA institutional development.
Strategic interventions to support a peace process and economic development.
Military Liaison Officer for the Palestinians.
Training Needs Analysis for National Security Forces (currently suspended).
Military Advisor to the Special Envoy for Disengagement (currently suspended).
Close protection support for President of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian National Security Doctrine website.
Palestinian Security Force Assessmentwith US Security Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (currently suspended).
Palestinian media activities in support of the Roadmap (jointly funded with USAID).
Financial Liaison Officer to the Palestinian Authority (currently suspended).
Water Pollution Management in Israel, Jordan and Palestinian Authority.
Hilary Benn: The current phase of DFID support for the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organisation will end in November 2006. DFID is conducting a completion report reviewing this project over its entire period.
The review's initial findings are that the project has largely achieved its purpose to ensure: (i) effective support to the Palestinian negotiating teams in preparation for, and during, permanent status negotiations and (ii) support to current work intended to promote the resumption of permanent status talks.
The main successes of the project have been: the formation of an effective negotiations support team, a comprehensive set of files to inform final status negotiations, valuable legal support including that provided around the Gaza disengagement process, and the implementation of a communications strategy which helped raise awareness domestically and internationally on key Palestinian negotiating positions. Key project weaknesses which prevented full achievement of the project purpose were: the lack of a PLO negotiations strategy or clear PLO structure for prosecuting negotiations, the late emergence of a plan for transferring knowledge from the Support Unit to the PLO, and the need for stronger project management in some areas.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made with the new EU mechanism for funding the Palestinian people; and what contribution the UK is making (a) financially and (b) to the running of the fund. 
Hilary Benn: The Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) has been delivering basic services since July 2006. By the end of September, around 11,900 health care workers, 51,500 of the poorest Palestinian government workers and 40,000 social hardship cases had received basic allowances. The TIM has also provided 1.73 million litres of fuel for hospitals, clinics and water and sanitation facilities in Gaza. This fuel is powering emergency generators to help keep these vital services working after damage to Gaza's only power station in an Israeli air raid. However, the situation in the Palestinian Territories remains very difficult and the security has deteriorated recently. In Gaza many households continue to receive just 6 to 8 hours of electricity per day, and intermittent electricity supply is affecting all key services. Water supply and sanitation services remain limited, with severe implications for health.
The UK has offered to contribute up to £12 million to the TIM and has so far committed £9 million of this to specific programmes. £3 million is providing drugs, medical equipment and other essential supplies to hospitals and clinics. Our second £3 million contribution will finance the operation, maintenance and repair of water, sanitation and electricity services
in Gaza and the West Bank. The UK will also make a third contribution to pay allowances to the poorest Palestinian government workers, including teachers, who have suffered a severe loss in income over recent months. This is on top of the UK's share of European Community funding through the TIM, which amounts to a further £9 million approximately.
(i) supporting prospects for peace; (ii) more effective, accountable and inclusive Palestinian institutions and governance; and (iii) more effective humanitarian and development assistance. These objectives are all directly relevant to the new White Paper. The main challenge to meeting them is that the platform of the current Hamas Government fails to reflect principles set out by the Quartet. We are keeping the situation under close review.
Mr. Simon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the implementation of the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit review. 
Hilary Benn: The current phase of DFID support for the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organisation will end in November 2006. DFID is conducting a project completion report reviewing this project over its entire period. This will be finalised by 1 November.
The reviews initial findings are that the project has largely achieved its purpose to ensure: (i) effective support to the Palestinian negotiating teams in preparation for, and during, permanent status negotiations and (ii) support to current work intended to promote the resumption of permanent status talks.
The main successes of the project have been: the formation of a dynamic and effective negotiations support team, a comprehensive set of files to inform final status negotiations, valuable legal support including that provided around the Gaza disengagement process, and the implementation of a communications strategy which helped raise awareness domestically and internationally on key Palestinian negotiating positions. Key project weaknesses which prevented full achievement of the project purpose were: the lack of a PLO negotiations strategy or clear PLO structure for prosecuting negotiations, the late emergence of a plan for transferring knowledge from the Support Unit to the PLO, and the need for stronger project management in some areas.
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