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6 Nov 2006 : Column 909W—continued

Non-pensionable bonuses awarded to DFID staff below SCS
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Number of awards





Number of awards as a proportion of the number of DFID HCS staff (percentage)





Total cost (£)





Largest individual payment (£)





Developing Countries (Health)

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to address (a) underweight, (b) unsafe sex, (c) unsafe water and sanitation and (d) indoor air pollution in high-mortality countries. [99101]

Mr. Thomas: Globally, around 800 million people do not get enough to eat. Malnutrition is a factor in over half the under-5 deaths in developing countries, 150 million children under 5 are underweight. More than 20 million low birth weight (LBW) babies are born each year. LBW babies are more likely to die in infancy, suffer from stunted growth, and ultimately suffer reduced working ability and earnings as adults.

DFID is working with developing countries and the international community to reduce hunger and improve livelihoods. One way to do this is through supporting programmes that help increase the amount and availability of food that people produce in poor countries. This increases the food supply and in turn lowers prices. This helps those very poor people who rely on the market to get access to cheaper food.
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Between 2004-05, the UK provided nearly £124 million in direct support to agriculture in poor countries. DFID is also working to improve child health by improving access to basic services such as health, education and water and sanitation, by promoting critical investment in infrastructure, such as clinics, clean water and market access roads.

340 million new cases of largely treatable sexually transmitted infections occur annually, 100 million of them among young people. 58 million people are infected with HIV. 20 million have died, and in sub-Saharan Africa it is the leading cause of death. Women and young people are particularly vulnerable. Fewer than one in five people at risk have access to prevention information. Improving sexual and reproductive health through improved information, services and commodity supplies is among the most cost-effective of all development investments and is central to DFID's strategy. It saves and improves lives, slows the spread of HIV and AIDS, reduces poverty and encourages gender equality. Changes in sexual behaviour through better awareness of the dangers can make a significant difference. DFID's "Taking Action" the UK strategy for tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world commits the UK to an increase in our spending to at least £1.5 billion and offers financial and practical support to governments in improving treatment, care and prevention.

The DFID-supported Joint Monitoring Programme of September 2006, estimated that spending to achieve the water MDG target needs to increase by one third and needs to double to achieve the sanitation target. These figures mask huge regional variations, with Ethiopia needing to increase its efforts in water by a factor of 13.5; DRC by 4.8 and Mozambique by 3.3 if the target is to be reached.

This is why in the recent White paper, “Making governance work for the poor”, DFID committed to doubling our direct spending on water and sanitation in Africa to £95 million per year by 2007-08 and more than doubling again to £200 million per year by 2010-11. We are directly involved in seven African countries (Ethiopia, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia), and through our funding of other agencies' programmes, including the World Bank, the EU and the African and Asian Development Banks, we reach many other countries.

We support the EU Water Initiative, which aims to make the aid provided by the EU member states more effective. EU member states provide the largest funding in the water sector to Africa. We also support the EU Water Facility, which through funding of €230 million aims to make drinking water available to an additional 10 million people and basic sanitation to 5 million by 2010.

The International Energy Agency estimates that about 2.4 billion people worldwide depend on traditional biomass such as charcoal, wood and straw to meet their daily household cooking and heating needs. This is often burnt inefficiently and is a source of indoor smoke pollution. It causes ill-health, especially for women and children who tend to receive most exposure. The World Health Organisation estimates that 1.5 million deaths a year in developing countries are attributable to indoor smoke, with millions more suffering from chronic respiratory illness. Solutions
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include improved more efficient cooking stoves, cleaner fuels and proper ventilation. Changes in behaviour through better awareness of the dangers can also make a significant difference.

DFID is the second largest contributor to the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP). We have made core contributions to ESMAP of £0.5 million in each of the last four years. In 2002, we agreed with the World Bank that household fuel and health be taken up as a major theme. As a result, the programme has worked in five developing countries, looking at health impacts, improved cooking stoves and cleaner fuels. An example is DFID funding in 2002 of approximately £0.5m for an ESMAP programme in four provinces in China on new stove and ventilation technologies.

The UK also supports the work of Practical Action (previously the Intermediate Technology Development Group), the Partnership on Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) and the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP). These include programmes that aim to improve energy access and reduce the huge environmental costs of solid fuels.

Economic Partnership Agreements

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has received from (a) African, Caribbean and Pacific Governments, (b) UK companies, (c) other companies, (d) corporate umbrella groups and (e) other European Governments with regard to economic partnership agreements. [98474]

Mr. Thomas: Economic partnership agreements, (EPAs) are routinely discussed in meetings that DFID Ministers and senior officials have with representatives of African, Caribbean and Pacific Governments, with EU member states and with private sector representatives.

Infant Mortality

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made towards Millennium Development Goal 4 on infant mortality; what steps his Department is taking to help meet the target; and if he will make a statement. [99099]

Mr. Thomas: Many countries have succeeded in improving the health and well-being of children. However the number of children dying before their fifth birthday remains high. In 1980 an estimated 13 million children died each year; over two decades later in 2004 this figure had reduced to 10.5 million deaths in childhood. Unfortunately where least progress has been made is in saving the lives of newborns—40 per cent. of all childhood deaths take place in the first 28 days of life, and most of these in the first day or week of life. If current trends continue, Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 will not be achieved until 2045—over 30 years late.

Most child deaths are preventable and could be avoided by delivering basic services and supplies to families, young people and communities. For example: improving water supplies and sanitation; increasing the
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use of mosquito repellent bed nets to protect children from malaria; improving maternal health care, increasing emphasis on breastfeeding and improved nutrition and immunisation programmes. Improving access to basic health services requires that hospitals and health centres have well-trained doctors, nurses and midwives as well as the medicines and equipment to do their job.

The health of babies and children can also be improved by preventing HIV infection in girls and women and by making sure that HIV infected women have access to treatment and care in pregnancy, child birth and beyond. The UK Government’s view is that improving the health of children (MDG 4) goes hand in hand with improving the health of their mothers (MDG 5).

The UK wants to make faster progress towards both these MDGs. We are working with many countries, including India, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Nigeria to achieve this. In Kenya, DFID committed £19.6 million to a programme providing 11 million bed nets treated with insecticide. They will be available to over 75 per cent. of the vulnerable population by 2007-08, allowing them to sleep safely and free from malaria. It is estimated that the lives of 167,000 children will be saved as a result. In Bangladesh, maternal health is the first objective of a new US$ 4.3 billion health sector-wide programme which DFID is contributing £100 million over five years.

DFID also contributes to global projects such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) which could save the lives of five million children by 2015, and a further five million after that as they are immunised. The UK has promised $2.6 billion (£1.3 billion).

IT Projects

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what percentage of information technology projects undertaken by or for his Department since 2001 have been delivered (a) over budget, (b) after their original deadline, (c) on budget, (d) under budget, (e) on their original deadline and (f) ahead of their original deadline. [98598]

Hilary Benn: DFID has undertaken four major IT projects since 2001.

The Human Resource system had a projected supplier cost at tender of £1.18 million and was due to be implemented in 30 months. The first four modules were implemented in 36 months at a total supplier cost of £1.22 million.

The HR system project was superseded by an HR Transformation project which aims to radically change the way HR services are delivered and improve people management. The HR Transformation project was initiated in March 2005 and has a budget of £6.5 million. It is primarily a business change project but it includes enhancements to the existing HR system and a number of smaller IT enabled components. The planned completion date is March 2008. The project is currently on track to deliver to time and budget.

The contract for the Quest Electronic Document and Records Management project was signed in March
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2004. The main rollout was originally estimated to be completed in December 2005. Detailed planning carried out in early 2005 led to a revised target date of March 2006, which was met. The projected supplier base cost at tender was £8.98 million. The projected total supplier cost is now £11.52 million, which includes implementation of a number of options available under the original contract but not included in the base cost.

The Aries Finance, Procurement and Reporting System, had a projected base supplier cost at tender of £11 million and is due to be implemented in 36 months. A number of additional cost options are available under the contract. The Aries project is currently on track to deliver to time and budget.

DFID has also undertaken a number of small IT related projects. However, our central records do not distinguish IT contracts, so provision of details for all of these projects would incur disproportionate costs.

Mineral Dependent Countries

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what recent discussions he has had on reducing levels of inequality in mineral dependent countries; and if he will make a statement; [92777]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of large-scale mining operations on women in developing countries; and what he considers to be the policy implications for his Department of this assessment; [92778]

(3) what steps he is taking to help ensure that the rights of indigenous people are protected in countries with large-scale mining operations. [92779]

Mr. Thomas: DFID’s involvement in the assessment and management of the impacts of large-scale mining projects on all vulnerable groups—including women, children, indigenous peoples and the poor—is indirect. We aim to influence the development of the systems and procedures used by the international financial institutions, in which we are ‘shareholders’. They do invest directly in such projects.

DFID has not itself undertaken specific assessments on the impact of large-scale mining on women, indigenous peoples or equity in developing countries, but is working to ensure effective systems are in place internationally to do this.

We recognise that women, indigenous peoples and the poor can be disproportionately affected by negative social and environmental impacts of all scales of mining, large and small, and can be excluded from the economic benefits. As with any development, it is critical that the impacts on vulnerable groups are taken into account. We are working for this to be a routine requirement of mining project assessment and operating procedures.

DFID has contributed to the development of environmental and social safeguard policies and procedures being implemented by the World Bank and its private sector arm—the International Finance Corporation. This includes policies on environmental and social assessment and the involvement of indigenous peoples and others in decision making.

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DFID has provided financial support and leadership for the work of the World Bank hosted Communities and Small scale Mining (CASM) initiative. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that women comprise up to 30 per cent. of the 13-20 million people directly engaged in small-scale, informal sector mining. They work predominantly in the hazardous mineral processing areas such as manual ore grinding, and use of mercury for gold extraction. CASM has provided grants for women’s projects, for example helping set up the African Women in Mining Network, and helping develop gender components of mainly World Bank projects in Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia. It has also supported workshops and conferences on women in mining, for example in Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Peru. It is now preparing guidance notes on managing gender issues in mining.

Tackling inequality is an integral part of our work in all countries. DFID is working with several mineral resource rich developing country partners (for example the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Angola, and Sierra Leone) addressing issues including economic diversification, fairer terms and conditions for mine workers, minerals sector governance, public-private sector alliances and generally enhancing the contribution of mineral resource exploitation to growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Ministerial Travel

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on how many occasions he has visited (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. [94957]

Hilary Benn: During the last 12 months I have visited Scotland on two occasions, 12 and 22/23 June and Wales on two occasions, 27 March and 4 October. I have not visited Northern Ireland. All ministerial visits are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers.

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken to offset the carbon dioxide emissions caused by ministerial travel in his Department. [98734]

Hilary Benn: All central Government ministerial and official air travel is being offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases Certified Emissions Reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

Emissions generated through road travel are not offset but have been reduced significantly as both myself and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State use a Toyota Prius, the lowest carbon-emitting petrol hybrid vehicle currently available.


Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many mosquito nets
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were purchased by the UK for the developing world in each of the last 20 years; and which countries received such aid in each year. [95095]

Mr. Thomas: DFID provides considerable support for the purchase and distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) through a number of programme and health sector approaches, including budgetary support to developing countries. Information in the form requested is not held centrally by DFID, because our support for ITNs is usually provided as part of a larger package of measures to improve health and combat malaria.

DFID supports the World Health Organisation, the Roll Bank Malaria partnership, UNICEF and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), which all help finance the purchase and distribution of ITNs in developing countries. The UK has, for example, doubled its funding to the GFATM for 2006 and 2007 to £100 million annually, subject to performance. The GFATM has become a major source of funding for ITNs globally and expects to have financed the purchase of 109 million bed nets in its five funding rounds to date.

DFID’s bilateral programmes support countries to develop strong and sustainable health services that are able to scale-up the coverage of services including access to ITNs. In some countries, funding is provided as part of our overall support for poverty reduction and implementation of health sector plans. In such settings, it is not possible to attribute the number of nets to a particular donor. What we are interested in seeing is overall national increases in the distribution and use of bed nets, and many countries are making good progress in promoting ITN use.

DFID does provide direct support specifically for provision of ITNs in several countries. For example, In Kenya, DFID has committed £47.4 million for social marketing of ITNs, with the goal of reaching 60 per cent. coverage of children under five and 40 per cent. coverage of pregnant women by the end of 2007, by selling 11.1 million nets at highly subsidised and affordable prices.

In Ghana, our support has helped procure 1.8 million long-lasting insecticide treated nets through UNICEF for free distribution to children under two years of age as part of the November 2006 measles campaign. In Democratic Republic of Congo, one million nets have been distributed over a period of four years from 2003 to 2006.

In Malawi, delivery of ITNs is combined with other services. A nationwide programme has been in operation through antenatal services since 2002. More than 100,000 ITNs have been delivered every month since the programme began, and solid results achieved. ITN coverage of under-fives has risen from around 8 per cent. in 2000 to more than 60 per cent. in some districts in 2006.

In Tanzania ITNs are being rolled-out through a subsidised voucher scheme for pregnant women involving over 3,000 service delivery outlets. This is enabling more women to access ITNs, and is helping create more demand for local production.

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