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Economic Partnership Agreement

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of Statefor International Development (1) whether the Government support national EU financing for those African Caribbean Pacific regions and countries that do not enter into an economic partnership agreement with the European Union; [109010]

(2) what assessment he has made of the proposed financial protocol within the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations by some African Caribbean Pacific countries for additional funding to build trade capacity and compensate for revenue losses. [109008]

Mr. Thomas: DFID is strongly supportive of funds being provided to developing countries, including the ACP, to assist them with enhancing their trade capacity. This money should not be conditional on entry into any specific trade agreement.

ACP countries receive European Development Fund money under the Cotonou agreement. This is provided to all ACP countries at both a national and regional level and can be used, depending on the needs in the country, on trade capacity building. In addition funds for aid for trade have been promised by EU member states. MSs are committed to fund €1 billion per annum of aid for trade spending, mostly to ACP states, by 2010. The UK contribution to this is a commitment to spend £100 million per annum by 2010. DFID is currently scaling up aid for trade spending in order to meet this commitment. The UK's aid for trade spending is available to countries if they decide to sign an EPA or not.

The UK is not convinced that a new finance facility as proposed by some ACP countries will provide a timely or reliable way of providing additional funding. Our preference is to improve the disbursement and operation of existing mechanisms for the delivery of development assistance.

European Development Fund

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria will be used to allocate funding from the 10th European Development Fund. [109006]

Mr. Thomas: €22,682 billion will be spent through the 10th European Development Fund (EDF 10, 2008-2013). Of this amount, €21,966 billion will be spent on programmes that will benefit the 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, €286 million will benefit the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) and €430 million will cover administrative costs.

The Commission has allocated just under half of the €21,966 billion to national indicative programmes for ACP countries, primarily based on their needs and performance. Needs are measured by factors such as population size, income levels, the level of social development and a country's vulnerability to external shocks. Performance is measured by the absorption of previous EDF funds, and a series of indicators that measure economic, political and social performance. Each country's initial national allocation stands to be increased by around 25 per cent. according to its
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performance against a series of governance indicators and its commitment to further governance reforms. None of the ACP countries will receive less than they receive under EDF 9 (2003-2007). The allocation model has been discussed with member states.

Around €5.1 billion of funds will be provided for regional programmes and activities including trade integration and peace and security work. This money is allocated partly as a proportion of funding for national indicative programmes in each of the regions, and partly on the basis of needs for specific activities identified by the EC and agreed with member states. €1.5 billion will be used by the European Investment Bank to make loans to support private sector development in ACP countries. The criteria for allocating funds to the OCTs will be agreed inearly 2007.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what impact the recent coup in Fiji will have on aid projects funded by the UK; whether he has considered cancelling aid; and if he will make a statement. [109085]

Mr. Thomas: The UK does not have a bilateral assistance programme with Fiji. For the period 2003-07, Fiji has been allocated €23 million (£15.5 million) of EU Community assistance, of which the UK share is 12.7 per cent or €2.9 million (£2 million).

The UK fully supported the EU statement of5 December that condemned the recent military takeover in Fiji and the removal of the democratically elected Government; and called for the urgent and full restoration of democracy as well as the return of civilian rule. The EU is urgently seeking to engage in a dialogue with the Fijian authorities on this matter. The EU will consider the situation in the forthcoming weeks and, in the light of developments, may decide on a range of measures which could, as a last resort, include the suspension of cooperation with Fiji.

Gershon Review

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what efficiency savings have been made in his Department as a result of the Gershon review; and if he will make a statement. [108362]

Mr. Thomas: In 2005-06 DFID made provisional efficiency savings of £119.8 million. In the first two quarters of 2006-07 (to the end of September 2006) provisional savings of £186.6 million were made. These figures were published in DFID's autumn performance report (APR) 2006, which was laid before Parliament on 7 December 2006. It is available both in hard copy in the Library of the House of Commons and electronically on DFID's website:

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been spent by his Department in order to achieve Gershon
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efficiency savings; whether these costs have been accounted for in reporting of headline efficiency savings; and if he will make a statement. [108363]

Mr. Thomas: Sir Peter Gershon's independent report into public sector efficiency recommended that efficiencies be recorded gross of up-front investment costs and DFID has followed this advice.

The bulk of DFID's efficiency programme of£420 million is not contingent on new investment. However new investment is contributing to achievement of the administrative cost savings target of £20 million. The level of such investment throughout the SR04 period is expected to be around £50 million.


Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what effect the security environment in Iraq is having on his Department’s operations in the country; and if he will make a statement. [104857]

Hilary Benn: The serious security situation is having an adverse impact on reconstruction and economic development in Iraq. In particular, it has limited the presence and ability to work of the UN, World Bank, NGOs, and donors, including DFID. However, in spite of security concerns, our programme of assistance has continued and progress has been made.

DFID has managed to be creative in finding ways of working in the current security situation. Through reports from local engineers, and through photographs and video clips of infrastructure projects, our Iraqi contractors are able to ensure a continuing measure of monitoring and quality control. DFID has also benefited from close logistical support from the UK military for transporting project equipment and staff. Despite the obstacles, by the summer of 2007, DFID projects will have improved electricity supply and access to water for around a million people in southern Iraq.

In Baghdad, the International Zone affords a degree of protection and an environment in which our international experts can meet Iraqi partners to advise them on economic and institutional reform. However, outside the International Zone, access to key ministries remains limited.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made on regeneration in Iraq. [105612]

Hilary Benn: Prime Minister Maliki’s Government is just six months old and faces immense security, political and economic challenges as a result of more than 20 years of conflict, mismanagement and chronic underinvestment from Saddam’s brutal regime. Continued violence, including sabotage of key infrastructure facilities, and low (but growing) levels of technical capacity in Iraq’s national and local governments, is slowing progress. However, there have been some notable successes:

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DFID is committed to supporting Iraq’s reconstruction progress. Our programme focuses on:

DFID has already disbursed £367 million on our programme to Iraq. This includes over £100 millionfor humanitarian relief and £70 million for the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI)—trust funds managed by the UN and World Bank.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the level of corruption amongst public agencies in Iraq on the effective distribution of development aid. [108737]

Hilary Benn: Corruption poses a risk to the momentum of recovery and reconstruction in Iraq. The US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) reports that corruption costs Iraq US$4 billion per year. At the moment, the Iraqi Commission of Public Integrity are pursuing more than 1,400 cases involving US$5 billion in suspected fraud and other criminal activities. It is essentialthat the Government of Iraq, supported by the international community, is able to take the lead in tackling this issue.

The UK, with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other donors, continue to work with the Iraqi Government to improve accountability and transparency in Iraq’s public finances at both national and provincial levels. The Government of Iraq
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has announced plans to establish a Joint Anti-Corruption Council (JACC), the purpose of which is to advise the Prime Minister on anti-corruption policy and to improve co-ordination among the different bodies and institutions covering the rule of law, transparency and governance. In late July, the World Bank hosted an anti-corruption workshop in Dubai that brought Iraqis and donors together to examine how the Bank and others can more effectively assist in the fight against corruption.

DFID has reporting arrangements in place for each of our own projects, which means that the funding is tracked and monitored throughout the process. All of DFID’s funds are subject to rigorous internal controls and the National Audit Office audits DFID’s accounts on an annual basis. Our 2005-06 audited resource accounts are available at


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the recent outbreak of malaria in Jamaica. [109086]

Mr. Thomas: DFID is monitoring the situation closely.

The Jamaica newspaper, The Gleaner reported that the first case of malaria was uncovered on 6 November. As of the 12 December 2006, the number of confirmed cases was 61. Of these, 43 people have been treatedand discharged from hospital. Cases have been concentrated in West Kingston and in St. Catherine.

All cases have been found to be of the ‘falciparum type’ and to be sensitive to the antimalarial medication chloroquine. The local health authorities are treating mosquito breeding sites and are undertaking a public information campaign.

There is a backlog of samples taken, but not yet tested and the Ministry of Health has now sent some samples to Canada and the US in order to speed up testing. The total number of malaria cases may exceed the 61 confirmed cases.

Updated FCO travel advice recommends travellers to Jamaica to seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Jamaica before travelling, to take precautions to avoid being bitten while there, and to promptly seek medical care in the event of developing a fever or flu-like illness.


Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the resources made available by the Indian Government on the number of fatalities arising from the earthquake in Kashmir. [107906]

Mr. Thomas: The earthquake in Indian Administered Kashmir affected up to one million people. 4,500 people were injured and 1,370 died. The Indian army was closely involved in the immediate relief effort and deployed helicopters to lift people, equipment and supplies. There was no suggestion that there was a shortage of helicopters. Indeed, the Indian
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authorities offered helicopters to the Government of Pakistan to cope with the far greater destruction in Pakistan Administered Kashmir, though, in the event, the Pakistan authorities decided they did not wish to take up the offer.


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of corruption and poor governance upon the effectiveness of British aid in Kenya. [105039]

Hilary Benn: DFID takes corruption very seriously. The Government of Kenya are clearly not tackling corruption as effectively as they could and we need to adopt a coordinated and common response across the donor community. The Government of Kenya have developed a governance strategy which Kenyans want to see implemented and leading to high level prosecutions based on sound evidence. We expect the same and will continually monitor progress.

Direct budget support is not appropriate for Kenya so we give our aid in other ways. Our aid has stringent safeguards and checks and is making a significant impact. For example, our support to the education sector is channelled through a separate account to help ensure that all the money goes towards the stated aims of an extra 12,000 classrooms, education materials for each of the 19,000 primary schools, etc. Much of our aid, especially in public financial management and political empowerment but also across all our programmes, aims and assists to shed light on the Government of Kenya's operations. We will continue to engage with other agencies, strengthening systems and institutions, building capacity and supporting reform. By doing so, over time, and as long as the Government take the lead, the opportunities for corruption will be removed, checks and balances built, and accountability strengthened.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the value for money of British aid programmes in Kenya. [105069]

Hilary Benn: In September DFID undertook a comprehensive and independent evaluation of its Kenya programme from 2000-06. This evaluation concluded that the programme has been in large part successful in delivering what it set out to achieve. It acknowledged that this is a good outcome in a difficult governance environment.

At an individual project level, DFID requires that all projects over £1 million are subject to annual and completion reviews. Over two-thirds of these reviews over 2000-06 concluded that the aims of the projects are likely to be completely, largely, or partly achieved. That proportion improves for reviews at project completion and for the higher spend projects.

Furthermore, each major project design is subject to a fiduciary risk assessment—an evaluation of likely financial risk, particularly associated with corruption and diversion of resources. This assessment guides mitigation measures such as parallel accounts, as in the education sector, or separate financial management agents, as in the health or lands sector.

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Palestinian Territories

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of the Temporary International Mechanism on the socio-economic conditions of the people of Gaza and the West Bank. [106291]

Hilary Benn: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Bank maintain an up to date assessment of the socio-economic conditions of the people in Gaza and the West Bank. The Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) has directly provided fuel to the Gaza electricity company, hospitals and water installations to maintain basic services following the destruction of the Gaza power plant in June this year. The TIM has also been used to pay for allowances for teachers and medical workers, thereby helping President Abbas negotiate an end to the public sector strike in those sectors. In March, at the start of the economic crisis, the World Bank predicted a 27 per cent. decline in real GDP by the end of the year. Due to the increase in aid flows, including the support provided by the TIM, they have now adjusted that to8 to 9 per cent. decline.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in the restoration of the electricity supply in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [105427]

Hilary Benn: In the Gaza Strip, electricity supply is back to normal. All seven of the power plant's generators, which were destroyed in June by the Israel Defence Forces, were replaced in November. The power plant is now working at full capacity.

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