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Mr. Thomas: DFID has provided two grants to the Staying Alive campaign, to support two conferences on finding the best ways to reach young people with messages about HIV prevention and AIDS awareness. DFID provided £18,292 in 2004 and £29,901.75 in 2005.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian consequences of the recent earthquakes in Sumatra; and what aid the UK is sending to (a) Sumatra and (b) Banda Aceh. 
Mr. Thomas: The earth tremors in that region on 7 December 2006 caused seven deaths, injured about 150 people and damaged or destroyed around 680 houses. Though serious, this scale of impact is well within the competence of the Indonesian authorities to deal with and they have not requested outside assistance.
Hilary Benn: The most recent reliable unemployment data available for Iraq comes from the Iraq Living Conditions Survey carried out in 2004 by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation/United Nations Development Programme. There is no other more recent comparable survey. The 2004 survey found that the core unemployment rate in Iraq was just over 10 per cent. (using the International Labour Organisation definition i.e. looking for but unable to find employment). In 2004, Iraq had a working age population of 16.4 million, but only 6.7 million (41 per cent.) were working or actively seeking work. 6 million of these were employed, leaving 700,000 (around 10 per cent.) unemployed. Unemployment was highest in Baghdad at 13.5 per cent., then the South at 10.8 per cent.; then 9.1 per cent. in the North and the lowest in the centre at 8.2 per cent. The survey also notes that workforce participation is higher in rural areas than urban areas.
Available data show that Iraq has always had a very low workforce participation rate, in line with other countries in the region. This can be attributed to low participation rates among women (common to other countries in the region) and young men. Young men constitute 15 per cent. of the economically inactive (i.e. above 15-years-old but not seeking employment). The majority of young economically inactive men (68 per cent.) claim they are studying and thus not available to work. 20 per cent. claim that there are no jobs available and have therefore given up looking for work.
Ongoing violence in Iraq makes job creation difficult, and in particular discourages private investment which could boost employment. DFID is working with the Iraqi Government to ensure that when the security situation improves, the economy is stable and in a position to grow and to generate new jobs.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many information technology projects within the responsibility of his Department, its agencies and their predecessors have been cancelled since 1997; what the total cost was of each project at cancellation; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received on the diversion of Kashmir earthquake relief funds to support armed Jihadi groups; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID support for post-earthquake relief in Pakistan has been provided to UN agencies, the Red Crescent and reputable local and international NGOs, following assessments undertaken on the ground by DFID staff. Some of the support was provided in kindfor example, to transport relief items donated to charities by the British public, or for emergency shelter items like winterised tents, blankets and other non-food items from our stores.
The Government of Pakistan has, with UN assistance, established a database to help track official assistance provided by DFID and other donor countries supporting Pakistan's efforts to recover from this tragedy.
Hilary Benn: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells) on11 December 2006, Official Report, column 773W.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the impact of investigations into the local housing budget locally on budgetary aid to the Government of Montserrat. 
Mr. Thomas: A review took place in 2004 of the DFID-funded Self-Build Materials Grant project, designed to help people to construct their own houses in Montserrat in the aftermath of the volcano crisis. The review concluded that, whilst the project appeared to have benefited those people who received support, it was poorly managed locally and inadequately monitored by DFID.
DFID and the Government of Montserrat (GoM) agreed an action plan in early 2005, comprising a series of measures to avoid similar problems arising in future projects. An internal DFID review in early 2006 concluded that satisfactory progress was being made against the plan.
The investigations into the Materials Grant project have had no direct impact on the provision of budgetary aid to Montserrat. We are however helping to strengthen financial management systems across GoM. DFID reviewed development assistance for housing projects on the island at the end of 2005, and agreed to provide £1.9 million (EC$9 million) over a three year period to support the provision of housing for the mentally challenged, other vulnerable groups and low-income households at the Lookout housing estate, with the appointment of a housing adviser to help GoM to implement its new housing strategy.
Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (21 November 2006) by the Seven Party Alliance and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) and subsequent Agreement on the Monitoring of Arms and Armies (28 November 2006), the combatants of the Maoist Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) are moving to 28 military camps (or cantonments) around Nepal. The Agreements state that here they would be registered by the UN and have their weapons locked up and monitored by the UN. After the holding of Constituent Assembly elections, scheduled for June 2007, these combatants would
either be integrated into the Nepal Army or helped reintegrate back into civilian life.
The Maoists have already moved several thousand of their combatants to the sites of these proposed camps. Given that infrastructure has not yet been set up, the conditions at these sites are extremely basic. As an interim measure, the GON has provided funds directly to the Maoists to enable them to purchase food and basic plastic sheeting shelter for their combatants. Due to Maoist sensitivities and the desire of GON to lead this process, donor projects cannot go to sites and make unilateral assessments.
However, given the importance of the success of the cantonments of PLA to the peace process, several donors, including DFID have offered the services of their rural infrastructure programmes located in the districts where camps are to be constructed to assist with setting up the camps. Assessments of need are being undertaken now, and the first proposals for providing immediate support are being developed.
DFID is working with the Government of Nepal to come up with appropriate and affordable solutions for establishment and management of the camps. Given the sensitivities of the parties involved, achieving consensus on the way forward is slow, but progress is being made.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what initiatives (a) promoting and (b) distributing open-source software in developing countries his Department is engaged in. 
(a) a toolkit to help governments navigate open-source software policy in Africa. This is available at www.catia.ws
(b) a free, open-source software which will allow any website to run over the slowest connection speeds. It allows fast, cheap access to information for those with limited connectivity to the internet. Further information is available at www.loband.org
Issue 31 of DFIDs Developments magazine focused on the role that wireless technology and open source software can play in International Development. Back issues are available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the 20 largest procurement projects initiated by his Department since May 1997 were; what the (a) original budget, (b) cost to date and (c) consultancy fees were; and what the final cost was of each project which has been completed. 
The 20 largest projects initiated by DFID since 1997 and delivered using external expertise are given in the following table. The majority of these form part of our development programme and include
the provision of services to recipient governments. For this type of project our contracts may increase if DFID
extends its programme of support or if new recipient requirements emerge during implementation.
|Project title||Country||Original budget (£)||Cost (payments made to date) (£)||Fees element of payments to date( 1) (£)||Final cost (£)|
|(1) Fees are one element of contract cost. The balance is a range of reimbursed expenses and management costs|
(2) Not yet completed
(3) No invoices received yet
(4) Costs were all related to implementation of the project and were all designated as operational costs
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