Previous Section Index Home Page

8 May 2007 : Column 5W—continued

8 May 2007 : Column 6W

Water Charges

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2007, to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman), Official Report, column 894W, on water meters, what the direct and indirect cost will be of providing water meters in the programme outlined. [135953]

Mr. Hain: This matter is now the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Administration.

House of Commons Commission

Palace of Westminster: Visits

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the causes are of the delay in completing the works relating to the new public entrance; when works were originally planned to be completed; when completion is expected; and if he will make a statement. [135784]

Nick Harvey: There have been a number of significant problems with this project which have contributed to the delay. They are being investigated and contractual discussions between the parties to the project are in progress. In these circumstances, it is not possible to go into the matter in further detail at this stage. The works were originally planned to be completed on 8 September 2006 and we are now advised by the main contractors, Verry, that the works will be completed in June 2007.

International Development

Africa: Forestry

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to promote sustainable forestry in Africa. [135661]

Hilary Benn: DFID is promoting sustainable forestry in Africa, with a commitment of over £70 million.

Some £50 million was recently committed to initiate a Congo Basin Forest Trust Fund. Some £11.5 million is being provided by DFID over the next three years to Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DFID has also committed £12 million over the next four years to support African countries under the European Union's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. Ghana,
8 May 2007 : Column 7W
with DFID assistance, is in formal FLEGT negotiations with the EU, the first country in Africa to do so.

DFID works closely with the private sector and NGOs. For example, a "Tree Aid" initiative in Burkina Faso will soon be supported by the DFID Civil Society Challenge Fund. DFID is supporting NGOs in Uganda to monitor forest sector governance. NGOs are also participating in the DFID-funded 'Democratic Republic of Congo Roundtable', together with the World Bank. This is generating alternatives to industrial logging, including new forest management and financing systems. DFID funds an NGO piloting participatory forest mapping and zoning work in DRC which will help inform the design of alternatives.

DFID also supports the Rights and Resource Initiative, an international consortium including NGOs, which facilitates pro-poor forest policy, tenure and market reforms in Africa.

Africa: Water

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department is sponsoring to increase access to clean water and sanitation in Africa. [135660]

Hilary Benn: DFID is on track to double its commitment to water and sanitation in Africa, where the Millennium Development Goal target on water and sanitation is most off-track, to £95 million a year by 2007-08. We will then more than double funding again to £200 million a year by 2010-11.

DFID works at various levels. DFID helps African governments to implement their own plans to increase access to clean water and sanitation, and provides direct financing to projects and technical know-how. Examples include our partnership with UNICEF in Nigeria, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. In Ghana DFID delivers increased access to water and sanitation through support to German, Danish and Dutch Governments' programmes. DFID also provides indirect support to increased water and sanitation through projects such as the Girls Education Programme in Nigeria. DFID is currently developing a £100 million programme of support to water and sanitation in Ethiopia and a £35 million programme in Sierra Leone.

DFID supports African organisations to be more effective. DFID is providing £6 million of technical assistance to support implementation of the African Development Bank's ambitious Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative.

DFID takes action at the international level. DFID's "Call for Global Action" on water and sanitation, with one annual report, one high level global meeting, one national plan, one coordination group and one UN lead body will ultimately lead to more effective and efficient delivery of water and sanitation projects.

Further details of DFID's support for access to water and sanitation can be found in the report "Financial Support to the Water Sector 2004-06", and in the brochure "Meeting our Promises" and the "Fighting Poverty and Managing Water Goes Hand in Hand" leaflet. Copies of these have been placed in the Library of the House.

8 May 2007 : Column 8W

Departments: India

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which Ministers in his Department have visited India in the last 12 months; on how many occasions each Minister visited India; and what the length was of each visit. [135549]

Mr. Thomas: I visited India in January 2007 for two days.

The Government publish an annual list of Cabinet Ministers’ travel overseas costing over £500 along with the total cost of all ministerial travel. Information for 2005-06 was published on 24 July 2006 and is available in the Library of the House. Information for 2006-07 will be published as soon as it is ready.

All travel is in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers.

Departments: Sexual Harassment

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many complaints of sexual harassment have been investigated in his Department in the last 12 months; and how many complaints have been upheld. [135375]

Mr. Thomas: DFID's grievance procedures are fully compliant with UK legislation and apply to civil servants working in the UK and overseas. We also apply them to our locally appointed staff overseas, who work under local contacts, unless local law dictates otherwise.

DFID investigated less than five complaints of sexual harassment in the last 12 months. Due to the small number, a breakdown by number, employment status and outcome is not made public on the grounds of confidentiality.

Departments: Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people took sick leave for stress in his Department in the last 12 months; and what percentage of the total staff number this represents. [135469]

Mr. Thomas: DFID takes the issue of stress, whether work related or not, very seriously. Data from our Welfare and Counselling Service and sickness absence monitoring show that we have had 25 stress related cases in DFID in the last 12 months, 21 of which involved sick leave. This figure represents 1.41 per cent. of our total UK headcount.

In accordance with Cabinet Office guidance and Health and Safety Executive Management Standards, DFID has carried out a risk assessment for stress and has put in place a series of measures to assist individuals and line managers in dealing with, and where possible avoiding stress. Such measures include:

8 May 2007 : Column 9W

Developing Countries: Road Safety

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department is conducting research into road safety in low-income and middle-income countries. [135681]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has a long history of working with the UK Transport Research Laboratory on issues relating to global road safety. Early research helped bring the magnitude of the problem to the attention of policy makers. DFID supported research included the publication of the widely used ‘Towards safer roads in developing countries’. This work continues through DFID research department funding of the global Transport Knowledge Partnership to conduct new research and disseminate best practices.

DFID also funds transport and road safety research at the World Bank through the Trisp programme—Transport and Rural Infrastructure Services Learning and Sharing Partnership, which has included work on road safety.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of road safety in the developing world; and if he will make a statement. [135697]

Mr. Thomas: DFID provides core funds to the World Health Organisation, which holds the international responsibility for health data generally and also coordinates the UN response on road safety. The recent publication from the WHO “Youth and Road Safety” noted that road traffic injuries are the number one cause of death for young people between 10 and 24.

DFID draws on the “World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention”, released in 2004 by the WHO and the World Bank, as the most influential, and still current, assessment of global road safety. The UK Department for Transport helped fund this publication. This highlights the serious development challenge presented by road accidents. The headline conclusion from this report was that annually 1.2 million people die on the world’s roads and 90 per cent. of these are in low and middle income countries.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to implement UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/60/5: Improving Global Road Safety in its work overseas. [135700]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has taken various steps in line with recommendations contained within UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/60/5. We support the UN collaboration on road safety, most recently through jointly funding the February 2007 African Road Safety Conference.

8 May 2007 : Column 10W

DFID is pleased that road safety will be debated at the forthcoming World Health Assembly, and will brief the UK delegation to that assembly accordingly.

DFID also supports the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa. The thematic focus for the consortium for 2007 is the transport sector, and at the consortium meetings in Arusha in October 2007 there will be an opportunity to discuss incorporating approaches to road safety in the context of regional road financing in Africa.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has for his Department to contribute to the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility. [135743]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has not yet made a commitment to contribute to the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility. In April 2007 we received the final version of the Global Road Safety Facility’s strategic plan. DFID is holding discussions on transport research priorities in August 2007 which could include road safety and the option of supporting the facility.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of his Department’s budget for road building projects overseas was spent on road safety schemes in each year between 2001 and 2006; and if he will make a statement. [135679]

Mr. Thomas: DFID contributed the following funds to specific road safety initiatives in the last five years.

DFID bilateral expenditure on Road Safety, 2001 to 2006
Road Safety expenditure Road Safety expenditure as percentage of transport sector expenditure
















These contributions have all been to global and regional initiatives specifically on road safety, and do not reflect any contributions under transport in country programmes. The specific instruments DFID supports, such as the Global Road Safety Partnership and the sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Programme, seek to provide knowledge on road safety to ministries and agencies in partner countries. Some share of transport sector bilateral expenditure will be allocated to road safety, however this is not coded separately for financial reporting.

Additionally, DFID was pleased to provide financial support to the recent Africa Road Safety Conference where ministers of transport and health from across Africa agreed to halve the rate of road traffic accidents by 2015.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what guidelines exist for including road safety schemes in road building projects undertaken overseas by his Department. [135680]

8 May 2007 : Column 11W

Mr. Thomas: DFID places importance on assisting developing countries and donors collectively, to pay due attention to road safety and promoting best practice, by stressing integration of road safety into countries’ own transport policies and planning, including guidelines for road building. To support this, DFID funds catalytic initiatives such as the Global Transport Knowledge Partnership, the Global Road Safety Partnership, and the Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy programme which advises countries on transport policy including road safety guidelines.

The DFID collaborative programme with the World Bank includes promoting transport and social responsibility, including road safety, in the World Bank’s transport portfolio. This has been very successful with good recognition of the importance of road safety in a recent World Bank's transport sector review, and attention to road safety in the new World Bank transport sector plan: “Safe, Clean and Affordable Transport”.

Next Section Index Home Page