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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 17 May 2007

International Development

Africa: Life Expectancy

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to increase life expectancy at birth in Africa. [137468]

Hilary Benn: DFID is working to increase life expectancy through a variety of activities including support for the provision of clean water and sanitation, large-scale immunisation and insecticide-treated bednets programmes and addressing related maternal mortality. Safe hygiene practice and improved access to clean water and sanitation are also vital for reducing child mortality. DFID produced the Water Action Plan in March 2004, and we will double our spending on water and sanitation to £95 million by 2007-08.

In Nigeria we are providing £20 million to rebuild routine immunisation services and a further £80 million for malaria control. In Tanzania we continue to provide support for the social marketing of bednets as part of the national Insecticide Treated Net Programme, and in Sierra Leone we are designing a new long term Child Survival and Maternal Health Programme with the World Bank and national partners. In Malawi we are contributing £100 million over six years to the government's essential health and human resource programme, and significant progress has been made on child survival through immunisation and malaria programmes. Similarly in Zambia we are major donors to the National Strategic Health Plan, which includes a focus on improving child health through expanded vaccination, curative care and improving access to services. In Kenya we are supporting a sector wide approach for the long term strengthening of the health system and improved service delivery. We have funded the development of a number of plans in human resources, procurement and financial management. We are also concentrating much support on the prevention of malaria, the major cause of mortality in children in Kenya. By the end of 2007 we will have spent more than £45 million on insecticide treated bednets and distributed 11 million nets, saving approximately 167,000 lives. DFID is indirectly supporting South Africa's efforts to reverse under-five mortality rates through the £30 million, five-year HIV/AIDS Multi-Sectoral Support Programme (MSP). Our support to the Maternal Child and Women Health Unit in the Department of Health supports research in the area of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), the development of fertility options policy, and research on barriers to antiretroviral uptake among children and pregnant women.

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DFID continues to provide strong support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM), and also played a central role in the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) which issued its first bonds in November 2006. This will disburse $4 billion over the next 10 years and is estimated will save 10 million lives, including five million children before 2015. DFID also recently pledged long term support to UNITAID, the International Drug Purchase Facility, starting with a £15 million contribution in 2007, to ensure poor countries benefit from lower prices for drugs to treat AIDS, TB and malaria.

Developing Countries: HIV Infection

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in making cheaper HIV/Aids drugs available to developing nations. [137465]

Mr. Thomas: There has been progress in driving down the prices of HIV/AIDS drugs in a number of ways. Competition between multiple producers is leading to significant falls in the prices of some first-line Antiretrovirals (ARVs). The work of UNITAID, trade measures, research and improved transparency around pricing in developing countries, are also combining to bring down prices and improve access.

DFID is supporting UNITAID, the international drug purchasing facility established in late 2006. UNITAID has already approved several significant expenditures, including $61.7 million for paediatric anti-retroviral therapy (ART), $70 million for second line ART and $52.5m for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. We hope that UNITAID will contribute to the necessary reductions in the prices of second-line drugs such as Viread and Kaletra.

UNITAID and the Clinton Foundation recently announced a major cut in the price of 16 ARV formulations which will be available to 66 developing countries. UNITAID has committed over $120 million in 2007 and 2008 to this programme, and the Clinton Foundation has negotiated price reductions on average between 25 per cent. and 50 per cent.

DFID and other Whitehall Departments have worked with the EU and World Trade Organisation (WTO) member states, to ensure that developing countries have the necessary flexibilities in the WTO Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement to safeguard their pressing public health needs. TRIPS now allows countries without manufacturing capacity to issue compulsory licences to import generic copies of patented medicines. The EU is taking steps to implement legislation transposing this agreement into European law. We have funded several programmes including pilot projects in Kenya and Botswana to help them implement legislation allowing them to use TRIPS flexibilities.

The UK is also involved with others in research, largely through public private partnerships including the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and recently launched an international Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) to focus on price, quality and availability of medicines across the supply chain in-country. MeTA builds on the existing efforts of
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developing country, donor, World Health Organisation, other multilateral and civil society partners to strengthen national procurement and supply systems, and to tackle corruption.

Middle East: Economic Situation

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to improve economic conditions in the Middle East. [137467]

Hilary Benn: DFID is helping to improve the economic conditions in the Middle East in a number of ways:

We are supporting the Iraqi Government in their economic reform efforts through a £13 million programme, providing technical advice on fiscal (including budget management and public financial management) and macroeconomic policy.

We are providing £15 million to the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The TIM and other international assistance has helped to slow economic decline. The World Bank has highlighted the restrictions on movement and access of Palestinians as the biggest economic constraint, and the UK Government have made our concerns clear to the Israeli Government on this.

As part of our Yemen programme of £12 million this year, we are investigating various ways in which we can support growth and jobs for poor people. We also focus on improving the efficiency of Government. We are supporting the Ministry of Finance to implement National Public Financial Management Reform. This includes support to budget development and management, procurement reform and auditing. Currently we have £1.1 million committed (2006-08) to this multi-donor Government programme, and are looking to expand over 2008-11 if opportunities to build on progress exist. At community level, the Social Fund for Development (SFD) is supporting small and micro enterprise development throughout the country to which DFID is providing approximately £800,000. DFID has over the past couple of years worked with the Government and other donors to harmonize donor assistance in Yemen in order to make it as effective as possible.

At regional level, DFID supports economic reform across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region through contributions to the EC European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) which will provide €5.6 billion (approximately £3.8 billion) for 17 MENA and eastern European countries from 2007-10. Approximately €1 billion (approximately £0.6 billion) of this will come from DFID’s budget. The ENPI is designed to promote good governance and equitable social and economic development.

DFID also directly supports the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and partnership (FEMIP) which has loaned €2 billion (approximately £1.4 billion) to MENA countries to help them meet the challenges of economic and social modernisation and improve regional integration. DFID has provided €3 million (approximately £2 million) in grants to a technical trust fund which helps to ensure the FEMIP lending is effective.

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Overseas Aid

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria his Department use to evaluate the impact of UK aid. [137466]

Mr. Thomas: All DFID evaluations, which are carried out independently, follow the standard international approach by reporting against the evaluation criteria of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), comprising relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability.

Further information can be found on the DFID website at:

and on the OECD-DAC website at:

Uganda: Armed Conflict

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Government of Uganda on talks with the Lord’s Resistance Army. [137569]

Hilary Benn: I last met with President Museveni on 20 November 2006. During this meeting we discussed northern Uganda and President Museveni updated me on the peace talks that are taking place in Juba between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army.

DFID and Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff hold regular discussions with the Government of Uganda on a range of issues that include the talks with the Lord’s Resistance Army. Most recently the British high commissioner to Uganda and the Head of the DFID Office in Uganda met with President Museveni on 10 May 2007. He reconfirmed his support for the Juba peace process. In all of our discussions with the Government of Uganda on northern Uganda we emphasise the importance of dialogue as essential to resolving the conflict. The UK has provided £250,000 to a UN fund set up to support the talks and we have made it clear that we will do more if necessary.

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of how many Acholi people (a) died, (b) were murdered and (c) were raped in each of the last five years. [137568]

Hilary Benn: Accurate data on the number of Acholi people who have been murdered are not available, although UN reports do suggest that incidents of violence in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) affecting parts of northern Uganda have fallen dramatically since peace talks between the LRA and the Government of Uganda began in July 2006.

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Accurate data on the number of Acholi people who have been raped are also not available. Many women and girls do not come forward and say that they have been raped because of the stigma involved, and the practical problems associated with reporting such incidents. However the risk of sexual and gender based violence is high. As part of our humanitarian assistance, DFID has provided approximately £2 million to UNICEF and Save the Children over the last two financial years for their programmes to protect women and children in the North. Communities have also stressed the importance of a police presence in tackling issues of sexual and gender based violence. In response we are providing £700,000 from the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool funds in support of a plan to strengthen civilian policing in the North.

DFID is working closely with the Government of Uganda and others to support the collection of accurate information in conflict-affected areas of northern Uganda, to fully understand the impact of the conflict, and to ensure that humanitarian assistance is targeted towards the greatest needs.

In July 2005 DFID supported a Uganda Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation led survey that measured crude mortality rates in northern Uganda. This found that the crude mortality rate in northern Uganda was 1.54 deaths per 10,000 people per day. A crude mortality rate of over 1.0 per 10,000 a day is considered an emergency. As a direct response we have provided over £37 million in humanitarian assistance over the last two years, including £9.6 million in support of a UN programme aimed at tackling some of the main causes of death, including malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory tract infection. There is strong anecdotal evidence that mortality has fallen but a repeat survey will be carried out before the end of the year to check that this is the case.

Leader of the House

Members: Correspondence

Susan Kramer: To ask the Leader of the House when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Richmond Park of 5 March 2007 on behalf of her constituent Mr GP Knight (reference PT/050307/KNIGHTGP). [136568]

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Mr. Straw: My office had no record of having received the hon. Member’s letter dated 5 March 2007 before it was brought to my attention. I have today replied to the letter. If such a situation arises in the future the hon. Member might want to phone my office in the first instance.

Northern Ireland

Departments: Official Hospitality,

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2007, Official Report, column 1440W, on Departments: official hospitality, if he will provide a breakdown by main categories of expenditure of the money spent on official hospitality by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister in 2006-07. [136272]

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

Home Information Packs

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to introduce home information packs in Northern Ireland. [136063]

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

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts: Finance

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much local authorities spent on (a) arts organisations and (b) other arts related activities in each year since 1997. [137498]

Mr. Lammy: The Government do not collect information on local authority spending on arts organisations and arts related activities specifically. The Communities and Local Government Revenue Outturn returns show the following information for England.

Arts development and support Theatre and public entertainment Arts development support theatres and public entertainment Arts activities and facilities Total




























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