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14 Jun 2007 : Column 1245W—continued

Young Offenders

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of (a) street crime, (b) burglaries, (c) car thefts and (d) criminal damage was carried out in each police authority area by 10 to 16-year-olds in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [142154]

Mr. Coaker: The information requested is not collected centrally. It is not possible to determine the age of the alleged offender from the recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office.

International Development

Africa: Climate Change

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which projects have been funded by the Investment Climate Facility for Africa; and if he will make a statement. [142535]

Hilary Benn: The UK accords high priority to investment climate reform in Africa. An improved
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investment climate will stimulate increased private sector investment and higher rates of sustainable growth, enhancing job creation and enabling Africa to lift itself out of poverty. This is why DFID, along with several other donors and companies with a long-term interest in Africa, supports the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF). The G8 recently reaffirmed their continuing support for the ICF at their Summit meeting in Heiligendamm.

The ICF is an independent pan-African trust that brings together African governments and institutions, the private sector and donor agencies to work collectively to improve the investment climate in Africa.

The ICF’s first major project, the Rwanda Investment Climate Project, was launched on 28 May 2007, encompassing commercial dispute resolution and business and land registration. It is a three-year project in partnership with the Rwanda Government. The ICF is contributing about $9 million to the project.

The ICF is also financing work on customs reform in East Africa in partnership with Business Action for Improved Customs Administration in Africa, as well as a project to speed up the payment of VAT refunds in Southern Africa. ICF expects to announce the approval of other projects under development in the coming months.

Departments: Dismissal

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on how many occasions since 1st January 2000 his Department has summarily dismissed a member of its staff earning more than £40,000 per annum and serving overseas without there being any allegation either of misconduct or gross misconduct and without any written warning being given to the employee prior to dismissal. [141853]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has dismissed three employees since 1 January 2000 who fall within the criteria set out in the question. They were all dismissed following legal advice and in line with the terms of their contracts.

Departments: Official Cars

Mr. Simon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what make and model of car (a) he and (b) each Minister in his Department selected as their official ministerial car; and what criteria were used when making the decision in each case. [141987]

Hilary Benn: The Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) is responsible for providing ministerial cars in line with the Ministerial Code and the Prime Minister’s guidance Travel by Ministers’.

GCDA advises the Prime Minister on the suitability of cars for inclusion in his guidance, taking into account a number of criteria when assessing suitable cars including their environmental impact, running and maintenance costs and overall suitability as a ministerial car.

Ministers in the Department for International Development are provided with two Toyota Prius cars.

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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what visits he has made involving a mix of political and official engagements where Government car service vehicles were used in 2007; and whether the Government were reimbursed a proportion of the cost in each case. [142660]

Hilary Benn: All travel is undertaken in accordance with ‘Travel by Ministers’ and the ‘Ministerial Code’, copies of which are available in the House Library.

Developing Countries: Climate Change

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to address the negative effects of climate change on low income countries. [140627]

Mr. Thomas: The UK is trying to limit the negative effects of climate change on low income countries by leading the call internationally for a global framework with ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The UK is leading by example in this, with a commitment to reduce emissions by 60 per cent. by 2050.

The UK is also at the forefront of supporting poor countries adapt. DFID’s rapidly rising aid budget means we can spend more money than ever to lift people out of poverty which makes them less vulnerable to climate change. But there is still much more that needs to be done. The UK has pledged at least £75 million to support adaptation directly. For example, at the grass roots level we are investing in schemes such as safer flood resistant housing for thousands of people in Bangladesh. We are also contributing £5 million over five years to improving Africa's ability to get and use information on what future climate trends will be, so that countries can plan better for this. In the last budget the Chancellor announced a new £800 million Environmental Transformation Fund, which will include support for adaptation in developing countries.

Developing Countries: Politics and Government

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which projects have been funded by the Governance and Transparency Fund; and if he will make a statement. [142534]

Mr. Thomas: The 2006 White Paper on International Development announced a new fund to support better governance and transparency in poor countries through working with civil society. Following a public consultation, the Secretary of State launched the five year £100 million Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) in February 2007.

Applications are to be assessed through a fair and rigorous competitive process, with a commitment to begin spending before the end of this calendar year. We are on track to achieve that, anticipating all decisions on funding to be made in the autumn.

It is therefore too early for any projects to have been funded under the GTF. Once decisions have been taken, we will post details of all proposals supported on the DFID website.

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HIV Infection: Medical Treatments

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what total Government funding for research into the development of anti-retroviral HIV/AIDS medication for use in developing countries was in the latest period for which figures are available; and to which bodies this funding was provided. [141111]

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government are not funding any research into the development of new oral anti-retroviral medication but is funding research into the development of microbicides (vaginal medication) against HIV and AIDS. The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) has received £8.7 million between 2002-08 and the Microbicide Development Programme (MDP), a joint programme between the UK Medical Research Council and Imperial College London, has received £39.8 million between 2001-09.

The UK Government are providing £5.6 million for two clinical trials that are developing simplified treatment protocols to use existing oral anti-retroviral therapy in Africa. Both trials are coordinated by the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit—DART (ART for adults 2002-07) and ARROW (ART for children 2006-11).

International Assistance

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his assessment is of the outcomes of the G8 meeting in respect of international development. [142298]

Hilary Benn: On climate change, the G8 summit made significant progress towards a new global agreement, which is very important for developing countries.

The summit also reaffirmed the Gleneagles commitments on development assistance, and set out how the fight against AIDS will be taken forward, with additional funding and help for vulnerable mothers and children. There has also been considerable progress on debt cancellation.

Overseas Aid

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the timescale is for conducting country governance analysis for all recipients of UK development assistance; and if he will make a statement. [142536]

Mr. Thomas: DFID introduced a new governance assessment tool, the Country Governance Analysis (CGA), in February 2007. It will help ensure that our aid strategy and programming better reflect governance context and trends. The CGA is mandatory for all countries where DFID is preparing 3-5 year Country Assistance Plans. Between 17 and 21 countries are likely to prepare CGAs in 2007. The rest will be done in 2008-09. To date, none have reached the final approval stage but several are near to finalisation, including Sierra Leone, Malawi, Mozambique and Ghana. CGAs are undertaken with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Sierra Leone: Health Services

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department has provided to health systems in Sierra Leone in each of the last five years. [142760]

Hilary Benn: Since April 2002 the Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £5,284,945 to support health systems in Sierra Leone through direct projects.

Please see following table for a breakdown for each financial year.












Some of the projects we have funded include:

DFID also supports health systems in Sierra Leone through Direct Budget Support to the Government. Of the £59.5 million that has been provided through Budget Support over the last five years, approximately 11 per cent. or £6 million has been spent on the health sector.

In addition, in 2006 DFID provided $30 million through the Africa Catalytic Fund to fund the World Bank’s accelerated Child Survival Programme in Sierra Leone. This is in its early stages of implementation. DFID is also working with the Government of Sierra Leone to prepare a 10 year programme aimed at strengthening the Health System to increase access to quality sexual, reproductive and child health services. It is expected this programme working closely with the World Bank will begin in 2008 and DFID will contribute £50 million over 10 years.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will take steps to encourage the provision of healthcare free at the point of access in Sierra Leone. [142761]

Hilary Benn: The 2006 Department for International Development (DFID) White Paper commits the UK to “help partner Governments abolish user fees for basic health services”. DFID is fully committed to supporting the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure that this is achieved.

DFID’s position is shared by our partner agencies working in Sierra Leone, including WHO, European Commission, World Bank, United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Food Programme and International NGOs. Recent Health
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Development Partners meetings in country have established a common position: we would like to see user fees abolished and want to help the government to reach that position for themselves, including helping them to understand how to fund the cost of health services.

The first step towards abolishing user fees is to establish the cost of providing basic health services and how to make this cost sustainable when user fees are removed. Currently fees collected by the government go towards funding the provision of services.

DFID is therefore funding preparation of National Health Accounts through World Health Organisation (WHO) to help establish how much money is currently being spent on health services in Sierra Leone from all sources (donor, International non-government organisations, private sector etc.). In addition DFID, along with other Health Development Partners, is planning to finance a study on options for pro-poor health financing. Once DFID has this Options paper it will be able to discuss with government the best way forward.

Somalia: Overseas Aid

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to ensure that humanitarian relief funding to Somalia is reaching those who need it most. [141279]

Hilary Benn: In Somalia, DFID uses three principal mechanisms to ensure that humanitarian relief is reaching those who need it most. DFID is

DFID provides a major proportion of our humanitarian funds to the International Committee of the Red Cross in southern Somalia, as they are experts at assisting victims of conflict and have good on-the-ground access.

During the drought in Somalia last year, DFID's humanitarian adviser for east and central Africa visited south central Somalia in April. Following this assessment, DFID was able to provide further targeted assistance.

As part of our ongoing humanitarian programme, DFID has committed £900,000 to International Medical Corps (IMC). Part of this support provides targeted assistance to malnourished children in the Bakool and Hiran regions.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of UK financial support for the Somali Transitional Federal Government. [141518]

Hilary Benn: DFID provides financial support to the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) through a strategic partnership with the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) and a separate UNDP Somali Institutional Support project.
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Between July 2006 and December 2007, DFID has committed £5 million to the UNDP partnership to support the achievement of reconciliation, stability and improved governance, rule of law and assisting Somali Diaspora to return and use their skills in public service delivery. Activities are being carried out with the TFG and with the regional administrations in Somaliland and Puntland. DFID has also committed £2.5 million to the Somali Institutional Support Project (SISP) which focuses on supporting the key functions and actions to be performed by the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs).

Both the UNDP partnership and the SISP have provided technical and financial assistance to the Offices of the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker, Supreme Court and other institutions. In the absence of a fully trained civil service, this assistance is enabling the Transitional Federal Institutions to have some technical capacity to function and interact with key stakeholders including the Somali people. Achievements include helping re-establish the National Civil Service Commission and providing management and financial training to civil servants. The UNDP partnership agreement has also been effective in helping the re-establishment of the Somali police force in South Central Somalia, through the training of 1000 cadets and the construction of Armo Police Training Academy and Hargeisa Central prison.

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