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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the environment of (a) incinerating waste and (b) disposing of waste through landfill; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: An independent review, peer-reviewed by the Royal Society, on the Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management, was published by DEFRA in 2004. The review concluded that, based on the evidence from studies so far, the treatment of municipal solid wasteincluding by incineration and landfillhas, at most, a minor impact on human health and the environment. DEFRA has also published a study, Impact of Energy from Waste and Recycling Policy on UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which is available on the DEFRA website.
Eleven per cent. of waste is currently incinerated in England, but an increase is likely to be needed to be able to meet Landfill Directive targets, despite big improvements in waste recycling and minimisation. Recovering energy from waste (including via incineration) offers a considerable climate change benefit compared to the alternative of landfill. This is primarily through avoided landfill methane emissions, with energy generated from the biodegradable fraction of waste also offsetting fossil fuel power generation.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on levels of nitrates in water; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 13 December 2007]: My Department worked closely with the Environment Agency (EA) during the recent review of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in England. The EA regularly monitors nitrate concentrations in waters and this monitoring data played a fundamental role in informing the recent review.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the incidence of silting in rivers and waterways in connection with nitrates found in those waterways; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress has been made in (a) finalising and (b) publishing his Departments strategy for wild boar management. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 13 December 2007]: My Department has made significant progress in developing the strategy and is currently considering aspects of its delivery. We intend to publish it in the new year as soon as these aspects are resolved.
Mr. Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress there has been on the economic partnership agreement negotiations; and what progress he expects before the 1 January 2008 deadline. 
Mr. Thomas: As of 11 December, 17 countries have signed an interim goods agreement with the Commission. These are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, the Comoros, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
Commissioner Mandelson reported to the European Union General Affairs and External Relations Council on 10 December that there is a good possibility that Ghana, Namibia, Cameroon, Gabon and the Caribbean will also sign goods agreements before 1 January.
Thirty-two other Least Developed Countries in Africa and the Pacific are not expected to sign a goods agreement or economic partnership agreement before 1 January but will continue to have duty and quota-free access to the European Union after 1 January under the 2001 Everything But Arms initiative.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of UK aid to Afghanistan was allocated to security assistance in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Assistance to the Afghan security sector in financial year 2006-07, including the police was £17.5 million. This represented approximately 10 per cent. of UK aid spend in Afghanistan. This financial year (2007-08) £27.1 million has been committed representing approximately 16 per cent. of total UK aid to Afghanistan.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) whether his
Department's work in Afghanistan is primarily intended to support the development work undertaken by the Government of Afghanistan; 
Mr. Thomas: DFID's programme is primarily intended to support the development work led by the Government of Afghanistan. The best way to do this is by supporting Afghans themselveswhich is why over 80 per cent. of our aid goes directly to the Government of Afghanistan. This is helping to build the legitimacy and capacity of the Government of Afghanistan to manage their own finances and economy. DFID's programme focuses on: building effective state institutions and better governance; improving economic management; and improving livelihoods.
As a result of this support, Afghanistan has seen real progress since 2001, with life improving for many Afghans. Around 5.4 million children are now in school, over a third of them girls. This is up from an estimated 1 million children in school in 2001, of whom very few were girls and who were officially denied access to education under the Taliban. Afghan domestic revenues grew by over 300 per cent. between fiscal years 2002-03 and 2006-07 and over £166 million worth of small loans have been given to over 404,000 families, shopkeepers, tailors, farmers, builders and others to invest in legal businesses and increase their savings. DFID also provides support to the Afghan Government's National Solidarity Programme (NSP), which is helping over 18,000 community development councils identify development priorities, and has approved over 32,000 projects in villages across Afghanistanincluding building health clinics and schools, and improving water supplies and electricity generation.
All elements of the DFID programme take account of and support the counter-insurgency role of UK armed forces in Helmand province, as well as other aspects of the UKs Comprehensive Approach in Afghanistan. DFID provides a development adviser to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand. Last year DFID provided £4 million of the total £6.2 million UK funding for Quick Impact Projects (QIPs), and this year will provide £6 million of the total £9 million of UK funding. By July 2007, over 180 QIPS were planned, on-going or complete, including training programmes for drug addicts, equipment and training for the Afghan police, improvements to the prison in Lashkar Gah, and construction of parks and childrens playgrounds. DFID also works with the Government to improve service delivery in Helmand. In 2007-08 DFID provided £10 million of funding to help the Government of Afghanistan improve sanitation, build and maintain roads, and provide credit to support legal businesses, and we plan to provide the same amount next year.
Mr. Malik: DFID bilateral aid to Afghanistan totalled £98.8 million in 2006-07. Of this, £1.6 million was delivered as humanitarian assistance. Figures for 2007-08 will be available in June 2008. Data are not available on a December to November basis.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFID provides its main support to physical reconstruction projects in Afghanistan through three Government of Afghanistan programmes: the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), which funds community-level projects chosen by these communities; the National Rural Access Programme (NRAP), which builds and rehabilitates rural roads and bridges; and the Helmand Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (HARDP), which funds a wide range of development activity in Helmand province, including wells.
As of 21 November, NSP had completed 15,111 projects in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, an increase of 552 projects on the previous month. It had also rehabilitated 9,333 km of road and 101 bridges across the country, with a further 544 km of road and 16 bridges under construction. Meanwhile, under HARDP, 740 wells have been completed since the start of 2007, with 270 under construction. A further 1,000 wells and 6,030 latrines are planned for 2008. The Government also supports physical reconstruction projects in Helmand through its programme of Quick Impact Projects (QIPs). Over 230 QIPs have been implemented by the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Helmand since July 2006, including 100 in 2007-08.
Since March 2003, DFID has committed over £100 million to infrastructure regeneration projects in Iraq. This has helped to create employment for several thousand Iraqis in repairing some of southern Iraqs key infrastructure. We have added or secured 415 MW of electricity to the Iraqi national grid, and will be adding or securing a further 60 MW over the next few months. This will be enough to provide 24 hours of power for around 1 million people. By early 2008 DFID will have improved access to water for 1 million people.
Our work with Basra Provincial Council (BPC) has helped it to deliver a Provincial Development Strategy (the first ever in Iraq), and establish increasingly transparent economic governance. The BPC was consequently able to access $195 million of central Government funds in 2007, after receiving nothing in 2005. We are also working with the Iraqi Government and the BPC to take forward a series of economic initiatives supported by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. They include a Basra Investment Promotion Agency (BIPA) and an overarching Basra Development Commission (BDC), to be supported with advice from international business leaders, including from the UK.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effect the (a) Basra Investment Promotion Agency and (b) Basra Development Fund will have on promoting private investment and reconstruction in southern Iraq; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Basra Investment Promotion Agency (BIPA) is being established to promote Basra as an investment destination and will advise on policies to improve the investment climate. The Basra Development Fund (BDF) will address the weakness of the banking system and lack of access to credit for businesses. It will focus on providing small and medium sized businesses with access to credit. The fund will be capitalised with US$ 30 million from the government of Iraq. Both institutions are expected to be running by March 2008.
In addition, we are helping central and provincial authorities to establish a Basra Development Commission (BDC). The BDC will provide advice on private sector development in Basra and will involve top UK, Iraqi and middle eastern business people.
DFID-funded consultants in the UK-led provincial reconstruction team in Basra are working closely with the authorities in Basra and Baghdad to establish these institutions, and UK funding will cover the initial set-up costs for all three. In total, the start-up costs of all three are estimated at around £1 million for this financial year. The government of Iraq has undertaken to provide funding for ongoing costs from 2008.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 915W, on Iraq: reconstruction, (1) for what reasons the Government maintain that increased attention must be given to monitoring of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq; and what shortcomings have been identified; 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The United Nations conducts its own internal monitoring systems as standard practice. These tend to focus more on factual outputs, such as number of schools refurbished or text books distributed. Furthermore, each project is assessed based on its own merit. This Multi-donor Stocktaking Review will assess the impact and sustainability of projects funded by IRFFI rather than focusing on the outputs; it will also assess IRFFI funded programmes relative to programmes funded by bilateral donors.
The stocktaking review will be led by a review steering committee (RSC), which is made up of four partiesCanada, the Commission, Japan and the UK. They are appointing an international consultancy firm to conduct the review. This tendering process is close to completion and, when it is, the successful bidder will be announced by UNOPS, the administrating agent.
The stocktaking review will take a comprehensive look at the impact of IRFFIs projects in Iraq as a whole. It aims to provide an independent, results-based assessment of the appropriateness, efficiency and
effectiveness of IRFFI-supported programmes. The review will be important for both the accountability of the Iraqi authorities to the Iraqi people, as well as donor agencies to their taxpayers. The review is expected to be completed in the second half of 2008.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures are in place to ensure the monitoring of UK-funded reconstruction projects in Basra in light of planned reductions in UK troop numbers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFIDs reconstruction projects in Basra do not rely on military support for monitoring purposes. Projects are implemented by private contractors and supervised by Iraqi engineers employed by DFIDs international contractors who are based in the military base at Basra airport. Planned reductions in troop numbers will not affect this arrangement.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to co-operate with African Parliaments in countries where the UK has a substantial aid programme. 
Mr. Thomas: In Africa, countries in which DFID is assisting, or has recently assisted, Parliaments include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. Additionally, programmes to improve public financial management can involve work with parliamentary public accounts committees, as in the case of Zambia.
DFID has committed support to the Pan-African Parliament and has also been funding a project to establish additional African chapters of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank. This network mobilises parliamentarians in the fight against poverty, promotes transparency and accountability in international development and offers a platform for dialogue between the World Bank and parliamentarians.
In order to improve understanding of the issues, we are helping to fund the African Legislatures Project, a three-year comparative research project on the legislatures of 18 sub-Saharan African countries.
Other steps planned or in progress to improve the effectiveness of efforts to strengthen Parliaments include commissioning case studies on the relative strengths of different approaches to parliamentary strengthening; supporting the establishment of a contact group to harness UK-based enthusiasm for strengthening developing country Parliaments; and supporting the establishment of a donor consultative group on parliamentary strengthening.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many miles he and other Ministers in his Department travelled on short
haul flights in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result of these flights; 
(2) how many air miles were travelled by Ministers in his Department in each year since 2000; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Since 1999 the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the current financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the financial year. From next year, the list will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
All central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.
In addition, offsetting the flights of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and the Prime Minister has been backdated to 1 April 2005.
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