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30 Jan 2008 : Column 497W—continued

30 Jan 2008 : Column 498W


11. Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department is undertaking with local government in Pakistan. [182981]

Mr. Malik: DFID support for local government in Pakistan focuses on service delivery, capacity building and governance. Specific assistance is being given to the provinces of Punjab and North West Frontier and the federally administered tribal areas. In addition, support is being provided for national programmes to improve local capacity and the use of district funds and to increase participation of citizens, especially women, in decision making processes. In total we have committed £84 million for these programmes.


13. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations he has received on the use of UK development funds in the poorest countries in Africa; and if he will make a statement. [182983]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development receives a wide variety of representations on the use of UK development funds in poor African countries, including from African Governments, regional institutions, the International Financial Institutions, other donors, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, and members of the public. Assisting the poorest African countries is a priority of this Government, as it is critical for achievement of the millennium development goals.

Overseas Aid

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) country assistance and (b) regional assistance plans his Department expects to (i) produce and (ii) renew in the next 18 months. [181741]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFID’s country and regional plans are produced every three to five years, unless significant changes in the external environment, such as a major political change, necessitate an earlier or later review. They are mandatory for programmes over £20 million a year, but can also be commissioned for smaller programmes in proportion to expenditure. In the next 18 months DFID currently expects to produce 19 country plans; eight in Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Vietnam), nine in Africa (Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, DRC, Sudan, Rwanda) and two in the Middle East (Palestine and Yemen). These figures are based on current plans and may be subject to changes in country circumstances.

Pakistan: Education

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes he has co-financed in Pakistan to promote the education of women and girls since 2004. [182262]

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Mr. Malik: DFID has co-financed programmes with UNDP, UNICEF and the World Bank to promote the education of women and girls in Pakistan since 2004.

The sum of £6 million was committed in 2006 to UNDP’s Gender Support Programme (2006-11). This includes training of women in the garment industry, training of women councillors, and support to improve the way in which education sector budgets address gender issues.

Another £3.5 million was committed in 2007 to UNICEF’s Gender Education Policy Support Project which is supporting the development and promotion of policies that address the problem of gender disparity in Pakistan’s education system.

A further £0.7 million was also committed in 2007 to support a World Bank project to establish a National Education Assessment System that has significant gender components. DFID funds are helping to improve education policy by assessing gender differences in learning achievements in both primary and secondary education.

St Helena: Airports

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made on the building of an airport on St Helena; and if he will make a statement. [182377]

Mr. Malik: We have received two bids which we are evaluating. We expect to reach a decision in the second quarter of the year.

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Zambia: Floods

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department has offered to the Government of Zambia and neighbouring states to manage the consequences of recent flooding in the region. [182173]

Gillian Merron: In Zambia, an initial assessment in six districts in Southern Province shows that almost 4,500 houses have collapsed, and almost 3,500 additional households have been affected. The Zambia Government is indicating that it have the resources to respond to the needs in the assessed areas, with support from in-country private sector donations. They have already provided 15,000 mT of maize for response during 2007-08, and have released $3.5 million for the procurement of relief items such as tents, blankets and mosquito nets.

In neighbouring Mozambique, DFID has provided some £97,000, through Save the Children, for the delivery of emergency water and sanitation to 10,000 affected people. The UN is also drawing on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for priority operations in the humanitarian response. DFID is the biggest contributor to the CERF, having provided £40 million in 2008. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a preliminary appeal for $7.3 million to address the immediate humanitarian needs of up to 150,000 people across the region. DFID is finalising its response to this appeal.

Assessments of the situation by Government, UN and NGO agencies are ongoing, and DFID continues to monitor the situation closely. We will respond as unmet humanitarian needs are identified.

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