|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress is being made on achieving the targets outlined in the Millennium Development Goals; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander [holding answer 30 January 2008]: DFIDs public service agreements are based on the millennium development goals (MDGs). Progress was last reported in DFIDs annual report which was presented to Parliament on 15 May 2007. It is available in the Library of the House of Commons and on the DFID website:
There has been some progress towards the MDGs. The most recent official data at global level show that there has been good progress in reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty, increasing economic growth, getting more children into school, reducing child deaths and improving womens political and economic participation. Much more needs to be done, however, particularly in maternal mortality, girls education, HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases, and accelerated improvements will be needed most urgently in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia if the MDGs targets are to be met.
The 2007 UN millennium development goals report, which can be found at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mdg/default.aspx, gives a comprehensive account of progress to date on each of the goals, including the challenges that remain.
Mr. Malik: DFID is currently developing detailed plans for allocating its budget over the three year period 2008-09 to 2010-11 following the outcome of the comprehensive spending review announced in October. Individual country and regional allocations will not be finalised until March 2008.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of freedom of information requests received by his Department have given rise to responses that have been published by his Department. 
Mr. Malik: DFID has adopted a selective disclosure policy, whereby we aim to publish only requests likely to be of wider public interest. DFID published 5 per cent. of the 652 requests received between January 2005, when the Act came into force, and September 2007.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) press and (b) communications officers his Department employed in each year since its establishment. 
|Number of press officers|
Communication is integral to DFIDs work, and many staff in different teams in our UK headquarters and network of overseas offices are involved in communication work. It is not therefore possible to identify all such staff without incurring disproportionate cost.
Gillian Merron: The Department for International Development (DFID) promotes infrastructure development in a number of ways. For example, through bilateral country programmes we support road building and maintenance in Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo, rural transport in Vietnam and Ethiopia and rural access between communities in Nepal. DFID also supports a regional programme to advise on transport policy in Africa.
More widely, sponsorship of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), a multi-donor organisation,
by the Government helps harness the finance and expertise of the private sector. In addition, US $20 million has been committed over three years to support the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) which helps co-ordination between donors and African countries through its secretariat in the African Development Bank. Additionally, a range of technical assistance and co-financing funds helps increase the effectiveness of other multi-lateral institutions which lead infrastructure development in developing countries (for example, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank).
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) reliability of genetic use restriction technologies as a biosafety tool. 
Mr. Thomas: There has been no specific assessment commissioned by the Department for International Development (DFID) on the effectiveness and reliability of genetic use restriction technologies as a biosafety tool. However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published a review of the various technologies that might be used as biosafety tools for crops. The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) also provided advice on the findings of this report. Both the study and the ACRE advice are available on the DEFRA website at:
Gillian Merron: DFID Ministers and senior officials have over the last few months held high-level discussions with a wide range of international counterparts, including; G8 colleagues, the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Ministers of Health from the International Health Partnership (IHP) countries, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the Clinton Foundation, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and others.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure that the rights and needs of children affected by
AIDS are a priority in the revision of the Government strategy Taking Action, the UK Strategy for Tackling HIV and AIDS in the Developing World; and whether the revised strategy will include the continuation of the commitment to earmarking 10 per cent. of all HIV funding to children affected by AIDS. 
Gillian Merron: Building on the submissions we received during the public consultation process last year we are now updating Taking Action, the UKs strategy for tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world. The needs and rights of children affected by AIDS will remain a UK priority when it is published later this year.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to support national governments to ensure the provision of co-trimoxazole to all HIV-exposed children as a prophylaxis and for the treatment of opportunistic infections. 
Gillian Merron: The UK Government are at the forefront of strengthening health systems, including their distribution systems, to improve access to essential drugs such as cotrimoxazole. For example, in Zambia, we are working with the World Bank to help develop a pilot for innovative ways to improve delivery in the public distribution system. It was a DFID-funded trial in Zambia which first showed how cotrimoxazole can reduce mortality in children living with HIV by up to 43 per cent.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to support national governments to deliver comprehensive and integrated prevention of mother-to-children HIV/AIDS transmission services, outlined by the G8 summit in June 2007. 
Gillian Merron: DFIDs financial support to health systems in developing countries is helping to ensure that pregnant women are able to access the ante natal and delivery care services they need to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The International Health Partnership, which was launched by the Prime Minister in September 2007, will help ensure that donor resources are better coordinated, that they back strong national health development plans and that they focus on strengthening the health systems that deliver better services.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how his Department plans to ensure the development of infant diagnostics for HIV, adaptable to resource-limited settings; and how this will be achieved. 
Gillian Merron: The UK Government make substantial financial contributions to both UNITAID (the International Drugs Purchase Facility) and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), to which the UK is the second largest country funder.
UNITAID provided $35.9 million in 2006-07 for paediatric treatment and diagnosis. UNICEF is working in several countries in Africa to improve
methods of infant diagnosis of HIV, with the result that more infants and small children are being safely and effectively tested and treated.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the Government plans to meet the commitment made by G8 leaders at Heiligendamm to contribute substantially to (a) the estimated US 1.5 billion dollar cost of providing universal coverage of prevention of mother to child transmission programmes, (b) the US 1.8 billion dollars cost of providing universal access to paediatric treatment by 2010 and (c) providing care for 10 million orphans and vulnerable children in Africa. 
Gillian Merron: The UK is the second largest government donor of AIDS-related assistance. In 2006-07 we provided £481 million to help tackle HIV and AIDS and have a strong track record of translating G8 commitments into action. The UK has called on other G8 countries to play their part in meeting their commitments. The UK Government are in the process of updating our strategy on tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world. The needs and rights of children affected by AIDS will remain a UK priority, and this will be reflected in the update to Taking Action.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department is working with civil society organisations to develop and implement a system to track HIV and AIDS resources to ensure that they reach the communities which are most affected and to monitor the results they achieve. 
Gillian Merron: It is crucial that resources reach the communities most affected by HIV and AIDS. UNAIDS collects country data through national AIDS spending assessments (NASA) which track the country response to HIV and AIDS and support the monitoring of resource needs. DFID is supporting NASAs in several countries. DFID also supports national AIDS councils to monitor and evaluate the impact of their national AIDS strategies.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make it his policy to offer Jordan assistance with improving animal welfare; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: In line with our aim to get best value from the UK aid programme, DFID prioritises funding where it can make the greatest impact. Jordan is a middle-income country and does not have a bilateral DFID programme. DFID, however, continues to support Jordan through international institutions such as the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank. In 2005, we provided £12 million through these organisations to promote good governance, economic growth and poverty reduction in Jordan. In light of this, DFID will not be directly supporting animal welfare programmes in Jordan.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire dated 3 December 2007 about British-based mining companies. 
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when the Minister of State will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire dated 20 December 2007 on fair trade for Africa. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of the multi donor trust funds to Sudan on health service provision in South Sudan. 
Gillian Merron: The Multi Donor Trust Fund-South (MDTF-S) and the Government of South Sudan are co-financing a health sector development programme, with total funding of US$225 million over three years, which started in 2005. In addition to regular assessments conducted by the World Bank, DFID commissioned a review on behalf of MDTF donors of both of Sudans multi-donor trust funds. This review, completed in December 2007, found that the performance of the MDTF-S funded Southern Sudan Umbrella Health Project had improved, after a slow start.
strengthened pharmaceutical supply systems including the procurement of US$20 million of medicines, one million insecticide-treated bed nets and the rehabilitation of storage facilities;
training courses held for key health workers;
US$1 million allocated to each state for the rehabilitation of health infrastructure; and
strengthened institutional capacity of the public health administration including the establishment of a functioning Executive Board in the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The MDTF-S is also being used to fund Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health to assist the Ministry of Health with its overall capacity-building, including by training its staff on daily operations and organising its personnel structure.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|