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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken to investigate means of providing (a) in-country and (b) cross-border assistance to Chin state, western Burma. 
Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development (DFID) is already providing a significant amount of support to Chin State from inside the country. This includes support to livelihoods and community development activities through the United Nations Development Programme in every Township in Chin State; and support through the Three Diseases Fund for work on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. In addition we have regular discussions with Chin civil society groups about conditions in Chin State, and the prospects for provision of additional support.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has for the (a) delivery and (b) distribution of humanitarian assistance in Chad; what the minimum security requirements are for these plans to be put into effect; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Department for International Development (DFID) is planning to continue its humanitarian engagement with a further £5 million in 2008-09. DFID's support will focus in particular on internally displaced persons (IDP) and host populations. DFID will continue to support immediate relief interventions, to improve humanitarian co-ordination and look for ways to encourage early recovery. DFID is working with a range of implementers from the United Nations (UN) agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Red Cross to ensure that the final distribution of assistance is carried out in a transparent and appropriately targeted way, with particular attention taken to ensure that partners are acting with independence and impartiality.
The relief initiatives supported by DFID are ongoing in spite of a security environment that makes access to vulnerable populations difficult. DFID has chosen partners that have a proven track record of delivery even in the most insecure areas at the Chad/Sudan border. The European Union Force (EUFOR) is mandated to protect IDPs, host populations and aid workers, and to promote the conditions for IDP return; as EUFOR deploys, we expect that it will become easier to deliver aid. DFID is making provision to allow the expansion of relief and early recovery efforts if and when the security environment is improved.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions (a) he, (b) members of his Department and (c) UK representatives abroad have had on (i) the humanitarian situation in Chad, (ii) plans to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Chad and (iii) co-ordination of a post-conflict humanitarian response in Chad; with whom such discussions were held; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Secretary of State for International Development chairs regular ministerial meetings on Africa that cover a wide range of subjects, including Chad. The Department for International Development (DFID) is continuing to work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to refine the UK's wider approach to Chad and the region.
Externally, DFID officials continue to be involved in discussions about Chad on a number of fronts, both in the UK, in Europe and in N'Djamena. The UK leads an informal donor/United Nations (UN) contact group in Geneva, which includes all the major donors engaged in Chad, as well as the key UN agencies active in the humanitarian response. DFID is using this forum for building consensus among donors to improve humanitarian coordination and intervention.
Other discussions relate to the development of a comprehensive humanitarian protection approach, the relationship of humanitarian actors with European Union forces (EUFOR), and the targeting of aid in the border areas. Recently, discussions have focused on the development of a coherent post-conflict response. DFID is now working to stimulate the UN's planning in this area, and to ensure that the UK's own planning is complementary to the plans being put forward by European partners.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what visits he made to (a) Harrogate International Centre, (b) International Conference Centre, Birmingham, (c) Manchester Central, (d) Scottish Exhibitional and Conference Centre, Glasgow, (e) Edinburgh International Conference Centre, (f) Bournemouth International Conference Centre, (g) the Brighton Centre, Brighton, (h) the Riviera Centre, Torquay, (i) Queen Elizabeth Centre, London, (j) Excel Conference Centre, Docklands, London, and (k) Business Design Centre, Islington, London, in the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007; and what events he attended at each. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: I have visited one of the listed venues in a ministerial capacity since my appointment as Secretary of State for International Development. This was the Excel Conference Centre, Docklands, London, to deliver a speech at the Women Deliver event.
My predecessor, the right hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Hilary Benn), visited the Queen Elizabeth Centre in London on three occasions. In March 2005 he attended an event on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); in October 2005 he delivered a speech at the Tackling Health Inequalities event; and in January 2007 he attended the Moving Young Minds event. Hilary Benn also attended one event at the Excel Conference Centre, Docklands, London for the National Policy Forum in June 2006.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many public consultations were held by his Department in each of the last three years; and how many respondents took part in each consultation. 
Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to consulting effectively with the public and interested groups. DFID guidance on how to consult is based on the Cabinet Office's Code of Practice on Consultation. Public consultations are administered independently by the consulting policy or country team, using this departmental guidance. There is therefore no central record of the number held for the last three years, or of the number of respondents to each, and so it would be of disproportionate cost to provide these details.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to fund research into (a) vaccines, (b) microbiocides, (c) drugs and (d) diagnostics for (i) guinea-worm disease, (ii) river blindness, (iii) lymphatic filariasis, (iv) schistosmiasis, (v) intestinal helminths, (vi) leishmaniasis and (vi) sleeping sickness; and what recent discussions he has had with the World Health Organisation on tackling these diseases. 
Gillian Merron: The 2006 Department for International Development (DFID) White Paper referred to the need for a substantial increase in DFID funding for drug and vaccine development. More details about plans to fund research will be available when DFID's new research strategy is launched. New funding will be awarded following open competition, so it is not currently possible to identify exactly which areas will be supported.
DFID is in close and regular contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The International Health Partnership (IHP), which is being led by the WHO and the World Bank, aims to help develop and put in place country health plans that include tackling these diseases.
Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps his Department has taken to improve womens (a) access to education, (b) political empowerment and (c) access to family planning resources in developing countries. 
Gillian Merron: The UK Government will spend £8.5 billion on education in our partner countries over the period 2006-07 to 2015-16. We prioritise girls education by supporting our partner governments in putting gender equality at the heart of their own education programmes and by supporting education skills and literacy programmes which target women and girls. DFID is also taking a lead on raising awareness of the importance of girls education with our international partners and is supporting the Global Campaign for Education in its efforts to promote education for girls.
Womens political participation is promoted by supporting civic and voter education projects and skills and leadership training for female candidates and womens groups. These activities have resulted in better representation of women within political parties and in local government and national parliaments.
Between 2004 and 2008, the UK Government have provided £80 million in core resources and announced an additional contribution of £100 million over five years to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This will allow the UNFPA to improve access and supplies of family planning commodities in the developing world. DFID also works with partner governments to ensure access to family planning is prioritised in their health plans.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution the UK made to multilateral organisations working on sexual and reproductive health in developing countries in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to encourage European counterparts to increase their contributions to multilateral organisations working on sexual and reproductive health in developing countries. 
DFID recently pledged £100 million over five years to UNFPA's Reproductive Health Commodity Supply Programme, to improve the availability of family planning supplies in developing countries. To encourage other development partners to increase their support for UNFPA we are sharing the analytical work on this programme and which shaped our decision to support UNFPA, together with the performance monitoring framework by which we will judge the success of the programme.
The UK was the first government donor to support the Safe Abortion Action Fund in 2007, with funding of £4 million. The UK's initial pledge has resulted in several other donors also contributing a further £3 million.
Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will ensure greater involvement of HIV-positive people in the development of his Department's HIV/Aids policies and practices. 
Gillian Merron: Following a public consultation the UK Government are currently updating Taking ActionThe UK's strategy for tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world. The updated AIDS strategy will continue to involve people living with HIV in developing and taking forward our AIDS response.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding his Department has allocated to support the development of city-wide strategies for early intervention as a means of reducing the number of street children in cities in Latin America. 
Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not allocated specific funding for city-wide strategies to stem the flow of street children in Latin America. DFID support for street children is delivered largely through non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
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