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12 Jun 2008 : Column 442W—continued

Human Rights: Females

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of international progress towards the UN commitment to eliminating violence against women as adopted in 1995; and what contribution the UK has made to that work. [209748]

Gillian Merron: Reports from the UN—in particular the Secretary-General's In-Depth Study on Violence against Women (2006) and subsequent reports to the General Assembly—as well as our own work in developing countries show that more progress needs to be made internationally towards the commitments on violence against women agreed at the 4th World Conference on Women in 1995.

The UK has supported a number of initiatives in the UN that seek to address violence against women (and girls), including resolutions and the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. We also welcomed the launch in February by the UN Secretary-General of a new campaign to intensify action to end violence against women and girls.

The Department for International Development also tackles violence against women and girls through our development assistance programmes as part of our wider work to promote gender equality and women's rights, as set out in the Gender Equality Action Plan launched last year. We support work on this issue in over 20 developing countries, including in the areas of legislative reform, improved provision of services for victims, work with media on awareness raising and changing attitudes, and training of police and military. This includes initiatives in conflict and post-conflict situations implemented by civil society and UN partners. For example, we are currently supporting a programme implemented by the UN Development Fund for Women
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(UNIFEM) aimed at promoting women's engagement in peace-building and preventing sexual violence in conflict which is working in Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia, Rwanda, Timor Leste and Uganda.

The Gender Equality Action Plan can be found at

Indonesia: Overseas Aid

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the terms of reference are of the programme established in Indonesia by his Department under the fund to be managed by the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation; when the fund will begin operating; for how long the programme will run; whether the fund will sponsor Government and private sector projects; and what projects he expects to be funded. [210098]

Mr. Malik: The Terms of Reference for the Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme are to reduce and eliminate illegal logging, to achieve poverty reduction through community-based forest management and to support reforms for reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation. The agreement was signed in February this year and runs until October 2010.

The Fund will finance government and civil society. Projects include implementing a European Union—Indonesia voluntary partnership agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade, legal reforms to reduce corruption, community-based forest management and strengthening local community foundations in six regions.

Iraq: Asylum

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made with the programme for funding displaced Iraqis within that country and in Syria; and if he will make a statement. [208907]

Mr. Malik: Since 2003, DFID has committed over £149 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq, £17 million of which has been allocated for this year. We have channelled our assistance to a variety of international organisations working to provide assistance to the most vulnerable people displaced inside Iraq and in the region. Support provided through these organisations includes food, water, shelter and medicine.

We are also working to promote a coordinated international effort in response to humanitarian situation, with the Government of Iraq (GoI) in the lead. The GoI has recognised it holds primary responsibility for the welfare of its people and is working to address the humanitarian situation inside the country. To that end, the GoI last week allocated $40 million to the World Food Programme, to assist in the provision of food for internally displaced people. The UK is also encouraging the GoI to take a lead in providing financial support to Iraqi refugees in the wider region, and we are seeing some progress being made. The GoI has allocated $25 million to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to support Iraqis
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who are currently living there, and very recently announced $195 million to support voluntary returnees from the region back to Iraq.

However, while international aid is vital in supporting the most vulnerable Iraqis—both within Iraq and in the wider region—the longer term solution to the humanitarian problem hinges on sustainable improvements in the security situation. Currently refugees who have been interviewed in the region have said they do not wish to return to Iraq because they believe it is unsafe to do so. The UNHCR, who lead on refugee issues, has also made it clear that the situation in Iraq does not currently warrant mass refugee return. Therefore, security must be the Iraqi Government's top priority, to allow displaced people to feel safe enough to return home.

Palestinians: Overseas Aid

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which 10 recipients received the greatest amount of UK aid for Palestinian refugees in 2007-08; how much each received; and if he will make a statement. [209734]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: In 2007-08 the Department for International Development (DFID) provided £63.6 million in financial assistance to the Palestinian people. £35.45 million of that amount supported services such as health, education and power generation provided by the Palestinian Authority in the west bank and Gaza, and also benefited refugees. The only part of that assistance dedicated specifically to Palestinian refugees was £15.6 million through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This helped UNRWA provide health, education and other services to 4.5 million Palestinian refugees in the region, including over a million refugees in Gaza and over 700,000 in the west bank.

Somalia: Food

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid is being provided to Somalia to develop efficient and up-to-date methods of food production; and if he will make a statement. [209743]

Gillian Merron: The UK Government provide central funding to the EC in Somalia who are the lead donor in the field of rural development and food security with €50.9 million currently invested in programmes. The aim is to:

DFID also provides core funding to multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and United Nations organisations, some of which contributes to food production activities. For example, DFID has provided over £90 million in support to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and International Fund for Agricultural Development over the period 2002-03 to 2006-07.

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Sudan: Overseas Aid

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make it his policy to stipulate that future pledges of aid to Sudan are contingent on (a) the removal of Ahmad Harun from his position as Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs and (b) the surrender of Ahmad Harun to the International Criminal Court. [209474]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK does not channel any of its humanitarian or development assistance through the Government of Sudan. To make our aid conditional on the conduct of the regime would be to punish the people in Darfur and Southern Sudan who rely on international support for basic humanitarian assistance.

West Bank: Overseas Aid

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much UK aid he estimates reached internally displaced people in the West Bank in
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each year since 1997; and what factors have slowed the distribution of aid. [209737]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There is no internationally agreed upon definition of what constitutes internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the context of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). United Nations agencies do not systematically collect data on the multiple triggers of internal displacement (e.g. house demolition) in the OPTs nor on the size of the various IDP populations therein.

UK support to the OPTs benefits Palestinians, including IDPs, in both the West Bank, Gaza and—for refugees—also the wider region. The Department for International Development (DFID) supports the Palestinian Authority (PA) to provide services such as health and education and for on-going technical assistance to the PA in taking forward reforms. DFID also provides assistance dedicated specifically to Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This helps UNRWA provide health, education and other services to 4.5 million Palestinian refugees in the region, including over a million refugees in Gaza and over 700,000 in the West Bank. Since 1996-97, the UK has provided nearly £295 million in assistance to the Palestinian people.

Financial aid Technical cooperation Humanitarian assistance Grants and other aid in kind Total( 1) Total UNRWA
























































































(1) Covers support to Palestinian refugees in the OPTs, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. (2) Provisional figures.

The UK aligns its support to the PA to the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan and does not subdivide its support between Gaza and the West Bank. UNRWA generally allocates around 30 per cent. of its budget to Gaza, 16 per cent. to the West Bank and the remaining to help other Palestinian refugees in the region.

Movement and access restrictions undermine the effectiveness of humanitarian operations and impose additional costs on humanitarian agencies. The UK continues to call on Israel to ease those restrictions in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation and allow the Palestinian economy to grow. Despite the obstacles, assistance is reaching those who need it. Our funding to UNRWA supports the delivery of medical and social services, education and some food aid to social hardship cases.

Zimbabwe: Sanctions

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the effect of economic sanctions on food and medicine distribution in Zimbabwe in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. [209744]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There were no UK or EU economic sanctions targeting Zimbabwe in 2007-08, nor are there any at present. There are EU targeted measures that impose a visa ban and asset freeze on President Mugabe and 130 named individuals. There is an EU embargo on selling arms to Zimbabwe. There are no other UK or EU sanctions on Zimbabwe. The UK Government do not wish to punish the people of Zimbabwe for the wrongdoings of the regime. In 2007-08, we provided £45 million of humanitarian assistance, including for essential medicines and food.

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Olympic Delivery Authority: Procurement

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Minister for the Olympics for what reasons the Olympic Delivery Authority did not use the constructionline procurement system for letting its contracts; and if she will make a statement. [209707]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 9 June 2008]: Constructionline is an accreditation system that requires a supplier to pay a subscription. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) cannot under EU public procurement directives force contractors to sign up to a paid service to compete for public works. The ODA also felt that this would be a potential barrier to small and medium sized businesses wishing to bid for 2012 contracts.

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether she has received representations from contractors about the Olympic Delivery Authority's accreditation system; and if she will make a statement. [209708]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 9 June 2008]: I have received no direct representation from contractors on the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) accreditation system. However, there has been much ODA engagement with the business community, both large and small, on the free to use CompeteFor system. 18,000 suppliers are registered currently giving eligibility to apply for any opportunity on the system and ODA estimate approximately 10,000 opportunities from the ODA supply chain alone being advertised on CompeteFor.

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