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John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department to giving to UNICEF to tackle child trafficking in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: In 2007-08 the Department for International Development (DFID) provided £21 million in unearmarked core funding to UNICEF. This is used by UNICEF according to the priorities in their medium term strategic plan which includes child protection and specific support to tackle child trafficking.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what type of support his Department is providing to rural livelihood programmes in India; and how much was allocated to support these programmes in 2007-08. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) supports rural livelihoods programmes in partnership with the State Governments of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. We completed our programme with the Andhra Pradesh Government in December 2007. Our support includes both financial aid, disbursed through the state governments, and technical assistance.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFID India has spent £103.6 million since 2006 in support of the Indian Government's flagship Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) universal elementary education programme: £50 million in 2006-07; and £53.6 million in 2007-08.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been contributed by his Department to complete infrastructure projects that supply water and power to people in Southern Iraq. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Since March 2003, the Department for International Development (DFID) has spent £90 million on infrastructure regeneration projects in southern Iraq. By the end of this year, these projects will have improved power and water supplies to over one million people in Basra.
Through the UK-led provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Basra DFID's technical assistance has helped the Basra Provincial Council to access $350 million of central Government funding in 2008 (after receiving none in 2005), which it is using to take forward more than 300 local reconstruction projects to rebuild infrastructure and provide essential servicesincluding the supply of water and powerto the people of Southern Iraq.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what organisations were involved in the preparation of the sector-wide approach to aid for the social assistance sector in Moldova. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: A sector-wide approach (SWAp) to aid in the social assistance sector in Moldova is under preparation, led by the Social Protection Co-ordination Group chaired by the Government of Moldova. This group includes donors such as the Department for International Development (DFID), the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), the EC, UNICEF and the World Bank. We expect NGOs and local government organisations to be involved in discussions in due course. DFID is supporting the development of this SWAp through a £3.3 million project on social assistance which we fund jointly with SIDA.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been allocated to support the building of rural roads fit for a post-conflict environment in Nepal. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) has supported the roads sector in Nepal throughout the conflict period. Since 2000 DFID has spent £42 million through our Rural Access programme and Rural and Rural Community Infrastructure Works programmes. The underlying rationale for this support is that roads provide people with the means to connect to markets, improve their incomes and escape poverty sustainably. According to the World Bank, the increased connectivity provided through this support has been a major factor in reducing poverty in Nepal from 43 per cent. to 31 per cent. in the past ten years. The economic rate of return for these investments is estimated at between 21 per cent. and 38 per cent.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Departments programme to increase micro-financing in Pakistan will be called; and how much has been allocated to implement the programme. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) will provide financial support of up to £50 million over five years to Pakistans Financial Inclusion Programme which will be implemented by the State Bank.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development who has contributed funds to the Palestinian Authority Office of the President to support its capacity and institution building plan; and how much the UK has contributed. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom jointly fund a £2.7 million capacity building and institutional development programme for the Office of the President. This supports the President to deliver reforms. The UK is contributing £750,000 over a period of two years and has so far disbursed £187,500.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what records he holds on the changes in percentage of skilled birth attendants assisting in births since 2000 in the South Asia region. 
|Skilled birth attendant rates|
Demographic Health Surveys in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal; National Family Health Survey in India; and WHO estimates
Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFID provides support to strengthen health services in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh in the South Asia region. This support includes initiatives to reduce mortality amongst under five-year-olds.
In Bangladesh, DFID has provided £1.1 million through UNFPA for a joint UN programme on maternal and child health, and a total of £37.5 million in the last three years for the national health sector programme, which includes services to address under-five mortality.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms are in place to encourage progress towards achieving universal primary education in the South Asia region; and what assessment he has made of the steps necessary to meet this goal. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
The Department for International Development has major ongoing programmes of support for universal primary education in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and is currently developing a large programme of support in Pakistan where progress lags far behind. Our support in each country forms (or will form in the case of Pakistan) part of joint-donor support to national strategies and programmes for Education for All: these include increasing and ensuring
greater equity of access to schools, improving the quality of children's learning experience and strengthening the overall management of education systems. We support improvements to, and actively engage in, monitoring so we and partner Governments are better able to measure progress and identify continuing challenges.
As a result of these national programmes, India has enrolled an additional 27 million children in primary schools since 2003; primary enrolment in Nepal stood at 87 per cent. in 2006, and there has been an 11 per cent. increase in enrolment between 2000 and 2005 in Bangladesh. Each of these three countries have also made significant progress on educating girls: Bangladesh has achieved gender parity; Nepal and India are close. Improved monitoring enables us to work with Government and others to meet remaining challenges. Despite the considerable progress noted in enrolment, achievement of universal primary education in South Asia remains threatened particularly by high drop out rates, low levels of learning achievement and inclusion of the poorest. These issues now receive increased attention in national education plans.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the obstacles to the millennium development goal for the reversal of deforestation in South Asia; and what steps are being taken by his Department to overcome these obstacles. 
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to improve recording of data relating to HIV infection in the South Asia area. 
In India, DFID supported the third National Family Health Survey in 2005-06 which included community based HIV testing for the first time and provided improved national estimates of HIV infection. DFID is also supporting the use of new and more reliable technology for HIV testing to assess HIV status, through our five year support for the National AIDS Control Programme Phase Three (2007-12).
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
In 2008, South Asia Division will manage country based programmes in Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. We also have a small team in London working on regional issues and a joint DFID, FCO and MOD section in Sri Lanka focused on efforts to secure peace.
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