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The AsDB has launched a number of climate initiatives under its CEIF Climate Change Programme. DFID's support has been used to help the AsDB undertake an
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Asia Low-Carbon Transport study costing £175,000 which is informing the development of the Bank's urban transportation sector programmes. We have also committed £1.4 million to a regional technical assistance programme for the AsDB to take forward its work on adaptation to climate change. The AsDB is ensuring that climate change issues are fully integrated in its new Country Partnership Strategies. This includes helping countries to build adaptation into their development plans and into AsDB's future investments. DFID, FCO and DEFRA are also supporting the AsDB to carry out a £450,000 Regional Review of the Economics of Climate Change study in South East Asia. This study explores the potential impact of climate change in the region and the costs and benefits of both adaptation and mitigation policies to respond to the challenge.

Bangladesh: Overseas Aid

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid his Department has provided for the reduction of poverty in Bangladesh since 1997. [213674]

Mr. Malik: Details of DFID's bilateral assistance and imputed multilateral assistance provided to relieve poverty in Bangladesh since 1997 are laid out in the following tables.

Table 1: Total DFID Bilateral expenditure 1997-98 to 2006-07

Bangladesh ( £ 000 )


38 072


66 494


63 489


70 489


59 222


73 224


55 383


127 904


123 368


109 313

Final details of DFID expenditure in 2007-08 will be available from July 2008.

Table 2: Imputed DFID Share of Multilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) 1997/98 to 2006-07

Bangladesh 000 )


11 296


49 635


19 290


19 366


16 782


17 498


26 967


19 951


37 860


42 029

Bangladesh: Politics and Government

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to assist in the development of democracy in Bangladesh. [213672]

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Mr. Malik: During my recent visit to Bangladesh, I reiterated that the UK's interests, like those of the Bangladeshi people, are best served by a stable, prosperous and democratic Bangladesh. I met the Bangladesh Finance Adviser, and the Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff and expressed the UK's support for the roadmap for national elections before the end of 2008. I also repeated the UK's call to relax the provisions of the State of Emergency in Bangladesh, in order to facilitate conditions for the preparation of free and fair elections. I publicly urged all sides, including the political parties, to engage and participate positively in the democratic processes to bring a smooth transition to an elected government, which can sustain credible democracy thereafter. Also, I asserted the UK's belief that a return to the violent and confrontational politics of 2006 could never sustain democracy in Bangladesh.

The UK, through DFID, is providing practical support to democratic processes in Bangladesh. We are currently providing £10 million to the Government of Bangladesh in support of the development of a new photographic voter roll and National ID Card. This will help to eliminate 'ghost voters', and to provide a fair, safe and transparent election.

We are also providing £2.1 million to the national election programme aimed at supporting domestic non-governmental organisations to provide domestic and international monitoring of the election; and £2.8 million for 'BBC Sanglap' in support of a "Question Time" style debate show on television and radio in Bangladesh that encourages political/public dialogue. Both programmes are designed to minimise the scope for electoral fraud and reduce the risk of political parties boycotting the elections.

Burma: Politics and Government

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Burma. [214015]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The cyclone that hit Burma on 2 May was one of the worst humanitarian disasters since the Asian Tsunami of 2004. The official Burmese government death toll is 84,537 dead with 53,836 missing, and the UN estimates the total number of people badly affected to be in the region of 2.4 million. The Red Cross estimates on the basis of reports from 22 organisations working in Burma that between 69,000 and 128,000 were killed. DFID estimates that of the affected population, 300,000 remain extremely vulnerable and require immediate humanitarian assistance.

Some progress has been made in improving access to the affected areas by international humanitarian workers. The rate of delivery and volume of relief goods has increased since the UN/Association of South East Asian Nations conference on 25 May, but the UN estimates that approximately 1.1 million of the 2.4 million cyclone victims have yet to receive assistance. Some areas are just now being reached for the first time. However, the ASEAN’s joint assessment process (PONJA—Post Nargis Joint Assessment) is under way and appears to be progressing well.

The UN Flash Appeal has requested US$201 million and is 63.6 per cent. funded (received funds not including pledges). A revised Humanitarian Appeal is expected in
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early July. DFID, having committed £27.5 million, is a leading donor. Our support is helping organisations provide immediate humanitarian assistance to victims of the cyclone, such as shelter materials, food, clean water and household items to replace those that have been lost.

Departmental Vetting

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what procedures his Department follows for checking the criminal records of employees; and if he will make a statement. [213132]

Gillian Merron: The Department for International Development (DFID) follows the centrally mandated baseline standard clearance procedure for all individuals working on DFID premises. This includes a criminal record check of unspent convictions through the organisation Disclosure Scotland. Staff requiring a higher, national security vetting clearance, will have their criminal records checked against spent as well as unspent convictions.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of successful applicants for jobs in his Department are subjected to a criminal records check; how many (a) successful applicants and (b) criminal records checks there were in each of the last 10 years; how many successful applicants were found to have a criminal record after a criminal records check took place in each of the last 10 years; whether the selection of successful candidates to be subjected to a criminal records check is random or targeted; and if he will make a statement. [213152]

Gillian Merron: Under the centrally mandated baseline standard procedure introduced in 2007 the Department for International Development (DFID) undertakes a 100 per cent. criminal record check against unspent convictions for all staff working on DFID premises. Prior to the introduction of the baseline standard criminal record checks were undertaken on all staff under national security vetting procedures.

The number of new recruits (successful applicants) on whom such checks were carried out in recent years is shown in the following table.

June to May each year New recruits









The historic data requested for 10 years is not readily available, and could be collected only at disproportionate cost. DFID does not maintain a historic record of the number of successful applicants who were found to have a criminal record.

Developing Countries: Agriculture

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government have taken to provide aid to developing countries targeted at poor farmers who are living at subsistence level. [212610]

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Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) believes that poor farmers, if properly supported, have the potential to contribute significantly to reducing hunger and poverty by growing food for their families and the immediate community. This also contributes to overall economic growth. At the recent Rome Food Summit the UK called on all donors, other international organisations, developing country governments, the private sector and civil society to double our efforts to tackle hunger and poverty under a Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food (GPAF). DFID works directly on agriculture in more than 20 countries, investing £120 million a year. In Africa and Asia DFID also supports a range of social protection programmes. In Africa alone we spend £55 million a year on rural safety nets which deliver social transfers to 8 million poor farmers.

An increasing amount of DFID’s funding is now going through multilateral channels. The European Commission and the World Bank are both significantly increasing the amount that they are committing to agriculture. This year’s World Development Report, published by the World Bank, supported by DFID through funding and technical inputs, is devoted to the subject of agriculture and development. It highlights the need to provide support to poor farmers, and to provide alternative income opportunities in rural areas. DFID is also a leading supporter of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, CAADP, an Africa-led initiative looking to find the best ways of addressing the primary millennium development goal target of poverty and hunger.

Developing Countries: Carbon Emissions

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government have taken to assist developing countries to cut carbon dioxide emissions since 1997. [213671]

Mr. Thomas: The 2006 White Paper on International Development made climate change a strategic priority for the Department for International Development (DFID), and has led to an increase in capacity and resources on this issue. As part of the 2005 G8 meeting in Gleneagles, the UK helped push for a Clean Energy Investment Framework to stimulate greater investment in lower carbon energy sources by the multilateral development banks. Linked to this we have part-funded five low-carbon growth strategies in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The UK has been a major contributor to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and our current funding totals £140 million over four years (2007-8 to 2010-11). About a third of GEF's funds support projects tackling climate change, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, and new low carbon energy technologies. The UK Government's longer term objective is to enable all developing countries to access global carbon markets, and we have supported programmes to ensure greater participation in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by African countries.

Developing Countries: Energy

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to encourage developing countries to use sustainable energy sources. [213670]

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Mr. Thomas: At the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles the UK championed the Clean Energy Investment Framework (CEIF), which commits the World Bank and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to increase their investment in renewable sources of energy. Our longer term objective is for global carbon markets to act as the primary driver of investment in sustainable energy sources in developing countries.

The UK will be one of the major contributors to the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), which will provide additional resources, via the multilateral development banks, to help developing countries pilot new approaches for the demonstration and deployment of low carbon technologies. The CTF is part of the newly created Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), and will be capitalised from the UK's £800 million Environmental Transformation Fund. The Department for International Development (DFID) also provides core funding to the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) and the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP).

Developing Countries: EU Aid

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken in collaboration with the EU to ensure development issues are systematically addressed across all sectors; and with what outcomes. [213210]

Mr. Thomas: In 2005 the UK EU presidency launched the European Consensus on Development. This landmark agreement committed EU member states and the Commission to ensure that policies that affect development (such as trade and migration) do not compromise, and where possible, support progress towards achieving development goals. This goal is termed Policy Coherence for Development (PCD).

The first EU biannual report on PCD was issued in October 2007. The report highlighted that progress had been made in the Commission, particularly around establishing mechanisms to promote PCD. Substantial efforts have been made on some policy areas, on trade for example, the EU has been at the forefront of making development a key issue at the World Trade Organisation negotiations and in seeking a successful outcome of the Doha Development Agenda. Implementation of PCD at the member state level was more varied although the UK was seen as a good performer.

The report was an important step forward in raising awareness and understanding of PCD. In future reports, there will be more focus on the wider impact and outcomes of PCD efforts.

Developing Countries: HIV Infection

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he plans to hold a public consultation on the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the AIDS strategy. [212650]

Gillian Merron: A 12-week public consultation for the updated AIDS strategy “Achieving Universal Access—the UK’s strategy for halting and reversing the spread of HIV in the developing world” was held between May and August 2007. The strategy emphasises the importance
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of achieving outcomes as well as measuring inputs. The Department for International Development (DFID) is in the process of finalising a monitoring and evaluation plan and is committed to reporting on the commitments made in “Achieving Universal Access”. We will commission an independent review of the implementation of the strategy in three years time.

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