|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on what dates in each of the last five years his Department informed the House of the creation of contingent liabilities relating to his Department or its non-departmental public bodies. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) reports contingent liabilities annually to the House through its resource accounts, which include liabilities not required to be reported directly to Parliament. The most recent accounts for 2007-08 were laid before the House on 14 July 2008 (HC 672). No other contingent liabilities have been reported directly to the House in the last five years.
DFIDs only non-departmental public body is the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, which reports annually to Parliament through me. Its most recent report was issued in June 2008 and copies were placed in the Library of the House.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to spread best practice of social enterprises in low income countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) understands social enterprises to be businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need, in which profits are reinvested to sustain and further their mission for positive change. Many producer co-operatives, self-help groups and fairtrade producer groups could be considered as social enterprises. DFIDs country programmes work with a range of these and DFID centrally has supported the fairtrade movement for many years.
As part of a donor consortium, DFID is currently funding the global Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) and one of its member bodies, the UK Fairtrade Foundation, to help rapidly expand the reach of fairtrade through bringing many more poor producers, particularly from low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, into fairtrade markets. Bringing producers into fairtrade certification involves informing producers about the standards required, including that a democratically-run group must exist that decides how to invest for social purposes the fairtrade premium they will receive. Our funding helps support specific work such as the FLO Strategic Review currently under way, that considers progress against the objectives of providing market access on good terms for poorer producers in developing countries, to identify and share what is working and what remains a challenge.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2008, Official Report, columns 668-69W, on humanitarian aid, where the humanitarian funding guidelines may be obtained; how much funding has been allocated to the activities described in relation to Bangladesh; and what projects in (a) Sierra Leone and (b) Nigeria his Department is supporting on (i) reducing the risk of disaster, (ii) preventing the re-emergence of conflict and (iii) fostering a greater adherence to aid effectiveness principles. 
(a) Disaster preparedness and management: £6 million over six years from 2003 to 2009, to support the Government of Bangladesh to develop a comprehensive disaster management programme.
(b) Funding of relief operations: over £9 million for Floods and Cyclone Sidr relief in 2007, of which up to £4.75 million was provided to NGOs, and £3.6 million channelled through UNDP to local NGOs.
(c) Early recovery and assessments. on reconstruction/rehabilitation: Up to £8.5 million for early recovery Floods 2007 and Cyclone Sidr programmes.
The DFID programme in Sierra Leone for 2008-09 totals £40 million. This includes DFID core budget support to the Office for National Security with support to its disasters management department. On preventing conflict, our justice sector development programme provides support to the police. We are working with other donors to support the government to develop a new poverty reduction strategy. This will provide an improved basis for donors to align their support and to work in partnership.
The DFID programme in Nigeria for 2008-09 totals £100 million. DFID Nigeria helps reduce the risk of disaster and the likely impacts through, for example, health programmes, which help to prevent health disasters by strengthening monitoring for Avian Influenza, increasing levels of immunisation against polio, and reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS. To help prevent the re-emergence of conflict, DFID, via the Conflict Prevention Pool, will contribute £900,000 this financial year towards conflict prevention activities in Nigeria, including a partnership with Action Aid to promote community-level conflict prevention. DFID Nigeria has also supported civil society activities to reduce the risk of election-related conflict and is funding a £2 million programme to reduce tensions in the Niger Delta by promoting greater government transparency and accountability. DFID Nigerias programme is closely aligned with the Federal Governments National Economic Empowerment and
Development Strategy (NEEDS). DFID Nigeria has worked in a joint Country Partnership Strategy with the World Bank and USAID since 2005, and is leading efforts to further harmonise donor activity in Nigeria in a Nigeria Development Partner Framework, involving all major donors.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department has offered to (a) the Indian federal government and (b) the Orissa state government to assist the police and judicial authorities in ending the religious violence in Orissa. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development has not offered assistance. Neither the government of India nor the government of Orissa has sought bilateral assistance for the police and judicial authorities. This is in keeping with our standard policy.
The Department for International Development (DFID) does provide significant support to the federal government, and to state governments, including Orissa. This is focused on supporting long-term development priorities, with a particular emphasis on strengthening systems to provide services, such as health and education, to poor people.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department has offered to (a) the Indian federal government and (b) the Orissa state government to (i) help return displaced people to their homes in safety and (ii) repair homes destroyed and damaged in the recent religious violence in Orissa. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Government of India have not asked for bilateral assistance and are dealing with the situation. Accordingly, the Department for International Development (DFID) has not offered assistance either to the Indian federal government or to the Orissa state government.
According to official figures, 24,000 people have been displaced by the violence, of which 10,000 have now returned home. The remaining 14,000 people are being housed in relief camps set up and managed by the Government of Orissa.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of conditions in the relief camps in Orissa state for people displaced by religious violence. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not made an assessment of the conditions in the relief camps. Neither the government of India, nor the government of Orissa has requested such an assessment. It would not be appropriate or possible for DFID to do this without such a request.
According to official figures, around 24,000 people have been displaced by the recent violence in Orissa. The government of Orissa have established, and maintain, a number of relief camps to house these people until they are able to return to their homes.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian assistance his Department has provided to people displaced by the recent-based violence in Orissa state, India. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not provided humanitarian assistance for those displaced in Orissa. The government of India has not requested bilateral assistance to deal with this situation.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with Ministers from countries contributing to the Global Fund on the transparency and effectiveness of the Global Funds accounting and financial monitoring systems. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Officials from the Department for International Development (DFID) are in frequent contact with donors to the fund and other board membersimplementing countries, civil society organisations from both the north and south, communities living with the three diseases, the private sector and private foundations, and the funds secretariat. The funds accounting and financial monitoring systems are extremely important given the size of the UKs support to the fund, and we take them very seriously. We consult with the members of the funds finance and audit committee, and the funds chief financial officer, on the funds accounts and budgets.
We also strongly support the Independent Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which carries out oversight for investigations, audit and inspection of activities and transactions, to assess the effectiveness of internal controls and to identify areas that will enable the Global Fund to achieve better results. The OIG has identified four priority areas, namely:
Providing assurance on grant processes;
Providing assurance on other main business processes;
Supporting the managerial and governance initiatives, and
Strengthening the office of the OIG.
John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of the Department's emergency humanitarian budget he expects to spend on education over the next 12 months; if he will meet Save the Children to discuss its report, Delivering Education for Children in Emergency: A Key Building Bloc for the Future. 
Mr. Michael Foster:
The Department for International Development's (DFID) humanitarian policy is to respond to crises as they occur. DFID does not plan emergency humanitarian funding in advance. We seek to ensure that priority life-saving needs are met in emergency situations, taking into account the capacities of the
country affected. In an emergency, education is considered alongside other humanitarian needs and is funded by donors in situations where it is considered high priority by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the affected country.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the effect of UK development assistance to Somalia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Developments (DFID) support to Somalia since 2004 has been implemented through the UN and NGOs, concentrating on basic services, governance and humanitarian relief. Our support is:
Helping to combat malaria through distribution of bed nets (120,000 in Somaliland);
Improving education quality through distribution of school books and provision of alternative education programmes (up from 40,000 to 70,000 enrolled in Somaliland);
Providing much needed food aid (supporting the equivalent of 83,000 people over the last four years);
Helping sustain prospects for peace (essential for a long-term solution to poverty in Somalia) through technical support to the peace processes; and
Building the capacity of Transitional Federal Institutions and the Somaliland authorities (for example, financial management systems).
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government is taking to promote health care and education in relation to HIV and AIDS to (a) women and (b) men in Swaziland. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Developments (DFID) support to Swaziland is through its Southern Africa Regional Programme. As part of this, DFID is providing £19 million (2007-11) to community organisations which address health issues through the regional Behaviour Change Communication Programme (BCC).
The BCC provides funding of over £500,000 each year in Swaziland through the South African non-governmental organisation Soul City and local partner Lusweti, to provide popular and easily understood information on health and HIV and AIDS. This programme reaches over 80 per cent. of adults and young women and men in Swaziland.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 29 October 2008, Official Report, column 1166W, on voluntary work, what assessment his Department has made of the cost-effectiveness of Platform2s use of British Airways flights. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Platform2 programme was launched in February 2008. It is implemented on behalf of the Department for International Development (DFID) by Christian Aid in partnership with Islamic Relief and the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC). A mid-term review of this programme, including cost-effectiveness issues, will be carried out in mid-2009 with a final review due in early 2011.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the safeguards in place to ensure that the Government's contribution to the Global Fund's recent donation to Zimbabwe will be used for the purposes for which it was intended; 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
A recent independent audit of the Global Fund's financial management arrangements in Zimbabwe reported that $7.3 million, from a previous grant, had been withheld from intended recipients by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Following demands by the Global Fund, this money has now been released
back to the commercial banks where the Global Fund principal recipients hold accounts. A further $500 million, recently approved in principle by the Global Fund board, will only go ahead when a fully accountable funding mechanism is secured.
The UK, along with other donors, has actively encouraged and been fully supportive of the audit and the tougher stance taken by the Global Fund. Funding of this type is desperately needed in Zimbabwe, but it must be delivered through mechanisms which ensure that it reaches deserving people on the ground.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Under current circumstances and management arrangements, we do not consider the Reserve Bank (RBZ) of Zimbabwe to be, in any way, a credible partner in our humanitarian and social protection programmes. The RBZ is not open to scrutiny: its operations remain unaccountable and appear to be aimed primarily at propping up the ruling elite, especially through the allocation of scarce foreign exchange. The Department for International Development (DFID) does not transfer funds to the government of Zimbabwe and no payments are made through the Reserve Bank.