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(a) 2005-06: £623,353
(b) 2006-07: £545,284
(c) 2007-08: £514,962
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many press releases have been issued by his Department in each year since 1997-98; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether there has been any nugatory cost to his Department relating to tendered procurement where the tender process has been cancelled prior to the award of the contract. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: During the 2005 to 2008 financial years DFID aborted 32 procurements. These were almost entirely tenders for business on behalf of developing country recipients, whose priorities and plans sometimes change after tendering action has started. DFID has made no payments to bidders in respect of nugatory work. The only costs are the staff resources we deployed on aborted processes. Records of these costs are not routinely disaggregated between each tender, and could not be calculated without disproportionate effort.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the progress of the International Health Partnership towards improving maternal health. 
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will place in the Library a copy of the comparative study of the effectiveness of different multilateral institutions referred to on page 11 of his Departments Efficiency Technical Notes. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: A copy of the comparative study of the effectiveness of different multilateral institutions referred to on page 11 of the Department for International Developments Efficiency technical notes will be placed in the Library and can be found at:
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
World cereal prices have declined substantially over the last few months, with wheat falling
the most by 60 per cent. to $248 from its peak in March. The current financial crisis is a potentially important factor, but this is currently empirically unproven. Other important factors include record 2008 harvests, the steep drop in world crude oil prices, and appreciation of the US dollar.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation suggest that if current difficulties in access to finance continue, next season's plantings and output could be affected, leading to another price increase in 2009 and further food insecurity. While global prices may continue to fall until the end of the year, the economic slowdown could reduce yield growth as producers spend less on irrigation, fertilisation, and other inputs necessary to boost yields.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department takes to ensure that aid to India is delivered in a non-discriminatory manner, with particular reference to the Dalit peoples. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development's (DFID) programmes in India conform to the non-discrimination provisions of the Indian Constitution. DFID supports specific government strategies, such as positive discrimination and provision of incentives, which are used to benefit disadvantaged groups. DFID tracks the impacts of its programmes on different social groups and women to make sure these strategies are working.
For example, in the DFID-supported elementary education programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, greater resources are allocated to districts with a high concentration of Dalits, and free text books and school uniforms are provided to socially-excluded groups. Dalit teachers are recruited to encourage Dalit students to enrol, stay in school and get the most out of their time there. Dalit children's share in elementary enrolments improved from 18.6 per cent. to 19.9 per cent. between 2006 and 2007. Similarly, the DFID-supported Reproductive and Child Health Programme has a specific aim to increase access to quality health services for the most socially excluded. As a result of this programme, the percentage of institutional deliveries among women increased by 30 per cent. between 2006 and early 2008, a large proportion of whom are Dalits as the programme specifically targets Dalit women.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will publish a list of all bilateral projects for which his Department has provided funding at or above the level of £100,000 in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the answer of 13 June 2007, Official Report, column 1082W, on Lebanon, on how many occasions in the last five years his Department has funded National Audit Office missions to countries which receive UK financial assistance. 
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department takes to ensure that investments abroad, through (a) CDC Group and (b) other bodies do not use with offshore tax regimes that are designated as harmful by the EU Code of Conduct. 
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 669W, on overseas aid, what assessment he has made of the UK's progress towards meeting the UN target of 0.7 per cent. of gross national income being spent on overseas development aid by 2013. 
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2008, Official Report, column 1325W, on environment protection: overseas aid, what criteria he uses to judge improvements in forest governance; and what performance indicators have been established for the voluntary partnership agreement. 
Mr. Thomas: Permanence can be monitored by use of satellite imagery, aerial photographs and ground surveys. Improvements in permanence are influenced by the effectiveness of enforcement of regulations and by the quality and frequency of monitoring.
The Parties to a Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement will establish a joint mechanism to facilitate the monitoring and review of the Agreement. The parties will consider any matter relating to effective implementation of the Agreement. In particular the parties will:
Recommend the date upon which the FLEGT licensing scheme should be fully operational;
Review reports issued by the Independent Monitor on assessment of the effectiveness of the legality assurance scheme;
Assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of this Agreement, in accordance with relevant good practice and criteria to be agreed by the parties and address any issues raised as a result of the assessment;
Publish an annual report on progress in implementation of the Agreement.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Platform2 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). Platform2 focuses on less advantaged young adults, so priority has been placed on ensuring effective steps are taken to inform eligible young people about the programme.
These steps include: Publicising the scheme through Further Education colleges, education and youth media, and Connexions and Jobcentre Plus. Music artists popular with young people have also been used to support and promote the scheme.
Platform2 volunteers also play a key role in publicising the programme through talks in their local communities, and use of local and online media to place stories about their experiences. A free-phone information line enables interested young people to talk to returning volunteers.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2008, Official Report, column 1326W, on Pakistan: overseas aid, what steps he has taken to raise £10 million from the private sector; and at what cost. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: With support from the Department for International Development (DFID), the State Bank of Pakistan has started the process of mobilising funds from the private sector for micro finance. Two licences have been issued to micro finance banks to begin raising funds from international investors. Under one of these licences a consortium of commercial banks is already negotiating a loan of over £10 million, although as previously stated, resources from the private sector have not yet started to flow. It is anticipated that private sector funds will be provided at the prevailing interest rate, which is currently 15 per cent.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 3 November 2008, Official Report, columns 112-3W, on Pakistan: overseas aid, what mechanisms will be used to monitor progress in macroeconomic policy in the area of general budget support. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: A number of monitoring mechanisms will be used to assess macroeconomic policy, including regular visits from the IMF assuming that a stand by facility is agreed. These will consider issues such as fiscal and external balances. We will also assess economic reporting provided both by the Government of Pakistan and the World Bank.
A comprehensive mechanism will be put into place with the World Bank and others in order to assess the Government of Pakistan's public financial management systems into which budget support is provided. This is a standard mechanism used in a number of countries, known as a Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 3 November 2008, Official Report, columns 112-3W, on Pakistan: overseas aid, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of semi-formal financial services in Pakistan. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) has financed an access to finance survey, which has shown that access to both formal and semi-formal financial services to the poor has expanded by approximately a third during the last year. Of the 1.7 million micro finance users 61 per cent. are presently supported by semi-formal financial sources. However, the trend in Pakistan is moving towards more formal financial services. DFID's Financial Inclusion programme is helping providers of semi-formal financial services to either become formal banks or strengthen their capacity to access commercial funding.
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