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Departmental Manpower

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether any full-time equivalent members of staff in (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies are working on projects relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [283161]

Mr. Michael Foster: There are no full-time equivalent members of staff in the Department for International Development (DFID) working exclusively on projects relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

DFID’s involvement in the games is through providing funding to the International Inspiration Programme, which is co-ordinated by the UK Government’s Olympic Executive. As DFID does not manage the International Inspiration Programme directly, only a small amount of one full-time equivalent staff member’s time is spent on monitoring the project management of the initiative.

Departmental Pay

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which (a) sections of his Department and (b) non-departmental public bodies
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for which he is responsible have requested money saved from efficiency savings to be used for increased pay in their 2009 pay offers to staff. [282895]

Mr. Michael Foster: No sections or non-departmental public bodies of the Department for International Development (DFID) have asked for monies gained from efficiency savings to be used for pay increases in the 2009 pay offer to staff.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 485W, on departmental public expenditure, which projects funded by the Returns and Reintegration Fund counted as official development assistance; what the cost of each project was; and if he will make a statement. [272379]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.

One Returns and Reintegration Fund project counts as official development assistance. The Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders and Deported Persons programme supports the Jamaican Department for Correctional Services in rehabilitating and reintegrating Jamaican ex-offenders including former Jamaican prisoners returning from the UK. The project's aim is to reduce reoffending and improve security in Jamaica, and thereby to remove one of the main constraints to long-term economic development.

The total budget for this three year project is £2.97 million, with £2.035 million currently being financed from the fund. Project spend in financial year 2008-09 was approximately £170,000.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he plans to publish his Department's forthcoming White Paper on International Development [282552]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The forthcoming White Paper on International Development will be laid before Parliament prior to the summer recess.

Developing Countries: Languages

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had on the promotion of regional languages in developing countries. [282317]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.

As the Government Department responsible for policy on international human rights, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office encourages governments to protect the rights of all their citizens, including those belonging to minorities. We regularly raise the situation of those belonging to minorities in countries where we judge that protection of their rights is lacking. Our approach is guided in particular by Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.


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Development Aid

Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what resources his Department has committed to developing countries for (a) improving maternal health and (b) address sexual and reproductive (i) health and (ii) rights in each of the next three years. [282514]

Mr. Michael Foster: The UK Government are committed to spending £6 billion on strengthening health systems and services over the seven years to 2015. The Department for International Development's (DFID) country-led development approach is to support recipient governments to spend development assistance on the priorities they set themselves for helping their people out of poverty. These priorities are identified by analysis of the key health needs within countries—including sexual, reproductive and maternal health and rights. Direct support to governments is complimented by support to civil society and other implementing partners.

Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to fund programmes for the (a) screening and (b) treatment of ante-natal syphilis in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. [282515]

Mr. Michael Foster: The UK Government are investing £6 billion up to 2015 to strengthen health systems that will help to ensure that women in poor countries have access to quality reproductive health care.

The focus of Department for International Development (DFID) supported health system strengthening is to ensure that evidence-based, cost-effective interventions—such as syphilis screening and treatment in antenatal care—are accessible to all who need them.

The International Health Partnership, which was launched by the Prime Minister in September 2007, will help ensure that donor resources are better co-ordinated, that they back strong national health development plans and that they focus on strengthening health systems to deliver better services and improved health outcomes.

Gaza

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his most recent assessment is of the humanitarian situation in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [282495]

Mr. Michael Foster: The recent conflict intensified an already difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza. While the pace of deterioration has slowed since the ceasefire in January, the humanitarian situation remains extremely serious.

Most basic foodstuffs are now available in Gaza. However, high prices and access restrictions on many other food items mean that around 90 per cent. of Gazans are still partly dependent on food aid.

Success of the humanitarian response and early recovery effort requires opening of the crossings from Israel in order to allow movement of materials and personnel into Gaza. The UK continues to press the Israeli Government on this issue.


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India: Overseas Aid

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make it his policy to fund rehabilitation and community development projects in Kandmahal, Orissa State, India. [282866]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing £10 million for community development in Orissa through the Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) from 2004-10. So far, OTELP has helped increase incomes, reduce malnutrition and improve water and sanitation for over 375,000 tribal men and women in four districts, including Kandmahal.

Maternal Health Strategy

Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress his Department has made on preparing its forthcoming annual update on the implementation of its maternal health strategy; and if he will make a statement. [282476]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development’s (DFID) strategy “Reducing maternal deaths: evidence and action” was published in September 2004. Three progress reports have been published since then—in December 2005, April 2007 and June 2008.

We will update our existing maternal health strategy and incorporate into this our existing position paper on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (published July 2004). In producing the updated strategy will we draw on our experience to date of implementing our existing strategy and the information in our three progress reports. We have also commissioned an evidence paper to inform our thinking which should be completed in autumn 2009.

Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how he plans to consult stakeholders in the fields of (a) sexual and reproductive rights and (b) HIV/AIDS in preparing his Department's annual update on the implementation of its maternal health strategy. [282477]

Mr. Michael Foster: Earlier this year the Department for International Development (DFID) held an initial stakeholder workshop on the development of the new strategy with representatives from across the sexual and reproductive health and rights, maternal health and HIV and AIDS communities. The feedback from this event confirmed our view that the new strategy should cover both Millennium Development Goal 5 targets (5a to reduce maternal mortality and 5b to provide universal access to reproductive health).

In producing the updated strategy will we draw on our experience to date of implementing our existing strategy and the information in our three progress reports. We have also commissioned an evidence paper to inform our thinking which should be completed in autumn 2009. We will continue to consult with interested stakeholders as we move forward with the strategy development.


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Pakistan: International Assistance

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate has been made of the number of humanitarian (a) groups and (b) workers operating in Peshawar; and what recent assessment has been made of their capacity to meet the need for humanitarian assistance in that region. [281906]

Mr. Michael Foster: There are approximately 55 international humanitarian agencies working in the North West Frontier Province supporting those displaced by conflict. Many of these agencies have staff based in or visiting Peshawar, but most are primarily based in Islamabad. The Department for International Development (DFID) has not made an estimate of the number of humanitarian workers based in Peshawar as it is not an effective indicator of humanitarian capacity for operating in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) more generally.

Parliamentary Questions: Government Responses

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he plans to answer Question 272379, on official development assistance, tabled on 28 April 2009. [282564]

Mr. Michael Foster: Question 272379 has been transferred to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for answer. A response will be issued shortly.

Sri Lanka: International Assistance

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate has been made of the number of (a) aid agencies and (b) humanitarian workers operating in camps for displaced people in northern Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. [282821]

Mr. Michael Foster: In Vavuniya District, where the majority of internally displaced people (IDPs) are located, as of 28 June, the Department for International Development (DFID) estimates that there are approximately 40 local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 27 international NGOs, 11 UN agencies, two donor missions and four Red Cross entities (Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, International Committee of the Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross and German Red Cross). As many of these organisations have staff who also work in other districts it is difficult to estimate numbers of workers, but at any one time there may be between 500 and 1,000 workers engaged in humanitarian activities in Vavuniya District, not counting daily labourers.

Thailand and Burma

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the government of Thailand on the welfare and living conditions of people who have left eastern Burma owing to the renewed military operation in that region; and if he will make a statement. [282837]


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Mr. Michael Foster: Staff based in the British embassy in Bangkok have been in contact with the Thai Ministry of the Interior, and with non-governmental organisations working on the Thailand-Burma border, about the welfare and living conditions of recently arrived refugees from eastern Burma.

Humanitarian assistance for the refugees is being provided by the Thai authorities, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and non-governmental organisations. This assistance includes food, plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, bed-nets and medical care. Planning is under way to prepare a new site in Thailand to accommodate the refugees.

The Department for International Development plans to provide about £7.4 million over the next three years to support Burmese refugees in Thailand and internally displaced people inside Burma.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his most recent assessment is of the humanitarian situation on the Thai-Burmese border. [282501]

Mr. Michael Foster: Latest estimates from the Government of Thailand, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) suggest that about 3,200 refugees have recently entered Thailand to escape fighting in eastern Burma.

Immediate humanitarian assistance for the refugees is being provided by the Thai authorities, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and non- governmental organisations. This assistance includes food, plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, bed-nets and medical care. Planning is underway to prepare a new site in Thailand to accommodate the refugees.

The Department for International Development plans to provide about £7.4 million over the next three years to support Burmese refugees in Thailand and internally displaced people inside Burma.

Cabinet Office

Charities: Economic Downturn

10. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what her Department’s latest assessment is of the effects of the recession on charities. [283147]

Angela E. Smith: In recognition of the challenges for the challenges for the sector during the recession, we have provided a significant package of support for the third sector of up to £42.5 million of targeted support, plus the £16.7 million hardship fund announced in the Budget in April, plus the £1.2 billion future jobs fund which the sector will have a share in.

This comprehensive package of measures includes support for volunteers, grants to small organisations, social enterprises, support for jobs, and loans to assist partnership working.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what her Department’s latest assessment is of the effects of the recession on charities. [283140]


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Angela E. Smith: We recognise there is a double challenge for the sector during the economic downturn—an increased demand for services and concerns about their financial viability.

In response to that we have provided a significant package of support for the third sector of up to £42.5 million of targeted support which is delivering real help now, plus the £16.7 million hardship fund announced in the Budget in April, plus the £1.2 billion future jobs fund which the sector will have a share in.

This comprehensive package of measures includes support for volunteers, grants to small organisations, social enterprises, support for jobs and loans to assist partnership working.


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