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23. Mr. David Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Guinea. [152231]

Clare Short: There are around 420,000 refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia in Guinea, most having been there for a number of years. Around 135,000 Sierra

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Leonean refugees are located in an area known as the Parrot's Beak, adjoining the southern border. This area also contains a significant number of internally displaced (IDPs) Guineans. Over the last few months, camps, villages and towns there have been attacked frequently by Revolutionary United Front and other rebel groups from Sierra Leone and Liberia. Refugees and IDPs have also been innocent victims of action taken by the Guinean army to repulse the rebels.

At present, the situation in the area is calmer. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is starting to evacuate refugees from the Parrot's Beak, and take them to places of safety further away from the border region. At the same time, UNHCR is continuing to assist with the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Conakry to Sierra Leone, currently running at about 1,000 a week.

Since December 2000, DFID has pledged more than £12 million to help in this work. We are also working with the Government of Sierra Leone to create the conditions needed for more extensive repatriation, first and foremost better security.

Indian Earthquake

24. Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is giving to reconstruction and assistance following the earthquake in Gujarat. [152232]

Clare Short: My Department has made an overall allocation of £10 million to support the emergency relief effort without reducing our spending in other parts of India. To date over £8 million of this total allocation has been spent. As well as providing immediate support to the Search and Rescue effort and transporting numerous relief items to the region, funds have been channelled through a number of agencies for the provision of essential relief items such as tents, blankets, medical supplies, food, water and sanitation. We have also established an Emergency Field Office which is working closely with the Indian authorities and operational agencies to address outstanding needs. In the longer term we have offered advice to the Indian Government on strengthening disaster preparedness arrangements which will include Gujarat.

The Indian Government are presently developing plans for rehabilitation and reconstruction; it is expected that these will be largely funded by the World bank and the Asian Development bank.

EU Development Programmes

26. Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she last met members of the European Commission to discuss EU development programmes. [152234]

Clare Short: I frequently meet members of the European Commission to discuss EU development programmes. I most recently met Commissioner Nielson (Development) on 8 February and Commissioner Patten (External Relations) on 28 February. I confirmed our support for the extensive reform efforts now under way and stressed the need for effective implementation of the new EC Development Policy. I also held a telephone

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conversation with Commissioner Lamy (Trade) on 6 March, during which I emphasised the importance of mainstreaming development thinking into trade policy.

Southern Africa

27. Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement about her Department's humanitarian work in southern Africa. [152235]

Clare Short: My Department is engaged in humanitarian assistance in the region on a number of fronts. Following the immediate relief operation in response to last year's floods in Mozambique we have remained engaged in rehabilitation as well as in developing new measures, via the UN system, to strengthen UN and Government of Mozambique contingency arrangements for future disasters. Over the past few months DFID, FCO, MOD, RNLI and the UK Fire Service have been working together to prepare contingency plans for different emergency scenarios. In addition we have continued to work closely with the Government of Mozambique's National Directorate of Water to set up early warning flood systems with the UK Met Office. DFID has also granted £250,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross.

Following the onset of the current floods, we have switched gear to immediate response operations which are deliberately aimed at 'preventative rescue and relief', i.e. extricating people before the worst hits them and there is substantial loss of life and suffering. We are currently:

Beyond this, in Zimbabwe, DFID has agreed to fund an Emergency Preparedness project, (£166,000, one year) to be implemented by Save The Children Fund (UK). It is preparing for the potential humanitarian crisis which may emerge later this year as a result of, among other issues, prolonged food shortages and large displacements of commercial farm workers. The project will gather and disseminate information on the current situation in commercial farms and peri-urban settlements, and work to build effective networks within civil society and between civil society and donors/government.


29. Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on Government assistance to Mongolia. [152237]

Clare Short: An appeal for $11.8 million has been launched by the Government of Mongolia through the United Nations in response to the current winter disaster or 'Dzud'. We have offered £1 million for the provision of emergency relief under the framework of the UN appeal to be channelled through humanitarian agencies working in Mongolia. The appeal aims to target vulnerable groups in the most severely affected provinces and seeks to fulfil unmet relief needs. It focuses on

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building the disaster management of the Mongolian State Emergency Commission and other relevant national partners to enhance preparedness and future response.

In 2000, we contributed nearly £200,000 to an IFRC appeal aimed at 35,000 of the most vulnerable Mongolian herders.

We also provide a Small Grants Scheme allocation (currently £225,000) to Mongolia. Activities funded through multilateral channels to which we contribute include support to the World bank's sustainable livelihoods programme and to the UN programme supporting national development priorities such as reproductive health care, distance learning and institutional capacity building. DFID also participles in the thematic donor meetings in Mongolia and will continue to work to ensure that the multilateral donor agencies remain poverty-focused in Mongolia.

Pro-poor Growth

30. Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what work her Department is undertaking to define pro-poor growth; and if she will make a statement relating to pro-poor growth in Africa. [152238]

Clare Short: In September 2000, we published a paper, "Halving World Poverty by 2015", which proposes a framework for poverty reduction based on economic growth, equity and security; and eight priorities for the international community. This has been well received.

In sub-Saharan Africa it will not be possible to reach the International Development Targets without sustained high rates of growth--7 per cent per annum or more. In recent years, some countries have been doing well, but very many have not.

While economic growth can benefit the poor, for example by increasing the share of incomes earned by the poor, poverty reduction will depend primarily on action taken by African governments. Good policy environments are essential, so that resources can be used to maximum effect--those of government, donors and the private sector.

Pro-poor policies mean that poor people not only receive a proportionately larger share of publicly-funded services, but that they have greater opportunities to earn income, especially in rural areas. It also means that the poor are able to participate in and influence the policy-making process in their favour.

Our aim is to assist African countries in implementing poverty reduction strategies. Together with the international community, we have signed up to the PRSP approach. This enables us all to work together more effectively, with governments of developing countries taking the lead. This is challenging. It requires:

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Civil Servants (Salary Increases)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the average percentage increase in salaries of non-industrial civil servants, excluding members of the Senior Civil Service, was in her Department for 2000-01. [152793]

Clare Short: The headline pay settlement was 2.5 per cent. on the pay bill and, with the additional funds from staff turnover, staff in post received performance related increases averaging 4.4 per cent.

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