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Sub-Saharan Africa

18. Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her Department's work in sub-Saharan Africa. [37332]

Clare Short: Sub-Saharan Africa suffers the deepest and most widespread poverty of any continent and faces the greatest challenges in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. We have significant programmes in many countries, supporting where possible nationally- owned poverty reduction strategies, both in particular sectors such as health or education, but also through direct support for national budgets. This country-level support is complemented by work at the regional and sub-regional level to help address cross-border issues such as conflict and trade. In 2000–01, total UK bilateral development assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa was £757 million, up from £445 million in 1996–97.


19. Joyce Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on progress on the reconstruction of the Afghan economy. [37333]

Clare Short: We continue to work with the Afghan Interim Administration (AU) to begin the reconstruction of Afghanistan, while continuing to support immediate

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humanitarian assistance and quick impact recovery and rehabilitation projects. The newly established Assistance Coordination Authority in Afghanistan will be the primary focal point for co-ordination with the AU. The United Nations Development Programme currently administers the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund for the payment of civil service salaries, to which DFID has contributed over £2 million. Later this year the World bank will establish a successor trust fund. We are also participating in missions led by the International Monetary Fund to assess what support could be provided to the Ministry of Finance and the Central bank. At the Tokyo Conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan in January 2002, I pledged £200 million from DFID's budget over the next five years for both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.

22. Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [37336]

25. Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [37339]

Clare Short: The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains fragile and significant needs will remain for some time to come in challenging and volatile operating conditions. Due to severe weather conditions and continuing security concerns in some areas of the country, there are still pockets of un-met need where vulnerable people cannot be reached. With our support, the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies continue to do what they can to overcome these obstacles and deliver life-saving assistance to those in need. Since October 2001, a record 250,000 tonnes of food aid have been distributed to over 6 million people.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the UN Economic and Social Council report "Discrimination against women and children in Afghanistan"; and if she will adopt its recommendations in respect of UK operations in Afghanistan. [38130]

Clare Short: We welcome the UN Economic and Social Council's report on discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan and support its recommendations.

We recognise the need to build the capacity of Afghanistan's women to enable them to take full part in the reconstruction of their society, including the new Interim Administration, and to ensure that legal, constitutional and other provisions are not discriminatory against women. Our funding for support of Afghan women during the recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan is being channelled through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations who will work closely with the Interim Administration and who have expressed a commitment to involving Afghan women in the design and implementation of their strategies and programmes.

To date this includes an allocation of $1 million to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for a programme to support Afghan women's leadership through awareness raising, capacity building and mainstreaming of gender issues in development activities; $0.5 million to the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) for preliminary

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human rights assistance activities in Afghanistan; as well as local level, quick impact recovery projects supporting women. We are also in discussion with the Afghan Ministry for Women's Affairs on how we can provide support for its establishment and activities.


20. Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures her Department is taking to help developing countries combat corruption, with particular reference to the security sector. [37334]

Clare Short: Our partnerships with developing countries increasingly focus on the reduction of corruption through the establishment of Anti—corruption authorities and by the tightening of financial management and budget discipline, including reducing off-budget defence expenditure; the development of procurement systems designed to ensure thorough appraisal of value for money, transparency and probity; the strengthening of parliamentary oversight mechanisms; and acceptance of a role for civil society in such scrutiny. We are also increasing our focus on Security Sector reform and full democratic accountability and transparent management of this sector.


21. Phil Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what policies her Department is pursuing to increase access to medicines in developing countries. [37335]

Clare Short: We are committed to working with our developing country partners and other international organisations to address the four key factors which are recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as effecting access to medicines. These are sustainable financing, affordable pricing, reliable health and supply systems and the rational selection and use of existing drugs.

On sustainable financing, we are supporting, with a commitment of $200 million from DFID's budget over five years, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, which will help pay for increased coverage of proven interventions for three diseases and some associated health systems strengthening .

The Working Group on Access to medicines, which I chair is working to bring about more affordable pricing. The UK is also supporting work undertaken by the WHO, World Trade Organisation and the European Commission on drug pricing.

We have committed over £1 billion since 1997 to strengthening developing countries' health systems, building their capacity both to deliver medicines to the poor and to make effective choices about the selection and use of drugs.

Great Lakes Region

23. Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the prospects for peace and long-term development in the Great Lakes region. [37337]

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Clare Short: The vital element in achieving peace in the Great Lakes region is the full implementation of the Arusha and Lusaka Peace Accords. The Government continue to press all parties to these agreements to honour their commitments. I was encouraged from my recent visit to the Great Lakes that there is now a window of opportunity for achieving peace, provided the commitments expressed to us by Heads of Government are translated into real action on the ground and the international community and Security Council also focus on the full implementation of Lusaka. Key will be the successful implementation of MONUC deployment into eastern DRC, and a positive outcome to the Sun City talks currently underway. Progress in the peace process will enable the international community, finally, to concentrate on a partnership with governments in the region for the long-term development of their countries—an outcome keenly awaited and much needed by the long suffering population of the region.


24. Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the UK's aid contribution is for Brazil. [37338]

Clare Short: DFID's programme for Brazil supports the fight against poverty through promoting social inclusion, addressing inequality and fostering pro-poor, sustainable growth. The current programme is focused on reducing poverty through improved natural resource management, health and good governance, working with government, civil society and other donor partners.

Our role, as in other Middle Income countries is to support more effective use of Brazil's resources and resources available from the EC and Development Banks for the reduction of poverty. The UK provided £7.5 million in 2001–02 for technical assistance and DFID provided approximately £2 million (in 2000) through the EC programme.

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