Previous Section Index Home Page


School Sport (Bristol)

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will make a statement on the provision of sports in schools in Bristol; [51076]

Mr. Caborn: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has received 50 letters about the provision of sports facilities at Cotham School. Bristol City area recently received a provisional allocation of just under £4.5 million from the New Opportunities PE and Sport Programme. It is for the local education authority, working with partners and schools, to determine the priorities for this funding in Bristol, based on its assessment of greatest need. The New Opportunities Fund will be assessing the strategies and initial portfolio of projects submitted to it by the LEA to ensure they are based on local consultation and evidence of local need.

Digital Television

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on what date she (a) received the first report from the Digital Television Action Plan project and (b) will publish it. [51070]

Dr. Howells: I receive regular reports on progress by Government and digital television stakeholders in delivering the tasks set out in the Digital Television Action Plan. With Douglas Alexander, I chaired the first quarterly meeting of the Digital Television Steering Board on 10 April. This meeting reviewed progress to the end of March, and

18 Apr 2002 : Column 1041W

considered future developments. An updated version of the Action Plan recording progress will be available on the digital television website www.digitaltelevision.gov.uk shortly.

PRIVY COUNCIL

"Continuing the Reform"

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Council when he will respond to the report from the Public Administration Select Committee, 'Continuing the Reform'; and if he will make a statement. [50862]

Mr. Robin Cook: The Government have today sent a memorandum to the Public Administration Select Committee with an interim response to their report 'The Second Chamber: Continuing the Reform'.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Better Quality Services Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which of the services of her Department have not been reviewed under the Better Quality Services Initiative; and when they will be reviewed. [50321]

Clare Short: Four out of seven service functions have been reviewed as part of our BQS programme. The remainder, for accounts, internal audit and office services, are expected to be reviewed during 2002–03. The timing and scope of future BQS work are currently under consideration.

Reproductive Health

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the impact of the withdrawal of United States funds for reproductive health services in the developing world; and what steps have been taken to make up any shortfall. [48998]

Clare Short: Despite the decision of the US to withhold funds from certain organisations, the US remains a major source of support for services aimed at improving reproductive health.

Sexual and reproductive health care in developing countries continues to be a key priority for my Department. Achieving universal access to reproductive health for all by 2015 underpins our approach. Good reproductive health is of course also vital to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to lowering maternal mortality and combating HIV/AIDS. We are working in partnership with national Governments and key organisations to strengthen the capacity of health systems to deliver good reproductive health care and services.

My Department's total bilateral expenditure on sexual and reproductive health activities, including HIV/AIDS, has risen from £38.4 million in the financial year 1997–98 to £206.6 million in 2001–02. We also provide significant levels of funding to UNFPA, UNAIDS and WHO to support their work to improve the quantity and availability of reproductive health services.

18 Apr 2002 : Column 1042W

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development under the Global Health Fund for fighting AIDS, what role the provision of comprehensive reproductive health services will play. [48996]

Clare Short: The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will consider applications against the principles, scope and purpose laid out in its framework documents, which can be found at www.globalfundatm.org.

The UK believes the fund should support applications for funding for reproductive health services only where these are clearly focused on preventing or treating one or more of the three diseases. It will be important for the fund to focus on supporting interventions where global financing will be most effective and where it can add most value to existing national and international efforts. Other channels of support will be more appropriate for wider efforts against the three diseases and for support to reproductive health services more broadly.

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the adequacy of supplies of condoms in fighting AIDS in the developing world; and what steps are being taken to improve the supply. [48999]

Clare Short: Ensuring the accessibility of affordable condoms is a key priority for my Department. The UK is one of the leading bilateral providers of condoms and other forms of contraceptives in developing countries. We are also supporting a number of condom social marketing programmes which aim to make condoms accessible and affordable to the poorest. It is important that efforts meet the current and increasing need for condoms and to promote demand for condom use.

We are working closely with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to help them develop a global strategy to help governments strengthen their capacity, to ensure that by 2015 all primary health care and family planning facilities are able to provide the widest achievable range of safe and effective family planning and contraceptive methods, including condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS.

In January 2001, we provided UNFPA with a grant of £25 million to help meet immediate needs for reproductive health commodities, including condoms, in a range of countries facing shortages.

Iraqi Refugees

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support her Department is giving UNHCR for anticipating the arrival of refugees from Iraq to Iran. [48728]

Clare Short: We are not currently providing any support to UNHCR for this purpose. No appeal has been launched by the UNHCR. We will give consideration to any appeal as and when one is launched.

Afghanistan

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement about the flow of refugees out of Afghanistan into Pakistan; in which areas this is occurring and at what

18 Apr 2002 : Column 1043W

level; what the reasons for this are; and what is being done by the international community to counteract this. [49004]

Clare Short: While voluntary returns to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran continue to gather momentum, some Afghans continue to leave their country. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that approximately 40,000 Afghans are gathered in the Killi Faizo transit camp at the Chaman border crossing between Balochistan Province in Pakistan and Kandahar Province in Southern Afghanistan. Many of the group have been in the area since late February 2002. The majority of Afghans at Chaman are fleeing the effects of drought, while others are ethnic Pushtuns claiming to have been targeted by bandits or other armed groups in the north of Afghanistan, where they are a minority group. UNHCR are in discussions with the Pakistani authorities to urge them to allow those seeking refuge and assistance to be registered and transferred to existing refugee camps in Pakistan. At the same time, UNHCR and its partners are working to improve conditions—including water and sanitation and health facilities—in the waiting area; and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are carrying out distribution of emergency food supplies.

Pakistan

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action is being taken by the Government of Pakistan and representatives of the international community to address tensions between local residents and refugees in the Balochistan area of Pakistan. [49005]

Clare Short: Balochisan has suffered a prolonged drought and refugee crisis. The Government of Pakistan and international donor are working to alleviate both aspects of this crisis.

The UK has provided support to both refugees and host communities. UN agencies are assisting with the voluntary repatriation of refugees, and are currently considering packages of assistance to help Balochistan and NWFP with the post-refugee rehabilitation effort. The Asian Development bank and the World bank have provided assistance to alleviate the impact of the drought, and the World Food Programme has just launched an appeal for Balochistan.


Next Section Index Home Page