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Privy Council

Norman Baker: To ask the President of the Council who was present at the meeting of the Privy Council on 26 June; and what business was transacted. [71795]

Mr. Robin Cook: The following were present at the Council held on 26 June:


The following Orders were approved at the Council. For statutory Orders the enabling power is given in brackets.


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Information on the dates of Privy Council meetings is now available on my Department's website, www.privycouncil.gov.uk. A list of the Orders approved at each meeting is published on the site shortly after it has taken place.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Commonwealth Education Projects

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what initiatives her Department has taken in 2002 in connection with education projects within the Commonwealth. [70614]

Clare Short: The Government are strongly committed to the Millennium Development Goals on education: achieving universal primary education by 2015 and eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary schooling by 2005. Since May 1997, DFID has committed over £700 million to support primary education for poor people, mainly in the Commonwealth. We are using these funds to support national education policies which form part of developing country Governments' broader poverty reduction strategies. In 2002 our priority is to implement successfully these long-term programmes and to develop new partnerships with Commonwealth Governments.

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Achieving these education goals will require a strong commitment from Commonwealth Governments to prioritise primary education within their spending plans. Many Commonwealth countries will also need considerable external assistance. The Government are working to mobilise the international community in support of Education for All. Our aim is to achieve consensus by the end of 2002 on well co-ordinated international action for mobilising new resources and better co-ordinated programmes designed to meet this goal. We are giving high priority to working with the World bank to develop its new Action Plan for accelerating progress towards Education for All. We believe the Action Plan's fast track initiative provides an opportunity to try to ensure that no country genuinely committed to economic development, poverty reduction and good governance is denied the chance to achieve universal primary education through lack of resources.

The bank's fast track initiative offers seven poor Commonwealth countries the chance to qualify for additional financing for primary education if they can demonstrate that their Government is fully committed and has effective policies in place. A further four Commonwealth countries can apply for assistance in building capacity, filling gaps in data and developing effective policies for primary education. We will continue to support the fast track proposals and participate in on-going discussions with the World bank about implementation arrangements.

Afghanistan

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the number of attacks on aid workers in Afghanistan. [71139]

Clare Short: There have been a handful of attacks on aid workers in some areas of Afghanistan and we remain concerned about reports of insecurity in northern Afghanistan, including attacks on aid workers. We support the actions of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Lakhdar Brahimi, who has written to President Karzai, and visited the north to discuss security issues with the various factions.

We shall continue to monitor the situation closely and to encourage the transitional Administration to work to ensure that all parts of Afghanistan are as safe as possible in order to allow aid work to continue across the country.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the Defence Secretary regarding his Department's assistance in reconstruction work in Afghanistan. [71143]

Clare Short: I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a number of issues. Reform of the security sector is vital to the future stability of Afghanistan. DFID, in consultation with colleagues in the FCO and MOD, is working for the creation of accountable national military and police forces subject to the rule of law and under central and civilian control; anti-narcotics activities; and the re-establishment of an appropriate judicial system. The UK has in principle committed $33 million to this process.

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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of pledges made to fund Afghanistan's reconstruction at the Bonn Conference have been met. [71140]

Clare Short: Pledges for the reconstruction of Afghanistan were made at the Tokyo Conference. Precise data on the disbursement of aid to Afghanistan are not yet available. However, we estimate that donor pledges to Afghanistan amount to a little under $2 billion in 2002, of which about $1.1 billion has been committed and about $0.8 billion disbursed. The pace of further disbursements will now depend on improvements in security and access and on the completion of the National Development Framework and development budget.

Liberia

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to support civil society groups in Liberia. [71145]

Clare Short: We have no development programme to Liberia. Over the last few years my Department has supported a limited number of projects, most of which have been delivered through civil society organisations. These have included community development projects, and projects to enhance peace and promote reconciliation between ethnic groups. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also provided support to promote democratic values and reduce tension between ethnic groups.

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries

Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what she estimates the main benefits were for heavily indebted poor countries arising from the recent G8 talks. [70833]

Clare Short: At Kananaskis last month, the G8 reaffirmed their commitment to the full financing of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and agreed to provide an additional US$1 billion for the HIPC Trust Fund to help the multilateral development banks meet their share of HIPC costs. The additional money will provide the remaining financing required under the HIPC initiative, and will help to ensure that those countries whose debt position has worsened because of the global economic slowdown and falls in commodity prices will get enough debt relief to enable them to exit the HIPC process with sustainable levels of debt.

Departmental Spending

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will provide a breakdown of how money was spent by her Department in each year since 1998–99 on each programme listed in table 4 of annex 1 to the departmental report 2002 under the headings: (a) bilateral country and regional programmes, (b) middle east and north Africa, (c) south Asia, (d) east Africa and Pacific, (e) Asia regional, (f) Latin America and Caribbean, (g) Europe and Central Asia, (h) overseas territories, (i) conflict and humanitarian affairs, (j) research and economic policy, (k) education, (l) enterprise development, (m) health and population, (n) international trade, (o) private sector policy, (p) rural livelihoods and environmental policy,

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(q) other non-country/regional specific programmes, (r) regional development banks and (s) the European Community Attribution programme. [71149]

Clare Short: Further information on expenditure against these programmes is given in tables 7–7.5 and 8 of the 2001 edition of "Statistics on International Development", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. The expenditure comprises contractual payments, grants, core contributions and encashments of promissory notes.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will provide a breakdown of how money was spent by her Department in each year since 1998–99 on each programme listed in Table 2 of Annexe 1 of the departmental report 2002. [71150]

Clare Short: Details of the form of "bilateral development assistance" are given in tables 7–7.5 of the 2001 edition of "Statistics on International Development", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. This expenditure comprises contractual payments for the supply of goods and services, grants to recipient country governments and civil society organisations, as well as the provision of technical co-operation and humanitarian assistance.

"Multilateral development assistance", including contributions to the "Global Environment Fund" and the "EC development programme", comprises grants to international organisations as well as drawdowns on promissory notes deposited in accordance with UK agreements. Details of the organisations involved are given in Table 8 of "Statistics on International Development".

Expenditure on "conflict prevention" covers activities funded from the inter-departmental Conflict Prevention Pools established in 2001–02.

"Overseas Superannuation": this expenditure relates to pensions paid to former colonial service and Indian Empire officers and their dependants for which the Government have agreed to assume responsibility under the Aid Programme and the index-linked increases paid on these pensions under the UK Pensions Increase legislation.

About 90 per cent. of the 24,000 pensions paid to former colonial and Indian Empire pensioners are paid direct to bank accounts worldwide, with the remaining 10 per cent. paid direct to pensioners by payable order.

The "Gibraltar Social Insurance Fund" benefits Spanish people who worked in Gibraltar and contributed to the fund. It takes the form of pension payments.

"Administration costs" cover staff costs (salaries) and general administrative overheads such as travel, training and accommodation costs.


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