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23 Oct 2002 : Column 319W—continued

Poppy Cultivation (Afghanistan)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's assessment is of the change in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in the last 12 months; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce this cultivation. [74887]

Clare Short: 2001 was an atypical year for poppy cultivation because of a ban imposed by the Taliban regime. After the fall of the Taliban there was a resurgence in poppy planting, and estimates of area cultivated are only slightly less than that in 2000. This is in spite of a Decree by the Afghan Interim Administration in January 2002 banning the production and processing of opium, and an eradication and compensation scheme which destroyed an estimated 25–30 per cent. of the crop. We are hopeful that poppy cultivation will decline as the international community promotes efforts to create alternative livelihood opportunities for farmers, and to improve the interdiction capacity by the Afghan authorities charged with enforcing the ban. This is only likely to come about as security is maintained and the reconstruction process gathers momentum.

My Department is committed to supporting measures that will help to develop alternative livelihood opportunities for poor people, including in poppy growing areas, in order that there is a consistent shift away from both poverty and poppy cultivation. I have already approved a #1m contribution to the UNDP National Area Development Programme and a #1m

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contribution towards the work of the Aga Khan Foundation in Badakshan. This is on top of a contribution of #2.8m to quick impact reconstruction projects, some of which are in drug producing areas. The World Bank funded National Solidarity Programme will also be a further significant contribution to community based development. My Department is also planning to provide assistance to the Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development within Afghanistan to develop a sustainable approach towards generating alternative livelihoods, including in poppy growing areas. The UK is further committed to helping wider Afghan led security sector reform and reconstruction efforts.

Departmental Websites

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the website links associated with her Department, including sites now dormant or closed, and indicating whether they are live, dormant or closed; what the start up costs were for each site listed; what the operating costs were in each year since start up for each site; which company hosted each site; what assessment takes place for each site; which company does the assessment; if she will place the assessment reports in the Library; and if she will make a statement. [75581]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development currently supports three principal websites: the departmental site (, a site providing access to development education resources ( and a site relating to DFID's quarterly magazine, ''Developments'' ( For the launch of the 2000 White Paper on International Development, DFID supported the creation of an additional site ( All sites are active, although the 2000 White Paper site is treated as dormant for the purposes of uploading new information.

The main DFID website and the 2000 White Paper are hosted by U-UNET; hosting of the Global Dimension website is contracted to a commercial company, Planet 56; the ''Developments'' website is hosted by Synergy, under a design contract encompassing both the design of the magazine and its associated website, and its costs are embedded in the budget for that magazine. The department is currently investigating a time-scale for bringing the hosting of directly-supported websites in-house.

It would not be possible to list all start-up and annual running costs since inception without disproportionate effort. However, approximate budgets for each of the websites for the last three financial years are as follows:

FY 2000–01FY 2001–02FY 2002–03
DFID website#20,000#75,000#100,000
Global Dimension websiteN/A#35,000#40,000
2000 White Paper website#60,000#15,000#15,000

The main DFID website was overhauled in November 2001: terms of reference for a post-implementation review, including the instigation of a formal user-evaluation process are currently being drawn up, with a view to completing a review of the website by early 2003. User-evaluation for ''Developments'' is undertaken in the form of an annual reader survey via the magazine, reinforced through a web-based survey. User-evaluation for the Global Developments website is planned as part of a mid-term review during 2003.

Statistical information in relation to website users for all DFID-supported websites is supplied on a monthly basis to the Office of the e-Envoy, and published by them.

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes the UK is supporting in Nepal for enhancing water supply and sanitation; and if she will make a statement. [75112]

Clare Short: DFID will contribute approximately #12million over the period 1999 to 2004 to the rural water sector in Nepal through 3 NGOs—Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH), Gurkha Welfare Scheme (GWS) and Helvetas.

The GWS Rural Water and Sanitation Programme receives #7.9 million from DFID to help selected hill village communities access safe water and sanitation, manage their water systems efficiently and, through hygiene education, use water effectively. NEWAH receives #2.7 million from DFID to implement a similar approach in the Mid and Far West for communities that would not be reached by GWS. Since January 2001, DFID has also provided approximately #1.5 million in short and medium term support to water related programmes of Helvetas that are designed to improve living conditions of socially and economically disadvantaged communities in Nepal. The location of physical investments through these programmes has been affected by the conflict, and there has been some movement, by NEWAH in particular, to safer districts. However expenditures overall are on target.

DFID is also considering providing #1 million for short term support to the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Fund Development Board (RWSSFDP) to help the Board increase services to communities affected by conflict, adopt a more conflict-sensitive approach in the delivery of water and sanitation services and infrastructure, and to help shift the RWSSFDB programme to the Mid and Far West Regions of Nepal.

Finally, DFID is also working with the Asian Development Bank on the design of their new Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

Southern Africa

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of the United Nations Consolidated Appeal for the Southern African Famine has been funded. [75053]

Clare Short: 32.7 per cent. However, substantial contributions to the World Food Programme element of the appeal are under negotiation.

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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the UNHCR regarding the repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. [74886]

Clare Short: I met with the High Commissioner for Refugees on 4 July when we discussed UK support to Afghanistan and other issues. Our officials remain in close contact.

My department has provided significant support to UNHCR to assist with the repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan. Since September 2001, the UK has contributed over #5 million to UNHCR for their programmes of assistance to Afghan refugees. In addition we have provided over #3.5 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees to Afghanistan. We are also supporting a number of other humanitarian programmes which will help to create an environment for the sustainable return of both refugees and IDPs.

In addition, earlier this month the governments of Afghanistan and the United Kingdom and UNHCR signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) setting out a detailed framework for the voluntary repatriation of Afghans residing in the UK and their reintegration back in Afghanistan. Under the agreement, UNHCR will provide information and counselling to Afghans in the UK—to ensure that any decision to repatriate is taken in the ''full knowledge of the facts''. UNHCR will also monitor the voluntariness of the returns prior to departure, as well as other aspects of the agreement—a role that both states have pledged to respect. Similarly, once returnees are back in Afghanistan, the agency has guaranteed access to them from the moment they land at the airport. UNHCR believes that the MoU contains all the necessary safeguards to ensure that Afghans who still need international refugee protection continue to receive it and that returns under the agreement would be sustainable. A similar tripartite agreement had earlier been signed with the French government. It is hoped that the MoU will become a model for other countries who are interested in offering assisted voluntary repatriation for Afghans.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much of the financial assistance committed by donor countries for the first year of the reconstruction of Afghanistan has been disbursed since January 2002, broken down by donor country. [74885]

Clare Short: I attach a table of estimated disbursals produced by the Afghan Assistance Coordination Authority (AACA). This was produced for the recent Implementation Group meeting in Afghanistan and outlines donor's pledges, commitments and disbursals for 2002, as known to the AACA. It is currently estimated that overall 67 per cent. of 2002's pledge has been disbursed.

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Table 1: Transitional Government Data on Donor Pledges, and 2002 Commitments and Disbursements
V=11 October 2002

DonorAmount pledged at Tokyo (Grant + Loan) (donor currency)Amount pledged at Tokyo (Grant + Loan) (US$m)Amount pledged at Tokyo as Grants (US$m)Over how many years?Amount of any Additional Pledge (US$m)Over how many years?Total Overall Pledge (Tokyo + Additional)Rough annual Pledge for 2002Commitment against Tokyo + Additional PledgesDisbursement against Tokyo/ Additional PledgesDisbursements as % of 2002 PledgeComment
Aga Khan7575.........75...16.28.2...Pledge 2002 not
BelgiumEuro 33 m.28285......2898.17.280.0Estimate
EC (Recon supp)Euro 1000 m.8648645......864173182.578.445.4
EC (Hum.—ECHO)651656558.045.069.5
FinlandEuro 30 m.26263......261010.07.979.0Estimate
FranceEuro 26 m.22221101323234.227.886.9Estimate
GermanyEuro 320m.2762764431320113112.6120.6107.1
Iran (Islamic Rep)5605606......5605040.032.765.4
IrelandEuro 12m.10103211256.86.8123.6
Islamic Dev Bank..............................Unknown
Korea (Rep. of)45452.5......451010.02.222.0
Kuwait3030n.a.......30301.62.17.0Pledge duration
LuxembourgEuro 5 m.441......444.90.12.3Estimate
NetherlandsEuro 70 m.6060151656568.768.7105.0
NorwayNOK 350 m.40401.....404040.032.080.0
Pakistan100505......1005050.017.735.4See Note 6
Russian Fed...............................Unknown
Saudi Arabia2202204......2205527.127.149.3
SpainEuro 120 m.1041045......104216.46.430.7Estimate
SwedenSEK 750—1000 m.90903......903018.518.561.7
United Kingdom#200 m.288288555134313091.677.559.6
World Bank5701003......570150100.09.66.4See Note 7


1 These are indicative estimates based on information provided to the Transitional Government to date; AACA is moving to project based aggregations based on entries in AACA's Donor Assistance Database (

2 The figures in Table 1 represent the commitments and disbursements made since the Tokyo Pledging on 22 January 2002;

3 Table 2 reflects the substantial support also provided to Afghanistan in 2001 by many donors.

4 Exchange rates: Pledges made in currencies other than the US Dollar have been converted at the exchange rate prevailing in January.

5 Exchange rates: Commitments and Disbursements have been converted at the averate rate effective January and 4 October 2002.

6 Grant over one year;

7 US$470m incl some grants (up to approx $110m)


Transitional Government of Afghanistan, AACA Aid Coordination Unit

Please email any comments or corrections to [email protected] and [email protected]

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