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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on addressing violence and abuse against children, with particular reference to those accused of sorcery. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 24 April 2006]: The UK recognises that the funding gap which exists for the 2006 and 2007 replenishment period poses a challenge. At present US$46 million is available for Round 6 of the Global Fund, but approximately US$1 billion is needed to enable new grants to be approved and fully funded in 2006. This is a substantial funding gap for the 200607 replenishment period.
There will be a mid-term review of the Global Fund's replenishment process in June. This will be an opportunity for the international community to review further, the Global Fund's performance and urge new and existing donors to put in more money. The UK has pledged £359 million to the Global Fund for 2002 to 2008. This exceeds our fair share" based on gross national income, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Global Fund. The UK will continue to encourage other donors to provide additional support to fill the funding gap. In particular, we will be encouraging support from the oil producing countries and calling for a greater effort by the private sector.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what position the UK will take regarding the launch of a Round 6 of grants at the Global Fund's next board meeting at the end of April; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 24 April 2006]: The UK will support the launch of Round 6 at the April board. At present US$46 million is available for Round 6, but approximately US$1 billion is needed to enable new grants to be approved and fully funded in 2006.
The UK has pledged £359 million to the Global Fund for 2002 to 2008. Last September, we doubled our commitment to the Global Fund for 2006 and 2007 to £100 million per year. This exceeds our fair share" based on gross national income, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Global Fund. Other donors need to do more to meet their share of Global Fund resources and the UK will continue to encourage them to provide additional support to fill the funding gap. In particular, we will be encouraging support from the oil producing countries and calling for a greater effort by the private sector.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to support the implementation and enforcement of Nigeria's transparency code. 
Hilary Benn: Nigeria does not have a single transparency code, but is in the process of implementing and attempting to enforce a range of transparency initiatives. DFID is involved at various stages in assisting the Nigerian Government in this as a key element of its support to improved governance, which is one of the three parts of Nigeria's poverty reduction strategy, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS).
DFID has also provided support for Nigeria's leading role in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote transparency in the use of oil revenue. DFID in Nigeria has also provided technical and financial support to a unit in the Nigerian Finance Ministry responsible for co-ordinating the audits of oil and gas revenue that have been recently published.
In the area of enforcement of transparency and other elements of anti-corruption codes, DFID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are jointly providing technical support to the work of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of a number of high profile corruption cases in recent months which include the provision of evidence that led to the impeachment of the former Governor of Bayelsa State and his subsequent prosecution, as well as the conviction and imprisonment of the former Inspector General of Police. The UK's support to EFCC is designed to complement a much larger programme of support from the EC.
At the Federal level, DFID continues to support Nigeria's Federal Economic Reform Team, in implementing other reforms to promote transparency and improve accountability, including improving Public Financial Management, publishing Federal Government
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allocations of budget to state and local government level and supporting civil society involvement in the Federal Government's Medium-Term Sector Strategies.
DFID also provides support to increased transparency at a state level by making clear its assistance will go to those states that have shown the most commitment to transparency and other elements of improved governance.
DFID has been a leading partner in driving forward the G8 Transparency Compact with Nigeria. In response the Federal Government has recently created the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), an inter-departmental Government initiative to measure and communicate the impact of various anti-corruption initiatives in Nigeria.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, with particular reference to the availability of essential items of food. 
Hilary Benn: Earlier this month, the closure of the Kami crossing caused food shortages in Gaza. Israel is now allowing sufficient food to be imported into Gaza. We are aware that humanitarian needs could increase. Gaza's economy is affected by the closure of the Kami crossing to exports. In the future, if the Palestinian Authority cannot pay salaries, livelihoods in Gaza may be further affected. DFID is working closely with the UN Office for the co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs to monitor the situation.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effects of the closure of the Karni crossing in Gaza on the humanitarian situation in that area; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: The closure of the Kami crossing in Gaza to imports of basic food commodities created considerable food shortages in early March. Israel is now allowing food to be imported into Gaza regularly. The ongoing restrictions on exports through the Kami crossing continue to have a damaging effect on the Gaza economy. This is contributing to an increase in humanitarian need in Gaza. DFID is working with the UN Office for the co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs to monitor the humanitarian situation, to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are met.
DFID has no bilateral programme with Sao Tome", and has not made a direct assessment of the impact of the discovery of oil on poverty reduction. Over the past two years, Sao Tome" and Principe has moved to open the country to oil exploration and
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development. The Joint Development Zone (JDZ) with Nigeria is the first area to be explored. In June 2004, the Presidents signed the Abuja Declaration requesting that all oil operations in this zone follow strict transparency principles, including the publication of all state payments in accordance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). We encourage the adoption of these principles which will help promote poverty reduction along with good governance and transparency.
In December 2004, President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome" and Principe signed a Revenue Management Law. In anticipation of significant oil revenues, this Law promotes transparency and establishes detailed measures to ensure responsible management of petroleum wealth. In January 2005, Sao Tome" signed the first Production Sharing Contract, setting a new standard through a clause on transparency that makes specific mention of the EITI principles. This clause is expected to become a precedent for future contracts in the JDZ and in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Sao Tome" and Principe.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank estimate that Sao Tome" is likely to reach heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) completion point in 2006, which indicates that the country is broadly on track in terms of improving economic and fiscal governance, with an adequate strategy for reducing poverty.
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