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Detailed figures on all applications to the United Nations Oil for Food Programme, giving the number of applications and the status of the applications, can be found on the United Nations website at http://www.un.org/Depts/oip.html Internet access is available in the Library of the House.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The following member states of the European Union have signed the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom have not done so.
In 1997-98 the Government undertook a review of our obligations under international human rights instruments. The right of individual petition under various UN instruments was looked at very carefully. The outcome of the review was announced in another place by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary on 3 March 1999.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Following a thorough review of our obligations under international human rights treaties completed in March 1999, the Government concluded that accession to Optional Protocols calling for the right of individual petition would adversely affect the major work under way in preparing for and implementing the Human Rights Act.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Neither. The Embassy's flagstaff is being moved from its position on the roof and re-positioned over the main entrance. The diplomatic flag (Union flag with FCO crest) is flying on every working day during office hours. Our two other missions in Brussels are not Embassies. However, the UK Permanent Representation to the EU will continue to fly the flag daily in the lobby of their offices until a new external flagstaff is installed. The UK Delegation to NATO is located within the NATO HQ building. The Union flag flies outside the NATO HQ building daily.
Baroness Amos: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is audited annually by a team of independent auditors whose reports are made public and discussed by UNHCR's Executive Committee of which the UK is a member. UNHCR is required to take action on any areas of financial mismanagement identified by the auditors.
The Department for International Development (DfID) places additional financial controls on its own funding for UNHCR, monitoring expenditure through regular financial and narrative reports and field visits by our experts. Any concerns we have about financial management are discussed at bilateral meetings with UNHCR and, if necessary, at the Executive and Standing Committees of UNHCR. DfID has made it clear that UK funding for UNHCR is conditional on increased transparency and accountability in the organisation. We therefore welcome UNHCR's adoption of a unified budget and its closer dialogue with donors on financial and policy issues.
Baroness Amos: Co-operation and co-ordination between the Department for International Development and Mozambican and UK non-governmental organisations was in place prior to the disaster as part of the UK Government's longer term development assistance programme in Mozambique. These mechanisms have been enhanced during the disaster through formal meetings (this is a standard procedure adopted in the department in any emergency situation) in London and Maputo between DfID and NGO staff. A representative from the Disasters Emergency Committee participated in a recent DfID assessment mission to Mozambique.
Inter-departmental arrangements are already in place for rapid and effective responses to overseas disasters. These are co-ordinated by the Department for International Development, which has established call-down arrangements with other government departments. These include the Home Office, with which we have an arrangement for the deployment of UK Fire Service Search and Rescue Teams and the Ministry of Defence, from which we are able to request, where appropriate, the deployment and utilisation of military assets. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our diplomatic posts overseas provide useful early information in case of sudden disasters.
Baroness Amos: Public recognition in Mozambique and worldwide has been given for the outstanding efforts of all who have been involved in all the humanitarian response to the disaster in Mozambique. Departmental Ministers have made clear to their staff the Government's pride in the contribution they have made.
Baroness Amos: The Department for International Development has established global surveillance systems for the monitoring of potential and actual disasters. Internally, DfID is able to use information collected by its regional offices and also centrally through networks established with United Nations and other operational agencies in the field.
In addition to in-house capacity, we have a recognised system of information sharing with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our Embassies, High Commissions and other diplomatic offices also assist us with monitoring of potential crises. The combination of early warning systems in place, together with our extensive capacity to respond, means
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