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I visited Baghdad and Basra from 31 August to 1 September to learn for myself about progress with reconstruction on the ground. I met Prime Minister Allawi, development Ministers, representatives from the United Nations, civil society and the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, and representatives from local government.
The interim Iraqi Government are now clearly in charge, although recent events in Najaf have dominated their first months in power. The difficult security situation has inevitably slowed down the reconstruction effort of not just the UK, but also other donors and the multilateral agencies. However, it was
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clear that progress is still being made. 45 kilometres of water pipes have been laid in Basra since my last visit in February and electricity distribution is now more equitable across the national grid. Partially due to these efforts, the riots that happened in Basra last summer because of the lack of basic services have not reoccurred this year.
While in Iraq I announced a number of new UK bilateral projects, focusing on building the capacity of the Iraqi administration, and promoting employment creation, in southern Iraq. These projects mark an important step forward in our reconstruction efforts in southern Iraq as we move from meeting short-term humanitarian and immediate infrastructure rehabilitation needs towards addressing longer-term development challenges. Southern Iraq should receive massive reconstruction funds over next two to three years from a range of sources, including the USA, Japan and the World Bank and UN trust funds. One of DFID's aims is to help the Iraqi administration to ensure that this money is spent quickly and well, and that the benefits of reconstruction are widely shared across the population. We are investing £20.5 million in strengthening local management, planning and financial capacity in the four southern governorates of Basra, Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan, including £15 million for projects developed by the governorates. We have also started a new £16.5 million programme to finance employment programmes and further emergency infrastructure repairs.
DfID has committed £331 million to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Iraq since March 2003. Of this total £78 million has been allocated to bilateral reconstruction projects in southern Iraq; £19 million to support for the new interim Iraqi Government, the justice sector, independent media, civil society and political participation; and £28 million for consultants and secondments to the Coalition Provisional Authority while it was in office up to 28 June. £70 million has been paid into the trust funds managed by the United Nations and the World Bank, to be spent primarily on health, education, water and sanitation projects, assistance for refugees and strengthening governance; and nearly £12 million has been committed to IMF and International Finance Corporation programmes for economic governance support and small business development. Updates on DfID's programmes can be found on the Internet at www.dfid.gov.uk, as well as in the House Library.
As on my previous two visits to Iraq, I was impressed by the extraordinary courage and commitment of all the people, both international and Iraqi, who are working to help the new Iraqi Government and the people of Iraq to build the better future that they deserve.
Together with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State for Defence, I wish to
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inform Parliament of the Government's intention to improve the United Kingdom's capacity to deal with immediate post-conflict stabilisation, including by integrating civilian and military policy, planning and operations. In recent years, the United Kingdom, with the international community, has been increasingly involved in helping countries to stabilise after conflict. We need to deal better with conflict and instability, learn lessons and improve our capability to respond. Within this broader context, there is particular scope to improve the way in which we deal with immediate post-conflict situations, especially those which include military and civilian components. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development are working closely to develop the capabilities that are needed. The Foreign Secretary will chair a new Cabinet Sub-Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction. My right honourable friends and I expect to be in a position formally to establish an inter-departmental Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit later this year to lead this work. It will have a policy and operational role. In spring 2005 we anticipate being able to inform Parliament about its initial capabilities. Meanwhile, my right honourable friends and I have placed a note in the House of Commons Library which provides more detail about the Government's aims and plans.
On 15 September 2004, The Secretary of State for International Development wrote to Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, to notify him that DfID has now cancelled Pakistan's ex-CDC debt amounting to £19 million.
The outstanding loans made by the former Commonwealth Development Corporation to public sector bodies in developing countries were removed from the newly formed CDC Capital Partners balance sheet on 31 August 2000 and transferred to DfID. In the case of Pakistan, the loan concerned was to the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board.
The only other inter-governmental debt between the UK and Pakistan relates to export credit guarantees. Following the Paris Club agreement, this debt was rescheduled and is now valued at only £9 million.
In 2001 DfID agreed to cancel the ex-CDC debt, subject to Pakistan completing the second review of the poverty reduction growth facility (PRGF) with the International Monetary Fund. In the interim, the debt was suspended with no interest payments required from Pakistan to DfID. On 23 June 2004 the IMF executive board successfully completed the second annual review of Pakistan's PRGF, implying the ex-CDC debt can now be cancelled.
The Pakistan programme continues to be a high priority for DfID. As announced to the House in March 2003, during 2003 DfID provided Pakistan
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with £55 million to cancel debt held with the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Over the next two years (200405 and 200506), DfID's assistance to Pakistan will be £70 million and £74 million respectively. This will support the Government of Pakistan in achieving the millennium development goals through the implementation of their poverty reduction strategy (published in December 2003). Priorities for DfID are increasing the incomes of poor people, improving service delivery to poor people and increasing accountability of the state to poor people.
The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland, Mr Denis Stanley, is responsible for all aspects of electoral administration in Northern Ireland, including the conduct of all elections and referendums; and for electoral registration. In accordance with Section 14 of the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962, the Chief Electoral Officer is required to submit an annual report to the Secretary of State.
Claims under the Criminal Damage (Compensation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977
Claims under the Terrorism Act 2000
* This unit cost target relates to claims under the Criminal Damage and Terrorism Act schemes. The work involved in processing these claims is carried out in a single organisational unit within the agency so the efficiency of this element of the agency's operations is measured by reference to a combined unit cost target.
Claims under Criminal Injuries (Compensation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988
Claims under the Criminal Injuries Compensation (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 (Tariff)
Compliance with Legislation/Standards of AdjudicationAll Schemes
Value for MoneyAll Schemes
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