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What is their response to the recent report of the Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief which states that Afghanistan has not yet received $10 billion of promised aid, and that 40 per cent of the money that has been delivered has been spent on corporate profits and consultancy fees; and what representations they are making to allies to deliver promised aid, in a way which brings the greatest benefit to Afghanistan. [HL2908]
Baroness Crawley: The UK Government support many of the findings of the ACBAR/Oxfam report. The UK is on course to fully deliver on its aid pledges to Afghanistan, and urges other donors to do the same. The figures outlined in the ACBAR report are not totally correct; none the less the general points about failure to deliver pledges and poor aid effectiveness are well made. Improving aid effectiveness is a central part of the UK development effort in Afghanistan. Effective development assistance is essential to support military gains and weaken the insurgency and narcotics trade, especially in the south.
The UK actively lobbies other donors in Kabul to put more aid through the Government's budget and to have the international community engage in more local procurement. The UK will actively lobby for improved aid effectiveness at forthcoming donor co-ordination conferences.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The threat assessment for all tactical landing zones (TLZs) is continuously updated and is used to provide guidance on the measures required to provide adequate force protection. The deployed command will normally allocate force protection duties for a TLZ to the unit which has responsibility for the area in which the TLZ is located. This may be a unit from the RAF regiment, but could be a suitably trained Army or Royal Marine unit.
The brigade air liaison officer, working in conjunction with the air component commander and the brigade operations staff, will be responsible for ensuring that the unit tasked with providing force protection is trained and equipped for this role.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The following benefits are payable outside the United Kingdom; state pension, widows benefit and bereavement benefit.
These are payable anywhere in the world, although they are only subject to annual increases in European economic area (EEA) member states and Switzerland, and countries with a reciprocal agreement (RA) with the UK that enables the increases to be paid; for example, the USA, Jamaica.
In other countries, the rate is frozen at either the rate on departurecustomers already receiving benefit at the time of their departure to a frozen rate (FR) countryor award (customers already living in an FR country at the time of the award).
IB long-term and severe disablement allowance (SDA) are not exportable under UK national legislation unless persons abroad regulations, EC regulations (for EEA and Switzerland) or reciprocal agreement allowing for export apply.
Persons abroad regulationsnot payable on permanent absences. It can be paid for up to 26 weeks in certain circumstances provided the absence is temporary. It is not payable for incapacities beginning in the other country.
These are all residence-based benefits. In general, a customer is required to be ordinarily resident and present in the UK, to have been present for at least 26 out of the previous 52 weeks and not be subject to immigration control. There are some exceptions under domestic law and, following the European Court of Justice judgment C-299/05, payment can be made under EC law to customers living in another EEA member state or Switzerland in certain circumstances.
Baroness Crawley: The Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP), jointly operated by the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), is dedicated to supporting environmental sustainability in the UK Overseas Territories (OTs). It provides small grants to assist the territories with the implementation of their environment charters and with environmental management more generally. The DfID component of OTEP has supported 36 projects in six less advantaged territories and 10 multi-territory projects. The programme has successfully supported ecotourism development, environmental education programmes, monitoring and management of protected areas and conservation programmes for endangered species. An independent review of this programme in 2006 praised its leadership in supporting sustainable development in the OTs, particularly in conserving their rich biodiversity. The programme as currently approved will continue to support environmental projects to 2010.
DfID is supporting the five UK territories in the Caribbean to develop and implement national climate change adaptation strategies and build capacity to assess and reduce vulnerability to climate change. This programme will continue to 2010.
In those territories where DfID provides budgetary and other financial support to help move towards economic self-sufficiency, we will continue to apply rigorous environmental standards to appraisal and implementation of development activities.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 19 May (WA 159160), whether the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) would overcome incompatibilities between proteins on the sperm and on either the zona pellucida or on the membrane of the egg; whether differences in the number of chromosomes always prevent interspecies hybridisation yielding viable progeny; and, if not, which species combinations might form embryos or foetuses or be viable. [HL3781]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Intracytoplasmic injection of a human sperm into an animal egg would constitute the creation of a human admixed embryo under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and such an activity would require a licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The Bill prohibits the implantation of human admixed embryos into a woman or an animal. Successful hybridisation is dependent on the extent of chromosomal rearrangement. In very closely related species, differences in the number of chromosomes do not always prevent successful hybridisation.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 19 May (WA159160), which arguments persuaded them to permit the creation and development of human-animal hybrids for up to 14 days in the absence of supporting published evidence; and under what circumstances they might similarly be considered necessary for research. [HL3782]
Lord Darzi of Denham: Evidence given to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and the pre-legislative committee of both Houses that scrutinised the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, indicated that the use of human admixed embryos has potential for better understanding and treating of serious diseases. The Government took account of that evidence and the recommendations of the committees. Any licence application to create a human admixed embryo for research will need to prove that its use is necessary. No human admixed embryo created may be implanted into a woman or an animal, and may not be cultured for more than 14 days or after the appearance of the primitive streak.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 19 May (WA 160), which particular ethical concerns might preclude the use of human embryos as a source of stem cells; and where such ethical concerns are explicitly described in current legislation or otherwise described in relevant guidelines. [HL3783]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) may only issue a research licence for the purposes outlined in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Research Purposes) Regulations 2001. A licence committee of the HFEA would refuse a research licence application if it was not satisfied that the proposed research was necessary or desirable for one of the prescribed purposes and that the use of an embryo was necessary.
The HFEA ensures that ethical aspects are taken into consideration when formulating policies. For example, the ethical implications of creating hybrids and chimeras were considered in depth in a recent consultation, which informed the final policy decision. The HFEA is advised on ethical issues, in all areas of its remit, by its Ethics and Law Advisory Group. The discussions and decisions of the Ethics and Law Advisory Group feed into the HFEA's policy development.
Applications for HFEA licensed research also have to pass through the ethical consideration by funding bodies and local research ethics committees (LRECs). Both the HFEA and the LRECs ensure that the research centre has procedures that are in place to obtain informed consent.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Department for Culture, Media and Sport's guidance on flying flags advises that the European flag should be flown on Europe Day, 9 May, on government buildings with two or more flag poles, provided they are flown alongside the Union flag with the Union flag in the superior position.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 25 April (WA 325), when they first became aware that the European Union flag has no legal status in United Kingdom or European Union law. [HL3477]
Lord Malloch-Brown: As set out in my Answer of 25 April, the European flag was adopted as the official emblem of the then European Communities by the heads of state and government in 1985. EU institutions have been using it since 1986. The legal status of the EU flag has not changed since then.
Further to the Written Answer on 21 April by the Minister of State for Public Health, Ms Dawn Primarolo, (Official Report, Commons, col. 1355W), whether regulatory impact assessments are monitored to gauge their accuracy; if so, where their monitoring is published; and whether the regulatory impact assessment in question has been reviewed since 2005.[HL3824]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Food Standards Agency (FSA) consults on all its impact assessments as they are developed and publishes them on its website at www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/regulation/ria/. They are also available through the FSA's Information Centre, the Library, and from April this year, the Better Regulation Executive's impact assessment electronic library at www.ialibrary.berr.gov.uk/.
The FSA has not reviewed the regulatory impact assessment (RIA) it produced for the European food hygiene regulations which came into force on 1 January 2006. The European Commission has undertaken to review the operation of these regulations by May 2009. This will require a new impact assessment to be produced and will provide the United Kingdom with a timely opportunity to revisit the original RIA. The UK will engage fully in this review.
Following their response to Lord Crisp's report on global health partnerships, what steps are being taken to enable medical royal colleges and postgraduate deans to support actively the recognition of appropriate international experience where it meets professional training requirements; and [HL3848]
Following their response to Lord Crisp's report on global health partnerships, what steps have been taken to undertake a marketing strategy to highlight the benefits of volunteering on development and relief programmes to all stakeholders, including trusts and primary care trust boards; and [HL3849]
Following their response to Lord Crisp's report on global health partnerships, what discussions they have had with interested stakeholders to formalise what is considered as recognised medical training overseas for each specialty, and the arrangements for assessment.[HL3850]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There has been a series of discussions between interested departments to make progress on these issues. The department has had additional discussions with No. 10 on ways forward and potential links between the response to the Crisp report and the global health strategy.
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