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John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate how many people in Scotland who became newly entitled for the 200304 winter fuel payment and who needed to make a claim before 19 September 2003 in order to receive their payment before Christmas failed to do so; and what the value was of such payments. 
Malcolm Wicks: We estimate that around 60,000 people will be newly entitled to the 200304 winter fuel payments in Scotland, and of these, around 26,700 should receive their payments automatically. The others
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would need to claim and we have publicised the availability of winter fuel payments and how to obtain a claim form.
We are unable to provide any reliable estimate of the value of unclaimed winter fuel payments because the amount due depends on the composition of the household. It is up to an individual, where a claim is necessary, to decide whether or not to make that claim. They have until 30 March 2004 to make a claim for this winter.
Hilary Benn: UNICEF has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) and a number of NGOs to rehabilitate over 200 primary schools both in Kabul and in other parts of Afghanistan, with special emphasis on parts of the country where large numbers of people have returned from overseas.
We contributed £2 million to the UNICEF "Back to School Campaign" during 200203. The program targeted approximately 1.78 million primary school children (both girls and boys), and up to 50,000 teachers across Afghanistan. This year, over 4 million children are back at over 6,500 schools. Over one third of the pupils are girls.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure the safety of workers distributing aid funded by his Department in areas outside Kabul, with particular reference to women aid workers. 
Hilary Benn: DFID funded aid projects are implemented by its partners, mainly the UN and NGOs. All these partners have strict security guidelines in place to ensure the safety of their staff, including women. Some of these partners have also appointed dedicated professional security officers. The UN has security officers in all of its regional offices providing regular security updates and advice, to the UN and other aid agencies. In addition, ACBAR, the main NGO coordination body in Afghanistan, regularly updates
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and discusses all security related reports and advice with the NGO community. DFID provided a grant of £800,000 to the UN in October 2001 to enhance its safety and security measures.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what facilities are available to Afghan women in order for them to be educated enough to be able to participate in the election. 
Hilary Benn: The Constitutional Commission's public education department, run by the UN, has launched a wide-spread public information/education campaign to acquaint Afghans with the Constitutional Loya Jirga process. The electorate is being provided with information packages and training through provincial registration meetings. Concerning women's participation in the elections, a specific information and training campaign is currently being developed by the UN but details have yet to be finalised. DFID has contributed £1 million towards the election registration process with a further £2 million allocated from the joint DFID-FCO-MOD Global Conflict Prevention Pool.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the aid programmes in middle-income countries whose funding from the Department will be changed as a result of the diversion of aid to the reconstruction of Iraq; and what assessment he has made of the impact of such changes on middle income countries. 
Hilary Benn: Final decisions have yet to be taken on where reallocations will occur and I refer the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington to the answers I gave the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 4 November 2003, Official Report, columns 486W and 490W.
Hilary Benn: The five poorest nations have been identified as those with the lowest GNI per capita. This is calculated by dividing the Gross National Income by the mid year population. GNI per capita in US dollars is converted using the World Bank Atlas method.
|Poorest nations based on GNIper capita||GNI per capita (US$)||Total Gross Public Expenditure 200203 (£000)|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||80||15,586|
SID 2003 Edition Tables 1.8 and 7.1.
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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with governments of countries affected by AIDS, concerning the future impact of AIDS on public services and stability of their society. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: HIV/AIDS is a human catastrophe and a significant development challenge. This is acknowledged by many governments and it is frequently discussed in meetings the Department for International Development has with partner countries. The issue is also discussed in a range of regional and international fora.
HIV/AIDS is not just a health problem. It requires a response that addresses public services like education, livelihoods and food security, access to justice and security. In Malawi for example DFID is working with other donors and the Malawian Government to ensure that the Poverty Reduction Strategies addresses the impact of HIV/AIDS on all public services. In education, DFID is currently working with the UNAIDS Interagency Task Team for Education and HIV/AIDS to promote high level understanding and leadership, and strengthen the technical capacity of developing countries to develop and implement effective education responses to the epidemic.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: We expect the very latest statistics on orphans to be published in a report by UNICEF, "Africa's Orphaned Generations", on 23 November 2003. Until then the international community, including DFID, has drawn on the joint UNAIDS, UNICEF, USAID Report, "Children on the Brink 2002", which provides statistics on current and projected numbers of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in 88 countries.
"Children on the Brink 2002" estimates that 13.4 million children under the age of 15 had lost one or both parents to AIDS in 2001. 11 million of these children are in sub-Saharan Africa. By 2010, this number is expected to rise to 25 million, with probable large increases in Asia. In the hardest hit countries, it is estimated that 15 per cent. of all children will be orphaned by AIDS by 2005.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: HIV/AIDS has created an unprecedented orphan crisis. By 2001 13.4 million children had lost one or both parents to AIDS. The growing impacts of HIV/AIDS on children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have strong implications for the achievement of all development goals. Co-ordinating and harmonising the response to this crisis is a key challenge for the international community.
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In June 2001, DFID joined the rest of the international community at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS in adopting the Declaration of Commitment which set common targets for reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and alleviating its impact. The Declaration includes three strong commitments to provide special assistance to children orphaned and affected by HIV/AIDS.
DFID is now working with UNAIDS and UNICEF, who are co-ordinating other development agencies and NGOs to develop a Global Strategic Framework to translate the UNGASS Declaration into country level action and commitment. Other governments engaged in this process include the US, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and Denmark. Emphasis is placed on the need to strengthen community-based care of orphans and ensure that they stay in school.
At the country level, we are in dialogue with governments and development partners to ensure that national responses to the epidemic include appropriate provision for the education, health, nutrition and housing needs of orphaned as well as their protection from abuse and exploitation. In Uganda, we have supported the Government in the implementation of free universal primary education. Prior to the introduction of the free Universal Primary Education policy, 12 per cent. fewer orphans were attending school compared to non-orphans. In 2000 this had diminished to 4 per cent. as a result of free primary education. In Malawi we are working with other donors and the Government of Malawi to ensure that the needs of orphans and vulnerable children are addressed through the Poverty Reduction Strategy processes.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response his Department is making to the UNICEF and UNAIDS announcement of a co-ordinated global response to AIDS orphans. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: HIV/AIDS has created an unprecedented orphan crisis. By 2001 13.4 million children had lost one or both parents to AIDS. The growing impacts of HIV/AIDS on children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have strong implications for the achievement of all development goals. Coordinating and harmonising the response to this crisis is a key challenge for the international community.
In October of this year, DFID joined other major international partners to develop a global strategic framework for the protection, care and support of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS (OVC). The framework will highlight key issues in an effective response to the needs of OVC. We fully endorses the draft framework's emphasis on free primary education and strengthened support to community-based care for OVC within the context of a broad multi-sectoral national HIV/AIDS strategy. We continue to emphasise the importance of embedding responses to the orphan crisis in national level mechanisms such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy processes, and the urgency of providing treatment programmes to prolong the lives of HIV+ parents.
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