HL Deb 18 January 2005 vol 668 cc95-7WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What funds they are allocating in the current financial year and the coming two years, through the Department for International Development or otherwise, for the direct benefit of orphans and street children; and how grants will be divided between the five continents.[HL507]

Baroness Amos

The Government's international development policy is focused on achieving the internationally agreed millennium development goals (MDGs). DfID links the classification of its expenditure to the MDGs, not to expenditure on particular groups. It is therefore not possible at present to identify the total amount spent on programmes for the direct benefit of orphans and street children.

In the UK strategy on HIV and AIDS, launched in July 2004, the Government committed themselves to fund action that prioritises women, young people and vulnerable groups. DfID will ensure that it spends at least £150 million over three years from 2005–08 on programmes to meet the needs of orphans and other children, particularly those in Africa, made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. DfID is adjusting its statistical systems to enable it to monitor expenditure against the £150 million target.

Africa is the first priority, as it is the region of the world worst affected and most at risk of HIV and AIDS. Over the next three years some £123 million will go to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

DfID will step up its support in Asia too. It is currently in the process of developing its response at country and regional levels and expects to spend at least £4 million through its country programmes and £1 million through a regional approach through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

DfID will be allocating resources to research on vulnerable children. It has just agreed £2.4 million support for a five-year programme of research into ways of providing anti-retroviral treatment to children with HIV where resources are limited. This will be undertaken in a number of countries in Africa.

Children and young people are frequently vulnerable because of poverty in their communities. DfID takes the view that we also have to tackle the wider economic and social problems that make them vulnerable to ending up on the street or at risk of exploitation and abuse. DfID's goal is the eradication of poverty and most of the programmes it supports are intended to contribute to improving the livelihoods of poor people and helping them realise their rights. Working with overseas partners, both international organisations and the governments of developing countries themselves, to eliminate poverty is in the long run likely to be more effective than individual small projects. Much of DfID's other expenditure, for example on increased access to safe water and sanitation, improving slum dwellers' lives and promoting environmental sustainability, will also benefit vulnerable children directly or indirectly.

DfID has also provided support through multilateral agencies; for example, the UK contributed a total of £64 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in 2003. DfID has also supported the International Labour Organisation's work to combat child labour and child trafficking. For example. DfID has committed some £8.9 million in total over the decade 1999–08 to the ILO's International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) for work in the Greater Mekong region (parts of Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam).

DfID also provides support through civil society organisations: a four-year Partnership Programme Agreement (PPA) was agreed between DfID and Save the Children Fund in 2001 to support their work on eliminating poverty and advocating for children's rights and greater equity. The PPA is worth £20.72 million. DfID is also contributing £1.7 million from 2003–05 to the Greater Mekong Child Trafficking project through Save the Children. This is linked to the IPEC programme and to a World Vision project to reduce the number of women, young people and children trafficked for sex work or other forms of exploitative labour within Burma and from Burma to Thailand. DfID is contributing £235,000 to the World Vision project from 2002–06.

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