HL Deb 10 May 2004 vol 661 cc1-2WS
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos)

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development has made the following Statement.

Following an internal review by the Department for International Development, I am announcing today a revision to the department's management of its support to Humanitarian Mine Action. The review team consulted a wide range of stakeholders including the United Nations, civil society, mine action organisations and other government departments.

In 2000 DfID decided to channel the majority of its funds for mine action through the United Nations. The objectives of the review were to assess whether DfID's policy objectives of channelling most of its funds in this way were being met, and to consider DfID's resourcing of mine action and to look at future options.

The review concluded that the overall policy approach should remain unchanged. The four existing main pillars of support remain valid. These are to: support humanitarian mine action focused on the poorest countries; improve the effectiveness of the international mine action system to mine pollution; develop new technologies to improve mine clearance; and promote the globalisation of the mine ban convention. Additionally DfID's commitment to spend at least £10 million per annum on humanitarian mine action will continue.

The policy in 2000 established partnership arrangements with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). This support has contributed to improved co-ordination in the international system. These partnerships will continue but with revised overall funding levels. UNMAS and UNDP will continue to receive similar levels of funding to assist in strengthening their capacity but will receive less towards country programme activity. Support to UNMAS will primarily be for its co-ordination role rather than its mine clearance operations, except in cases requiring short-term emergency response. In the case of UNICEF, DfID's ongoing three-year partnership for support to mine risk education will continue.

As a result of these changes, DfID will now consider other funding options including bilateral funding via non-government organisations (NGOs) and commercial companies. NGOs have an important role to play in advocating and implementing mine action. The revised policy reflects this by ensuring that more bilateral resources will be available to fund mine clearance by NGOs.

Within DfID, the Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department (CHAD) will continue to be the central point for humanitarian mine action policy. However in view of the increasing mainstreaming of mine action into development programmes, DfID regional desks/offices also have an important role where mine action features in DfID country assistance plans. This creates an additional potential source of funding from within DfID.

DfID will continue to fund research and technology and the generation of knowledge. The department expects to commit approximately 10 per cent of its mine action funding in this area.