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Western Sahara

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she has made available to Saharan people living in refugee camps. [105624]

DFID's assistance to the Saharawi refugees is channelled through contributions to the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). We believe that this collaborative approach towards funding, alongside our international partners, represents the best way of addressing the problems faced by the refugee population.A global plan for assistance to the Saharawi was agreed by the EC in May last year. This will provide 14.34 million euros (approximately £9 million) of assistance over a 15 month period. This brings the total assistance provided since 1993 to over 95 million euros, including over 79 million euros in food aid programme co-ordinated by ECHO, the World Food Programme and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Approximately 19 per cent. of this funding comes from my Department's budget.DFID also supports refugees through UNHCR including, but not specifically, Saharawi in camps in Algeria. My Department signed a four year Institutional Strategy Paper with UNHCR in 2002 which guarantees the agency core funding for each year of the partnership. For 2003 this contribution is £14 million. As this contribution is unearmarked it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much of the £14 million is spent in the context of this specific refugee situation.