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Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she is having with the Sudanese Government regarding sector wide approaches to (a) health and (b) education in that country. [112176]

DFlD's programme in Sudan since 1991 has been focussed on responding to humanitarian needs. DFID has not engaged in substantive discussion with the Government of Sudan on longer-term development issues and would not do so in the absence of a peace agreement.When there is peace, the key next step in planning for reconstruction of the education and health sectors will be the preparation of a comprehensive development plan. UNICEF and other agencies have already carried out considerable work on data collection and analysis, particularly in the south. The priority will be to build local capacity.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress is being made in providing education to the children of Southern Sudan. [112177]

We have contributed US$2 million to UNICEF for schools rehabilitation throughout Sudan. Basic materials (1,500 school kits, 1,000 textbooks and 500 headteacher kits) will be distributed to every primary school in southern Sudan over the next three months in time for the start of the next school year. The textbooks will be prepared at low cost locally using the recently developed curriculum.We are also working closely with the World bank on the preparation of the Country Status Report over the next few months to ensure that the particular needs of the south are fully reflected in the future development plans for the sector.