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Millennium Development Goals

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what arrangements have been made to ensure delivery of the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation in terms of (a) ministerial responsibility, (b) departmental structure and (c) budget allocation. [116841]

The Secretary of State is the Minister responsible for the delivery of all MDGs. I hold responsibility within the Department for the specific goals on water and sanitation.DFID supports an integrated approach to sanitation, water supply, and hygiene to improve health and combat poverty. Expenditure on specific water sector or related projects and programmes has remained roughly constant over the past three years; estimated at £82 million in 1999–2000, £91 million in 2000–01 and £87 million in 2001–02. However, DFID's budget allocation is managed on a country rather than sector basis; our recent departmental report 2003 provides this information.The work DFID does has regard to what other donors are doing, and to our comparative advantage. In the water sector we have developed a role focused on improving policy. The provision of direct budget support (£296 million in 2001–02) rather than funding projects has given us this leverage, particularly in Africa. A small proportion of the budget allocated through direct budget support may go directly to the water sector, but the main contribution of budget support to meeting the water/sanitation MDGs is through improvements in public sector capacity and governance. We continue to push for the inclusion of sanitation, water supply and hygiene in individual country Poverty Reduction Strategies Papers (PRSPs).DFID also provides funds, which may include spending on water, through a number of multilateral channels. DFID continues to work to ensure aid efficiency and for example, is currently engaged in the EU Water Initiative, which aims to improve the efficiency of existing financing mechanisms for water infrastructure through better donor co-ordination between member states.