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Aid To Women

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 6 May 2003, Official Report, column 567W, on democratisation, what proportion of the (a) Global Conflict Prevention Pool, (b) Human Rights Project Fund, (c) the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, (d) British Council, (e) Africa Conflict Prevention Pool and (f) Global Opportunities Fund monies provide assistance directly to women. [118056]

[holding answer 10 June 2003]: Assistance to women is not accounted for as a distinct FCO budget line. Separately identifying all the activities within these programmes that directly provide assistance to women could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost. However, we can identify activities which by their nature are likely to provide some assistance to women:

  • (a) The Global Conflict Prevention Pool supports a number of initiatives that bring a gender perspective into its conflict prevention activities. For instance, under the Indonesia/East Timor Strategy, the Global Pool is helping UNIFEM's Women, Peace and Security Programme gather information on women's peacebuilding and gender justice initiatives, and is helping the Department for Peacekeeping Operations implement its new guidelines on mainstreaming gender in peace operations. Given that 90 per cent. of those killed, wounded, abused or displaced in conflict are women or children, focusing people's attention on women in conflict is a natural corollary of Conflict Prevention Pool activity;
  • (b) The Human Rights Project Fund has allocated £624,050 (9 per cent.) of this year's £7.1 million budget to womens' rights projects;
  • (c) The Westminster Foundation for Democracy has committed £440,000 (19 per cent.) out of £2.32 million allocated so far this year to projects directly supporting women;
  • (d) Much of British Council activity is geared towards young people, men and women, but of its work on governance £1.1 million (9 per cent.) out of £12.1 million specifically relates to women's projects;
  • (e) The Africa Conflict Prevention Pool promotes peace and security in Africa as a necessary condition of development. Peace, security and development benefit men, women and children alike. There is growing evidence that the most vulnerable groups in society, including women, children and the aged are among the principal victims of modern African conflicts. Efforts to reduce conflict are therefore potentially of greater benefit to these groups; and
  • (f) The Global Opportunities Fund has just been launched and will be used to reinforce work in five main thematic areas, including human rights and good governance. Funding will be channelled first to programmes and then, through these, to projects. Five programmes are being launched this financial year. We are not yet able to confirm how funds will be allocated, but we are committed to working with women in all areas, particularly through the programmes on Engagement with the Islamic World, Good Governance in EU Applicant Countries and Near Neighbours, and Strengthening our Relations with Emerging Markets.