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Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 11 June 2003, Official Report, column 773W, on UN Mine Action Service, if he will provide a breakdown of (a) objectives, (b) locations and (c) costs of mine action centres in Sudan funded by the Department; if he will list organisations which are receiving resources from the Department to carry out humanitarian demining in Sudan; if he will list the Department's humanitarian priorities for mine action in Sudan; and if he will make a statement. [121506]

DFID has provided £1.4 million for mine action in Sudan since April 2002. To date this support has been channelled through the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), as the UN agency responsible for the co-ordination of mine action in Sudan. UNMAS' current objectives are to support the establishment of a working and appropriate national mine action management structure, as well as to support the systematic reduction of the threat of landmines and unexploded ordinance by a process of identification, isolation and clearance. Specific UNMAS activities, including those supported by DFID, have consisted of mine clearance of major roads in the Nuba Mountains region; cross-line training and capacity building for Sudanese de-miners; technical survey work; support for co-ordination activities; and planning for future mine action activities in the event of peace. Mine action throughout Sudan, particularly southern Sudan, will be a priority following a peace agreement to enable both increased access for humanitarian aid organisations and increased delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as to allow displaced populations to return.