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Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what resources the UK has committed to the promotion of civil society in Iraq; and if she will make a statement. (78820)

The UK has committed over £12 million to programmes that are building civil society capacity in Iraq.

The Department for International Development’s (DFID) Political Participation Fund, totalling £7.5 million, supports initiatives which aim to increase opportunities for political representation and participation of poor, vulnerable and marginalised people in the political process. Projects funded so far include voter education and media and monitors training for elections. DFID has also provided 82 grants to civil society organisations. During 2006 the Fund will help to support the constitutional review process and the provincial elections.

DFID’s Civil Society Fund (CSF), totalling £5 million, is supporting projects that strengthen the capacity of Iraq civil society organisations. The CSF has supported partnerships between nine international non-governmental organisations and their networks of Iraqi civil society groups. Projects have helped develop women’s leadership, provided training for Iraqi trade union leaders, developed child rights, supplied social work training and helped build Iraqi capacity in mine risk education. The civil society organisations receiving support include trade unions, women’s groups and humanitarian agencies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 1989W, on the Iraq medal, when she expects to publish the eligibility criteria for the second Iraq medal. (79668)

The eligibility criteria, together with other details of the Iraq Reconstruction Service Medal, will be published when they have been considered by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, and approved by Her Majesty the Queen. I hope that this will be done before the House returns after the summer recess.