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Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the role is of the Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit; how much funding the unit has received in each of the last three financial years; what funding is planned for the unit in each of the next three financial years; in which countries it has been operational since its inception; and if he will make a statement. (94473)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply the International Development Secretary gave on the role of the Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit (PCRU) on 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 577W.

The PCRU spent £1.6 million in financial year (FY) 04/05, £3.7 million in FY 05/06, and has an allocation of £10.5 million for FY 06/07 and £10.5 million in FY 07/08. Funding for FY 08/09 and FY 09/10 will be determined next year following the outcome of Comprehensive Spending Review.

The unit has been operational in the following countries since its inception:

In Afghanistan, it facilitated an assessment and plan for all of the UK's involvement in Helmand Province including activities to help achieve security, promote economic development, to help reduce the production and trafficking of illicit drugs and to assist in the creation of a provincial government that is able to plan for, and deliver, basic services. It has then provided seven staff and consultants over the last eight months, prior to the establishment of longer-term staffing arrangements by DFID and FCO, to help design and implement specific programmes including establishing a Provincial Development Council to determine priorities for the province and enhancing coordination between the Afghan army and police. They have also helped deliver quick impact programmes such as better irrigation, more reliable power supply in a hospital, protection for police facilities and extending reception of the BBC World Service Pashto Service. PCRU has also provided the majority of the staff of the Strategic Delivery Unit in the British embassy in Kabul, which monitors the impact of all UK activities in Afghanistan and helps to ensure consistency in delivering UK's security, counter-narcotics and development objectives;

In Iraq, it is providing the team leader and key support staff for the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Basra which coordinates and helps deliver UK, US and Danish assistance to the Iraqi government in the south, focusing on the Basra Province. The PRT has enabled the Basra Provincial Council identify its priorities and is helping the council turn these into specific projects in areas such as water supply and economic development, secure funding from central government and put in place the systems needed to ensure effective implementation. It has worked closely with the British military to ensure the complementarity of their quick impact projects with the priorities of the Council;

In Sudan, it is helping finance and manage a project to enable the Africa Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to promote the benefits of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) to encourage non-signatories to join;

In Lebanon during the war, PCRU supported cross-government assessments of the emerging crisis and identification of options for the UK's involvement in Lebanon's recovery. Subsequently, it has helped the British embassy develop projects to contribute to peace building and reconstruction through seconding a member of staff, and contributed to developing proposals for British Government support to enhancing the Lebanese government's ability to bring stability to the south;

It has also provided advice on specific British security and justice sector programmes (including policing) in Yemen, Sri Lanka, the Balkans and the Occupied Territories.