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Conflict Areas

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to improve the provision of (a) education and (b) healthcare in states affected by conflicts. (105029)

DFID does not maintain an agreed list of ‘states affected by conflict’. We do have a list of ‘fragile states’ which we are currently reviewing, as countries frequently move in and out of fragility and conflict, and political circumstances in a country can rapidly change. This list will include countries that are generally recognised to be conflict-affected. Detail on DFID’s current definition and list of fragile states can be found in DFID’s policy paper, “Why We Need to Work More Effectively in Fragile States”, page 7 and Annex 1, which is available in the House of Commons Library.

(a) Education

The UK announcement in April to provide £8.5 billion over the next 10 years in support of education will contribute to international efforts to achieve universal primary education by 2015. The Education for All Fast Track Initiative's (FTI) Education Programme and Development Fund will help assist conflict affected states prepare education sector plans for donor support. The FTI is currently piloting support in DRC, Haiti, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan.

DFID also supports the direct provision of education in a number of countries affected by conflict through United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOS). For example in Somalia DFID has a 3-year partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to increase children's access to education, with a strong focus on getting girls into school. In Burma our partnership with Save the Children UK supports early childhood education which provides safe schooling for young children in some of the poorest conflict-affected communities.

(b) Health

DFID is already providing much more aid to the health sectors in fragile states, with expenditure more than doubling between 2003-04 and 2005-06. Examples include a joint programme for HIV/AIDS in Burma. This has attracted increased funding and made possible a larger-scale national response. In Afghanistan, a multi-donor trust fund, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) is helping to build government systems while at the same time raising additional finance for basic services such as health, education and water and sanitation that are focused on the poor.

DFID also contributes to Global Health Funds and Partnerships. An example, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, has committed US $ 1.5 billion in 142 grants in fragile states, accounting for over one-third of total commitments.