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Burma: Overseas Aid

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid was allocated to Burma in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07, broken down by main budget heading; and what conditions were attached to such aid. (138509)

In 2005-06 DFID aid to Burma was £6.4 million, of which:

£4.5 million was on HIV/AIDS, Communicable Diseases and Basic Health Care;

£0.6 million was for Food Security and Rural Livelihoods;

£1.0 million was for Internally Displaced People and Refugees;

£60,000 was for Democracy and Human Rights.

2006-07 official figures are not yet available. The budget for DFID aid to Burma was £8.0 million, of which:

£4.3 million was on HIV/AIDS, Communicable Diseases and Basic Health Care;

£1.2 million was for Food Security and Rural Livelihoods;

£1.1 million was for Internally Displaced People and Refugees;

£1.4 million was on Education;

£70,000 was for Democracy and Human Rights.

DFID has recently approved a programme of £3 million over three years specifically to support work on democratic change at the local level. The programme will start during 2007-08.

The conditions which European Union member states have agreed to apply to their aid is defined by the European Union Common Position, Article 3, which states that:

“Non-humanitarian aid or development programmes shall be suspended. Exceptions shall be made for projects and programmes in support of:

(a) human rights, democracy, good governance, conflict prevention and building the capacity of civil society;

(b) health and education, poverty alleviation and in particular the provision of basic needs and livelihoods for the poorest and most vulnerable populations;

(c) environmental protection and, in particular, programmes addressing the problem of non-sustainable, excessive logging resulting in deforestation.

The projects and programmes should be implemented through UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, and through decentralised cooperation with local civilian administrations. In this context, the European Union will continue to engage with the government of Burma over its responsibility to make greater efforts to attain the UN millennium development goals.

Projects and programmes should, as far as possible, be defined, monitored, run and evaluated in consultation with civil society and all democratic groups, including the National League for Democracy.”