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UN Women (Funding)

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 30 March 2011

1. What criteria he plans to use to assess the strategic plan for UN Women when determining the funding to be allocated to it. (49661)

We recently reviewed the value for money of British taxpayers’ funding to all multilateral agencies through the multilateral aid review. We will use the same broad criteria to assess UN Women’s strategic plan.

Currently, new funding pledges to UN Women for 2011 amount to just $55 million, less than 10% of the target set by member states in 2010. In order for this important initiative to succeed—and so that the UK can say it played its part in its success—will the Minister heed the calls of Voluntary Service Overseas and others to provide adequate funding urgently?

The hon. Lady is absolutely right to flag up the importance of this new agency and the fact that it has strong cross-party support. The United Kingdom played a key role in its establishment. We have provided transitional funding, and when we see the strategic plan in June, we will then fund it. I have no doubt at all that, in consultation with other funding bodies, we will be able to play a very full part.

UN Women’s strategic plan is guided in part by millennium development goals 4 and 5. The Secretary of State has kindly just received from me Bradford-on-Avon Oxfam’s Mothers Matter card for mother’s day. Will the Secretary of State take this opportunity to restate to the House his Government’s commitment to working internationally to achieve MDGs 4 and 5 on maternal and child health?

Yes, my hon. Friend is absolutely right. At the first international summit the Prime Minister attended after taking office following the election of the coalition Government, he flagged up the importance of MDGs 4 and 5 very directly. Oxfam’s campaign is an outstanding success. It is extremely important, and we will be following through on many of the aspects Oxfam has specifically mentioned when we have the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation replenishment conference in London on 13 June.