International Development written question – answered on 7th November 2001.

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Photo of Mr Hilton Dawson Mr Hilton Dawson Labour, Lancaster and Wyre

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she gives to the UN to enable it to co-ordinate properly the humanitarian operation; and how she will help the UN to fulfil its humanitarian goals in Afghanistan.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

My Department has set aside £40 million to respond to the current crisis affecting Afghans in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries. About £22 million has already been allocated to agencies for their work in the region to fulfil their humanitarian goals. This includes £14 million to UN agencies. Our financial assistance is complemented by the provision of technical personnel, logistical, material and other practical support.

Co-ordination for humanitarian assistance is the responsibility of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which has appointed a regional humanitarian co-ordinator based in Islamabad. We have provided £1 million to OCHA in response to the current crisis to support these co-ordination efforts. This includes the provision of technical personnel to set up a humanitarian information centre (HIC) that will collate and communicate humanitarian information on the needs and programmes to all concerned agencies. This contribution will also be used to increase the capacity of the offices of the UN resident co-ordinators in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

We have also provided £1 million to support the work of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, who is charged with the responsibility of supervising the UN humanitarian effort in Afghanistan and negotiating the political settlement necessary to bring the conflict to an end.

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