International Development written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown PPS (Mr Phil Woolas, Minister of State), Department for Communities and Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) humanitarian, (b) economic and (c) military assistance the UK is providing to Nepal.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Party Chair, Co-operative Party

The information is as follows.

Humanitarian assistance

DFID monitors the humanitarian situation in Nepal jointly with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and other international bodies. In 2006-07 DFID provided £400,000 to UNOCHA to facilitate its leadership in this monitoring role, plus to support its coordination of the international response to emerging and ongoing humanitarian crises.

In November 2006 DFID funded a detailed food security assessment by the Government of Nepal and UN agencies. In response to this assessment, DFID has contributed £250,000 to WFP's current emergency operation in the Karnali region of western Nepal.

DFID's overall contribution to humanitarian coordination and assistance in Nepal during this financial year has been £700,000.

Economic assistance

DFID is spending £36 million on development aid to Nepal in 2006-07. This is funding several major programmes that support economic growth, either directly or indirectly. Local livelihoods and economic activity in rural areas are being supported through DFID's Community Support Programme, the Livelihood and Forestry Programme, the Rural Access Programme and Agriculture support programme. In addition, we contribute to the cost of national government programmes in health and education, which increases spending and human development, which in turn will increase economic growth and create a better environment for investment. Finally, DFID's support to Maoist cantonments, the re-establishment of law and order, upcoming national elections and political inclusion initiatives are helping to build the legitimacy of the state and stabilise the country, which is vital for investment and growth.

Military assistance

The UK supports the transition of the Nepal Army to a regular professional army under civilian control. We are working with the Government of Nepal to develop appropriate structures, including a strengthened Ministry of Defence, to help achieve this. We do not supply lethal equipment to the Nepal Army and have no plans to do so. We are assisting with training and equipment to strengthen the Nepal Army's ability to undertake mine clearance.

As part of the peace process, the UK is also supporting the establishment of temporary camps for Maoist combatants, and is funding the United Nations Mission in Nepal to conduct the registration and verification of Maoist arms and combatants.

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