Press Notice 49, Session 2006-07

New inquiry

Development Assistance in Insecure Environments: Afghanistan

The International Development Committee has decided to begin an inquiry into DFID's development assistance in Afghanistan.

The UK Government is committed to spending £330 million on reconstruction and development in Afghanistan by March 2009. Afghanistan is off-track on all the Millennium Development Goals, including poverty reduction. Increasing insecurity, particularly in the south, is exacerbating the situation. The Committee will examine the challenges of delivering development assistance in insecure environments.

The Committee invites written evidence on any of the following issues:

  • The objectives of DFID's programme in Afghanistan; the trade-off between short term gains and long-term transformation; balancing and prioritising multiple goals and objectives; DFID's experience and knowledge of working in insecure environments.

  • The geographical balance in the distribution of funding, especially between the north and the south.

  • The contribution of budget support, through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, to strengthening institutional capacity and accountability.

  • Coordination of the military and development effort, in particular the UK military effort; progress in the whole of government's approach.

  • Possible tensions between the development and the security agendas; clarity of budget lines and overlap of stabilisation, reconstruction, humanitarian and development assistance

  • The effectiveness of the Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit stabilisation effort in Helmand Province.

  • The sustainability and effectiveness of counter-narcotics policies and their impact on development.

  • The level of funding for and the appropriateness of the Alternative Livelihoods programme.

  • The role of NGOs; the impact of the decline in direct core funding on the provision of humanitarian services; the impact of the security situation on NGO activity.

  • Harmonisation and coordination of the donor response; the relationship between different aid modalities; the role and effectiveness of the integrated mission.

Submission of written evidence

The Committee invites individuals and organisations with relevant expertise and experience to submit written evidence on any of these issues by 1 October 2007. The Committee is particularly interested in receiving evidence from organisations in Afghanistan.

Evidence submitted should:

- if possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format, either by e-mail to or on a disk. If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details

- begin with a one-page summary if it is longer than six pages

- have numbered paragraphs

- avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.

Submissions can also be sent by post to the International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet, by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. Please bear in mind that select committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Detailed enquiries to Dr Anna Dickson, Committee Specialist on 020 7219 2738 or


Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Quentin Davies MP (Lab), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab), Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem).

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589, or

Committee Contact: Dr Anna Dickson 020 7219 2738, or