Written Answers. - Consultancy Contracts.

Bernard Allen

Question:

499 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount of funding for consultant and related study contracts which has been approved as part of the 2002 departmental Estimates and the budgets in each organisation and agency falling within his Department's aegis for this type of work; the degree of cutback compared to 2001; the consultancy projects which have been cancelled or postponed as a consequence of the cutbacks; the capital projects which will be postponed as a consequence of the cutback in consultancy budgets; the consultancy projects under consideration with his Department and its agencies which will be funded in 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17179/02]

An allocation of €311,000 has been provided in the Foreign Affairs Vote – Vote 38 – under the consultancy subhead A7 for 2002. The comparative allocation for 2001 was €292,000. No consultancy or capital projects have been cancelled or postponed this year. It is anticipated that further projects, which will be funded under other subheads of Vote 38, this year will include consultancies for the following projects: the development of a new automated passport system; a strategic review with the Anglo-Irish Encounter reconciliation group; a legal equality scrutiny in relation to departmental regulations; and the development of an ICT strategy for the Department.

The Development Co-operation Directorate of my Department commissions a significant number of consultancies, funding for which is provided under subhead A7 of Vote 39. The approved budget for this subhead for 2002 is €1.893 million, comprising fees of €1.580 million and expenses of €0.313 million. There has been no reduction in this subhead in 2002.

The consultancies cover a broad range of disciplines, with particular emphasis on appraisal and evaluation of development programmes. A number of experts are also engaged to assist in the evaluation of funding proposals submitted to Ireland Aid for emergency relief and recovery funding.

A number of entities operate under the aegis of the Department of Foreign Affairs. These include the Agency for Personal Service Overseas – APSO – the National Committee for Development Education – NCDE – and the Irish Aid Advisory Committee – IAAC – which has been replaced by the Advisory Board of Ireland Aid – ABIA.

In the case of APSO, the budget for consultant and related study contracts for 2002 is €126,974. No APSO consultancies have been postponed. No further consultancy projects are under consideration for 2002.

The NCDE has made provision of €393,858 for consultancies in its 2002 Estimates. These consultancies 2002 include the following areas: education, research, training, capacity building, communications, information and evaluation. NCDE consultancies have not been postponed.

ABIA has a number of consultancies under consideration at present. These may include studies in the areas of humanitarian aid, responses to HIV-AIDS and private sector development in developing countries. Provision will be made for these consultancies from ABIA's overall budget allocation.