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21 Nov 2005 : Column 1597W—continued

Zurbaran Paintings

27. Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners if he will make a statement on the future of the Zubara"n paintings owned by the Commissioners, which hang in Auckland Castle. [29663]

Sir Stuart Bell: The Commissioners' Board of Governors recently agreed to retain ownership of the paintings and to re-examine their future, along with the suitability of Auckland Castle, in five years.



Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money was disbursed to Afghan farmers as compensation for the destruction of poppies in 2003; and how much remains to be paid. [26827]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

In 2003, the Afghan Transitional Authority ran a non-compensated eradication programme through the provincial governors. No compensation, therefore, was disbursed to Afghan farmers during this year.

Climate Change

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the implications of climate change for humanitarian response; and if he will make a statement. [20931]

Hilary Benn: Disaster risk reduction is a key part of adaptation to climate change. The UK is working with the international community to help developing countries improve climate information and manage climate risks.

DFID is part of an informal donors' group on climate change called the Vulnerability and Adaptation Resource Group (VARG). Through VARG, DFID has been involved in the production of a paper entitled Poverty and Climate Change" (2003) which highlighted the growing significance of climate change on development and called for action to manage related risks. We are now working with other donors on a second paper on disaster risk reduction and climate change. This paper will seek to identify links between disaster prevention and climate change adaptation and to highlight any potential conflicts in current approaches.

DFID is also working with the UN, World Bank and developing countries, particularly the most disaster prone, to help them tackle disaster risk more effectively. We plan to publish a policy and implementation plan on our approach to disaster risk reduction later this year. This will include ways in which we aim to integrate
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climate change adaptation into disaster risk reduction work.

At Gleneagles, G8 Heads invited the World Bank to develop and implement best practice" guidelines for screening investments in climate sensitive sectors. The aim would be to determine how impacts related to climate change might affect the performance of such investments. For example, investments in long-life infrastructure, such as housing, roads, bridges and industry, could be at increased risk of flooding or hurricanes. G8 Heads further encouraged all major bilateral and multilateral development organisations to follow suit. DFID is working to begin implementation of such arrangements by 2008. This is in line with the Commission for Africa recommendation.


Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when his Department will respond to the letter of 24 August 2004 sent by Mrs. Susie Howard with regard to the SAT rural education programme in Honduras (JFS 1353). [23172]

Mr. Thomas: DFID offers its sincere apologies for the delay in responding to the letter from Mrs. Susie Howard.

The letter was addressed to a senior education adviser, but unfortunately at that time he had left that position, having been posted to Thailand.

A DFID official spoke with Mrs. Susie Howard explaining the delay and apologies were offered together with assurances that her letter would be answered by the end of November 2005.

The letter from DFID will respond to the suggestions made by Mrs. Susie Howard regarding the SAT rural programme in Honduras.

Departmental Staff

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many personnel were employed in his Department in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) civil servants, (b) contractors and (c) other staff. [27569]

Hilary Benn: Details of DFID home civil service (HCS) staff numbers are published in Civil Service Statistics which are available in the Library of the House of Commons and on the Cabinet Office Statistics website at: of_the_civil_service/statistics/civil_service_statistics/index.asp

For ease of reference, these figures since 1997 are detailed in the following table:
(a) DFID HCS number

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No historical records are available of the number of contractors engaged by the organisation that would enable us to provide the information requested.

In addition to our home civil service personnel, DFID employs staff in country in our overseas offices. Historically we have also employed staff on fixed-term technical co-operation contracts (TCOs), although these arrangements were discontinued in July 2002. The numbers of personnel in each of these categories are as follows:
Staff appointed in country (SAIC), i.e. locally engaged staff overseasFixed-term contract staff serving on development projects overseas

(19) Still serving on contracts started before July 2002.

Details of our casual and agency temporary staff numbers are not held centrally within DFID and could be obtained only by incurring a disproportionate cost to the organisation.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many employees have been dismissed by his Department in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [29130]

Mr. Thomas: Over the last five years, the number of staff who have been dismissed by DFID, are shown in the table:
Year of dismissal (1 April to 30 March)Total
2005–06 (To date)5

This data includes all dismissals in our Headquarter offices in the UK and our offices overseas, where we employ both UK-based staff and staff appointed in country.

International Monetary Fund/World Bank

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the (a) International Monetary Fund and (b) World Bank is more transparent and accountable in its operations. [29392]

Hilary Benn: The UK has consistently pushed for improvements in transparency and accountability at both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Both organisations now make a large proportion of their information public.
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In the IMF, all major policy documents, summaries of board discussions and country documents are made publicly available with the consent of the country authorities. The Independent Evaluation Office provides comprehensive independent scrutiny of the IMF's work and we are currently contributing to an external evaluation of its effectiveness.

Nearly all World Bank documents are made public. The World Bank has also established approximately 65 Public Information Centres around the world, which provide the general public with copies of its publications and access to its website.

The UK has consistently pressed the World Bank to publish more information, for example, board minutes, executive directors' statements, and country policy and institutional assessment (CPIA) scores. CPIA scores play a significant role in determining how the World Bank allocates its concessional resources.

Partly as a result of our efforts, a revised World Bank disclosure policy was approved in March 2005. Board minutes will now be made public. All country assistance strategies will be made public as a rule. There will also be a pilot programme of publishing some board documents at the same time as they are sent to the board. In addition, this year, it was agreed that the World Bank would disclose CPIA scores, starting with the 2005 CPIA exercise. We regard these recent moves as significant steps in the right direction. However, we will continue to press for further improvements to transparency and accountability in the World Bank and IMF.

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