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Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many Freedom of Information applications his Department has received; how many have taken more than 20 days to process; and how manyof these gave rise to complaints about the time taken. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Between January and June 2005 the Cabinet Office received 967 Freedom of Information requests. Of these requests 157 took more than 20 working days to process but had an agreed extension and 180 took more than 20 working days to process with no agreed extension. The Cabinet Office does not hold information regarding the number of complaints about the time taken to process Freedom of Information requests.
The Department for Constitutional Affairs is committed to publishing quarterly updates in relation to departmental performance under FOI, including information on both the volume and outcomes of requests. The bulletin for the second quarter was published on 30 September 2005 and can be found on the DCA website at http://www.foi.gov.uk/statsapr-jun05.htm and in the Library. The next bulletin will be published before Christmas, while an annual report will be published in early 2006.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of consultant-led projects in his Department; what sanctions are available to penalise consultants who run unsuccessful projects; how many projects conducted by consultants were assessed as unsuccessful in each year since 2000; and what sanctions were imposed in each case. 
David Cairns: All projects in the Scotland Office are led by senior responsible owners who are civil servants; they may engage consultants to provide advice and assistance with the delivery of a project.
When engaging consultants, the Office would include, as part of the contract, terms and conditions that would provide sanctions should they fail to meet their contractual obligations. That, in conjunction with appropriate robust contract management arrangements, ensures that consultants deliver work within the terms and conditions of their contract. If they were to breach their contract, the Office would exercise its legal rights under the contract.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much has been spent in each year from 1 May 1997 on ministerial travel, broken down by (a) provision and running costs of vehicular transport, (b) first class travel by rail, (c) standard class travel by rail, (d) first class travel by air, (e) club or equivalent class travel by air and (f) economy class travel by air. 
David Cairns: My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, has asked Roy Burke, Chief Executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) to write to the hon. Member with details of the costs of ministerial vehicles provided to Departments in 200405. Copies of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
For information for the financial years 200001 to 200304, I refer the hon. Member to the letters from the GCDA chief executive to the hon. Member for Buckingham (John Bercow) dated 10 January 2005 and to the then hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Howard Flight) dated 13 September 2003. Copies of these letters are available in the Library.
In respect of overseas travel by Ministers, since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet ministers costing£500 or more during each financial year. The Government have also published on an annual basis the cost of all ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Library of the House. These report information for the financial years 199596 to 200405. Information for 200506 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the current financial year. Detailed analysis of other forms of ministerial travel could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of EU regulations on trace elements of the chemical aflatoxin on African producers of (a) nuts, (b) cereals and (c) dried fruits. 
Hilary Benn: DFID supports a multi-donor funded programme that assists developing countries in improving their expertise and capacity to analyse and implement international sanitary and phytosanitary standards. It is a joint initiative between the World Trade Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation. DFID is the biggest donor, contributing £850,000.
The programme responds to developing countries' own priorities. Analysis of the impact of EU regulations on trace elements of the chemical aflatoxin on African producers, specifically on nuts, cereals or dried fruits would be supported through this programme at the request of African countries. This project, for example, supported a request from Malawi and Zambia to assist them to address post-harvest aflatoxin contamination in the paprika and groundnut sectors.
The EC has provided technical assistance to developing countries to meet the EU regulations on aflatoxins and residues through seminars and technical workshops. Additionally a specific workshop for African countries will take place in Brussels next spring
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and there are additional opportunities for developing countries to become familiar with EU legislation on aflatoxins.
DFID is currently strengthening its own capacity to assess the impact of existing and proposed EU sanitary and phytosanitary legislation, such as the regulations on trace elements of aflatoxin, for agricultural products on developing country producers.
Mr. Thomas: In 200506, DFID has committed £9.43 million in bilateral aid to countries in the Central Asia region. We have also committed £4.52 million to a regional programme in Central Asia that aims to help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
DFID aims to increase bilateral aid to two focal countries in Central Asia, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. Bilateral aid allocations to these countries in 200506 are £5.6 million for Kyrgyz Republic and £3 million for Tajikistan. Allocations for the next two financial years have not yet been finalised. DFID aims to increase assistance to these two countries both bilaterally and through multilateral organisations, beyond 200708.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the contribution of the Commission for Africa to the objectives of achieving (a) conflict resolution, (b) good governance and (c) transparent and accountable government structures in African countries since the Commission reported in March. 
Hilary Benn: The Commission for Africa (CfA) report emphasises the progress that has been made in Africa in recent years. Its recommendations have helped to clarify development objectives and emphasise the importance of peace and security, and good governance.
On conflict resolution for example, the CfA recommended building the capacity of the African Union to prevent and resolve violent conflict. This was subsequently reflected in agreements at the G8 summit at Gleneagles to support the African Union's peace support operations, build up the African Standby Force for
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resolving conflicts, support development of an early warning system and establish a Panel of the Wise to mediate conflicts before they erupt into violence.
The CfA took a strong line on good governance, stating that improvements are first and foremost the responsibility of African countries and people. But action by rich nations is also essential. This was also reflected in G8 agreements at Gleneagles, such as that to help the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) build African political and financial capacity and help African countries tackle their own issues.
The CfA was also clear about the need for Africa and its partners to tackle corruption. Once again, this was reflected in commitments at Gleneagles, including increasing support to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and early ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption.
The UK Government have regular meetings at ministerial level to discuss and monitor progress with implementing such G8 commitments and Commission for Africa recommendations. At the international level, the Africa Partnership Forum will be monitoring delivery of commitments on the basis of a joint action plan now being prepared.
Hilary Benn: The Commission for Africa (CfA) was established in February 2004 and provided an opportunity to take a fresh look at Africa's past and present, the international community's role, and agree recommendations on the future. In line with the original design that the Commission for Africa would not be a permanent institution, the independent Secretariat closed on 1 August 2005. The UK Government have committed to reflect CfA recommendations in their policy and we are working with African and donor partners to support and monitor implementation.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the time scale is for implementing the findings of the Commission for Africa report published in March; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: The Commission for Africa (CfA) report makes a wide range of recommendations with different time scales. When my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, launched the Commission for Africa (CfA) report on 11 March 2005, he committed to reflecting CfArecommendations in UK policy and proposed a mechanism to monitor implementation year by year.
Many CfA recommendations have been reflected in commitments made by the G8 at Gleneagles and by the UN at the Millennium Review summit. The UK Government have regular meetings at ministerial level to discuss and monitor progress on G8 commitments and Commission for Africa follow up. The Prime Minister chaired such a meeting on 18 October and the next one is scheduled for 8 December.
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At the international level, the Africa Partnership Forum will be monitoring delivery of commitments on the basis of a Joint Action plan now being prepared. This will bring together the commitments of Africa and its development partners for the first time.
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