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Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many (a) press and (b) communications officers the House of Commons Commission employed in each of the last 10 years. 
2001: 1 x Media and Communications Assistant (part-time)
2003: 1 x Select Committee Media Officer
2004: 2 x Select Committee Media Officers
2005: 2 x Media and Communications Officers
2006: 2 x Select Committee Media Officers
There are currently nine staff in the House of Commons Media and Communications Service: the Communications Adviser, five Select Committee Media Officers, two Media and Communications Officers and a Media and Communications Assistant.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much the Commission paid in bonuses to press and communication officers in each of the last 10 years; and what the (a) highest and (b) lowest such bonus was in each of those years. 
Nick Harvey: In order to protect the privacy of the staff concerned, the value of payments made in each year cannot be disclosed. However, for the years in question the House of Commons Commission paid a total of £5,174 in respect of performance related bonuses to press and communications officers. The individual amounts paid ranged from £74 to £515.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken to promote the safety of his Department's employees operating in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The safety and security of all staff in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq is a top priority for DFID. We take all possible measures to ensure this including, where appropriate, providing hardened accommodation and office facilities, and specialist training for staff. DFID staff and consultants are covered by Foreign and Commonwealth Office security management procedures. Current security provisions are under constant review in order to ensure we provide maximum safety to our staff. Each and every security incident is considered carefully, and we have already made a number of enhancements to our security provisions as a result of recent incidents.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: DFID monitors the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan very closely. We receive regular updates from the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan and other UN agencies such as the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
UNOCHA recently conducted a workshop in Afghanistan which looked at the key humanitarian challenges in delivering humanitarian aid and how
donors could better co-ordinate to improve its delivery and effectiveness. The final report should be available in March 2008.
In 2006-07 DFID provided £1.6 million in bilateral humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is also one of the largest recipients of UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) support, to which the UK is the largest contributor (23 per cent. of total CERF value in 2006). Afghanistan received $32.3 million from CERF in 2006. We also provide core funding to UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and UNHCR, all of whom have operations in Afghanistan.
|DFID country officesfull delegated authority|
|(1) India numbers include those staff in the state offices in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya, Orissa and West Bengal.|
(2) Nigeria numbers include those staff in the state offices in Lagos, Kano and Enugu.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the World Trade Organisation on the Doha trade round; and what assessment he has made of the prospects for the agreement of a new trade deal in 2008. 
Mr. Thomas: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development discussed the Doha trade round with Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organisation, during the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.
It is still possible to reach agreement on a Doha trade deal in 2008 if there is movement from all concerned. It is important that all parties show flexibility in the negotiations to try and resolve outstanding issues. We are now waiting for the revised chairs' negotiating texts, which are expected to be issued in February, and which will provide the basis for further negotiations and a possible agreement.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department took to mark the suffering of the victims of the (a) Holocaust and (b) recent genocides on Holocaust Memorial Day. 
Mr. Malik: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government spoke at the Holocaust Memorial Day 2008 in Liverpool, which took place on 27 January. I also attended in my role as a trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. The powerful commemoration rightly acknowledged the suffering experienced by the victims of other more recent atrocities including those that occurred in Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what role his Department has played in drafting the National Security Strategy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the continuing effects of the chemical warfare in Vietnam; and what plans he has for assistance to the Government of Vietnam to mitigate such effects. 
Mr. Malik: Over the past 12 years, the Ministry of Health in Vietnam have been carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the continuing effects of dioxin contamination across the country. The evidence shows that the majority of land in Vietnam is not contaminated and that concentrations of dioxin in most of Vietnam are within international guidelines. However, there remain hotspots of serious contamination particularly around former US bases where dioxin and other herbicides were stored and deployed. The main priorities are to protect communities living in these areas and to provide support for those already affected.
The Vietnam Government are implementing policies, standards and guidelines to deal with the problem. This work is being funded by a number of agencies including the Canadian International Development Agency, Ford Foundation, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. DFID provides budget support to Vietnam through its funding of the World Bank's Poverty Reduction Support Credit. Part of this supports work on environmental standards and waste management. In addition, our education programmes (around £40 million) support inclusive education for children with disabilities (including from dioxin) and our core funds to the UN (£4 million) also support UN work on environmental management. A large number of international and national non-governmental organisations also provide support to Agent Orange victims, including the Vietnam Red
Cross, Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange, the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, and Oxfam-Hong Kong.
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