Their News [Archives:2008/1151/Local News]

May 1 2008

– British Embassy Introduces Online Visa Application

The British Embassy Visa Application Centre in the Aramex Building, Hadda Street, Sana'a will close on 26 April 2008 until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our visa customers.

Persons with outstanding applications submitted to Aramex will be contacted by the British Embassy.

In order to continue to provide a full visa service in Yemen, we are introducing our award-winning online application service Visa4UK. From 26 all applications must be made online at Once you have made your online application you will need to make an appointment online to attend the British Embassy to enrol your biometric data (electronic fingerscans and a digital photograph).

For further details of the new arrangements please visit the Embassy website at

– OIC secretary-general rejoices at release of professor Misuari,

The Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has welcomed the decision of the Philippines authorities to release on bail Professor Nur Misuari, Chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), after many years of detention and house arrest.

On this occasion, the Secretary-General calls on the two parties to proceed ahead with the implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement and to fulfill the commitments and obligations of this historic agreement. He also hopes that the third Trilateral Meeting to be held in Manila from 26 to 29 May 2008 between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) would be successful, with a view to restoring peace, security and stability in Mindanao in southern Philippines.

The Secretary-General avails himself of this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of solidarity, burying differences and rallying ranks inside the MNLF so as to reinstate the peace process and push on with progress, on a path free from obstacles so as to reach the desired just and durable peace based on the full implementation of the final Peace Agreement concluded in 1996.

TI calls on leading oil and gas companies to increase revenue transparency

New report shows companies should provide greater accountability

A majority of leading oil and gas companies are far from transparent when it comes to the payments they make to resource-rich countries, leaving the door open to corruption and hampering efforts to fight poverty, according to a report published today by Transparency International (TI).

“The tragic paradox, that many resource-rich countries remain poor, stems from a lack of data on oil and gas revenues and how they are managed. Companies must do more to increase transparency,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of TI.

Revenue transparency report findings

The 2008 Report on Revenue Transparency of Oil and Gas Companies evaluates 42 leading international and national oil and gas companies operating in 21 countries, based on the transparency of their reporting, particularly on payments made to governments for resource extraction rights.

The report, based on data made publicly available by companies, categorises companies into high, middle and low performers. Only a third of companies evaluated in the report are considered high performers. (See attached table for full results)

Oil and gas transparency fights poverty

Today, sixty percent of the world's poorest people live in resource-rich countries. Most constitutions grant citizens ultimate ownership of their country's natural resources. Yet much of the data on what companies pay for the right to exploit these resources and how this money is spent by host governments remains unpublished and beyond public scrutiny.

When companies and governments are fully transparent, citizens, journalists, civil society, researchers and investigators can track revenue flows, holding public officials to account and discouraging corruption. With oil prices at record highs and industry revenues in OPEC countries alone expected to reach nearly US $1 trillion in 2008, the question of transparency has never been more critical.

“Oil and gas wealth, if properly managed, should support better services and infrastructure. It should lead to a better quality of life for all citizens. It is the duty of civil society to work with companies and governments to unlock this potential,” said Labelle.

A call to companies

Companies need to act quickly to introduce proactive reporting, rather than wait for legislation. In identifying high-performers, TI's report shows that revenue reporting on a country-by-country basis, which is identified as best practice, is possible. As the companies with best results show, transparency and profitability are not mutually exclusive. To the contrary, greater transparency can enhance confidence in the financial markets and with stakeholders. “Revenue transparency is a win-win equation,” said Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of TI. “The benefits to all, especially the world's poorest, can be enormous.”

Companies: just one piece of the puzzle

“We hope that this report helps motivate companies to improve their revenue transparency and that they understand that civil society stands ready as a constructive partner in this process,” added de Swardt. “And when we update the report data we look forward to seeing not only improved scores, but greater company engagement in our work. This is an issue that can only be tackled collaboratively.”

Analysing company performance is just one piece of the puzzle. Although the private sector must increase revenue transparency, governments of host countries are ultimately accountable for the management of their resources. They must therefore lead the drive for a more equitable exploitation of oil and gas wealth, by enacting, promoting and enforcing regulation.

Future reports by Transparency International will look at the role of resource-rich country governments as well as those governments home to major extractive companies.

Report recommendations

The 2008 Report on Revenue Transparency of Oil and Gas Companies makes four key recommendations:

c Companies should proactively report revenues paid to governments on a country-by-country basis;

c Governments, stock exchanges and regulatory agencies should urgently consider mandatory reporting for companies operating in-country and abroad;

c Governments from oil and gas producing countries should introduce legislation mandating revenue transparency by all companies operating in their territories;

c Regulatory agencies and companies should agree to publish information in a uniform and accessible format, one that facilitates both comprehension and comparability.

– British Council – Extremely Short Story Competition

Yemen, 22nd April – 22nd May 2008: The British Council in Sana'a is running an Extremely Short Story Competition (ESSC) – Our Memories, Dreams and Futures, in conjunction with other British Council centres in the GCC and Zayed University in the UAE.

The aim of the ESSC is for students to enjoy writing in English with the chance to win a prize, get published and contribute to research. Students can write fact or fiction; poetry or prose, but they must write exactly 50 words on the theme of 'Our memories, dreams and futures' relating to their own lives and experiences. The submissions will be proof-read and edited before publication. Students can submit as many stories as they like up until the deadline.

The competition is open to any Yemeni or GCC national, studying at a secondary (high) school or tertiary (university/college) institution in Yemen. The institution must register in order for students to submit their stories.

For further information please see the website: or contact the British Council office on (01) 448356.

The British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We operate in 233 towns and cities in 110 countries and territories worldwide. We build relationships and understanding between people in the UK and other countries and increase appreciation of the UK's ideas and achievements overseas. The areas we focus on are creativity, education and civil society. We are a non-political organization which operates at arm's length from government.

– IATA Signs Global Declaration on Aviation and Climate Change

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has signed a historic commitment to tackle climate change. IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani was joined by the industry's other top leaders in a signing ceremony at the 3rd Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. “This declaration is a great step,” said Bisignani. “IATA's four-pillar strategy on climate change is now an industry commitment.

This commitment will drive us forward)first to our 25% fuel efficiency improvement target, and more importantly towards our vision of carbon neutral growth leading to a carbon emission free industry.”

“Environmental responsibility is a core promise of the aviation industry, alongside safety and security.

We have taken this responsibility seriously long before Kyoto with impressive results – a 70% improvement in fuel efficiency over the last four decades.

All the industry partners have a common goal – to keep aviation as a benchmark of environmental responsibility for others to follow,” said Bisignani. “Today's commitment is unique. What other industry is so united in its approach to environment?”

“But governments must play their part if we are truly to succeed. They must invest more effectively in environmental technologies – from alternative fuels to radical dynamics. And they need to match our efforts at efficiency – such as implementing next generation traffic management systems globally. A Single European Sky could save 12 million tonnes of CO2 at a stroke,” said Bisignani.

– Marie Stopes celebrates its 10th anniversary

Marie Stopes International – Yemen (MSI-Y) celebrated on last Sunday (20th of April 2008) in Movenpick Sana'a Hotel, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary of starting up its Clinical Program on Reproductive Health and Family Planning Services in Yemen.

The celebration was attended by Mr. Tim Turlot, the British Ambassador in Yemen, Mr. Dana Hovig Marie Stopes International Chief Executive, Dr. Ahmed Borajee:- General Secretary of the National Council of Population, Mrs. Rashida _Al-Hamdani : The Chief National Women Committee, and Ms. Fran Roots Marie Stopes International Yemen Country Representative, in addition of numbers of delegates of foreign embassies and International NGOs.

Mrs. Rashida Al-Hamdani expressed for the media, her appreciation on the continuous efforts of MSI-Y in providing the high quality of Family planning and Reproductive Health Services to the community in Yemen since 10 years of its establishment along with all other national and international NGOs.

At the beginning of the celebration, Mr. Dana Hovig, the CE of MSI, said that he is grateful for the Ministry of Public Health & Population for their unlimited support of MSIY for its activities and growth since its establishment.” He added that “”he is proud of the achievement of MSI Yemen staff and grateful to their hard work on rendering high quality of Reproductive Health Service for the Yemeni Society within the 4governorates; Sana'a