OP-ED

Yemeni Government Fights Poverty in the New Yemen

National Yemen

On August 1, the Government of Yemen requested support from the United Nations to accelerate their progress eradicating poverty. Under joint leadership by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Local Administration, partners and stakeholders have been invited for a two-day workshop to discuss the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The initiative builds on findings from recent socio-economic assessments, in particular of the ‘Multidimensional Livelihoods Assessment in Conflict Areas’ conducted last year, as well as the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference. Based on assessments, the Government has chosen to focus acceleration efforts on employment for women and youth, and improving rural livelihoods. Poverty in Yemen remains pervasive, with unemployment among 15-to-24-year-olds close to 53 percent. More than 90 percent of Yemeni women of working age do not participate in the labor force, and more than 90 percent of those who do work, mostly rural women, work without pay. Initially, the focus of the initiative will be on Taiz and Ibb governorates in Al Janad province.

The MAF is a participatory process that will help all partners and stakeholders to collectively analyze and work on addressing the key constraints that hamper the effectiveness of strategic interventions for poverty eradication and to identify viable and multi-sectoral solutions, in line with national priorities.

“Yemen is facing one of its most critical yet significant times.  The Government is working despite challenges on continuing the promising beginning of change,” says the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Mohammed al-Saadi.

“Despite international and national speculations that Yemen would fall into war following events in 2011, Yemen has surprised the world by standing firm and by carrying out the national dialogue conference. What we are doing today is to show that Yemen is determined to continue on that track,” says the Minister of Local Administration.

“The fruitful results of the consultative meetings will enhance the outcomes of the national dialogue conference, especially on decentralization,” says Mr. Paolo Lembo, United Nations Resident Coordinator. “We at the UN support the Government to secure a safe and successful transition which cannot be achieved without responding to the people’s needs,” he says.

The discussions include issues of skill development, the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and the role of the private sector in creating job opportunities, especially for women and youth, and improving rural livelihoods.

The outcomes of the discussions will contribute to the development of a concrete and prioritized Action Plan that will help accelerate poverty reduction in Al Janaad Province, also paving the way for similar efforts in other parts of Yemen. The elaboration of the MAF for Yemen is foreseen to inform and feed into the formulation of the next National Development Plan as well as related development plans at Governorate level.

The Government of Japan is amongst the key donors supporting youth employment generation in Yemen.