Yemen’s Conflict: The Struggle for a sustainable future

In the recent years Yemen has been encountering a time of across the board destabilisation, which strengthened in September 2014 and brought about all out common war and universal military intercession in March 2015.

While the brutality has been horrendous and dangerous, by a wide margin the most harming ramifications for the more extensive Yemeni populace have been the way the contention has undermined the frameworks by which the country capacities – obliterating the economy, social coordination, the compassionate circumstance and formative advancement.

The outcome is that a huge number of individuals in Yemen are presently persevering extreme financial hardship and close starvation.


As indicated by UN organisations, between 2015 and February 2016, the contention left more than 7,600 individuals dead, including 3,000 regular people and another 6,000 harmed. About portion of Yemen’s population, around 26.8 million lives in regions influenced by the conflict. Serious nourishment weakness contacts 7.6 million individuals, and an expected 2 million are malnourished, including 1.3 million kids, of whom 320,000 are experiencing extreme intense lack of severe acute malnutrition.

Violent conflict has caused a dramatic deterioration of the economic and social conditions in the country. Output is estimated to have contracted by about 50% and household incomes have been declining since 2015. Also poverty has dramatically increased with an estimated 52% of the population living under US$1.90 a day PPP (or 81% at an income rate of US$3.20 a day). UNOCHA estimates that 22.2 million people in Yemen—approximately 75% of the entire population are in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance.

The risk of massive famine has been latent since 2017, and cholera, diphtheria, and other communicable diseases have been ravaging the country. Since the escalation of violent conflict in March 2015, the economy has deteriorated sharply the estimated contraction amounts to approximately 50 percent cumulatively. According to UNHCR Report launched in March 2018 around 2,014,026 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) which represent a major burden on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Yemen likewise faces genuine monetary and water difficulties that are raising alerts over its progressing soundness. Indeed, even before the flood of of Arab uprisings that reached Yemen in February 2011, the country afforded the concentration of multiple, and mutually reinforcing pressures, which threatened to push the country itself towards the failure threshold.

At the financial and social dimensions, these included: an approaching water emergency since the country’s holds are slowly reducing; the consumption of effectively constrained oil saves which provided up to 75% of government income until 2010; an uncontrolled populace development that increments up to 50 million by 2050; weak infrastructure, administrative capacity and government services; massive corruption; and high illiteracy.



War and ongoing conflict has lead the country to many challenges and it impact them negatively such as, poverty , famine, education, health , justice , political situation , water scarcity ,lack of protection and security , energy , weak institutions  ,  gender based violence  and achieving peace are the most challenges that  prevent sustainable development to be achieved.

A civil war, raging since early 2015, has devastated the economy and destroyed critical infrastructure. This resulted in many economic challenges such as, currency collapse and increase of food price. This is mainly because of an economic siege, also Yemen’s ports being closed implied cutting off oil and gas exportation as well as the cease of investment opportunities. Moreover, these economic challenges have become a problem to young people and public workers as most of them have lost their jobs or without salary and job opportunities become limited and rare to find.

Yemen has suffered from many Social challenges to achieve sustainable development such as, culture, tradition, gender equality, literacy, Qat and inequality. According to a report by UNESCO In 2003 Yemen’s illiteracy rate was 53.6% which indicates Yemen is need for more education facilities and an equality access to education especially primary education.

Water pollution and water scarcity are considered environmental challenge and that is because around one million people have deprived of clean water and sanitation in crowded urban environments and within a country slowly emerging from the worst cholera outbreak in modern times. Collapse of the sewage system, excessive use of pesticide, qat , desertification , climate change , air pollution and gases from bombs are also  environment challenges that faced Yemen from achieving sustainable development.


Regarding the future of sustainable development, it has recommended that, National Sustainable Development plan should be adopted. Education should be improved, justice should be achievable for everyone, climate action program should be implemented  and renewable energy system should be affordable.

A sustainable peace should be implemented in Yemen to overcome all the sustainable development challenges and the Yemeni government should adopt a National Sustainable Development plan. Yemen is in need of a strategy for enhancing human rights, transparency and accountability in line with global standards.  Therefore, in resolving Yemen’s civil war and rebuilding society, the Yemeni authorities and international companions ought to think about environmental sustainability to make sure a lasting peace. Donors emphasise regularising and increasing aid, whilst the Yemeni government must prioritise managing the country’s dwindling water supply and building information of local climate science.

Initiatives’ come from Local organisations and International organisation working on sustainable development. An example of those initiatives is International Youth Council – Yemen (IYCY) , a non governmental organisation working in Yemen in different programs and one of their program is to train , Empower  and  Educate Youth about  Sustainable Development  Goals  which aims to build their capacity so they can work and think of any sustainable Projects in Yemen . In addition to prepare them to be the hope of Yemen and be ready once peace achieved.

I personally have trained a round 50 Yemeni Youth and I have look to their amazing way of thinking especially in Planning for sustainable projects such as a project called (invest your garbage), which aims in recycling of waste, in addition to the project (all equal), which aims to raise awareness of the community that there is no one better than other. Third example was a bout building (Green House), which aims to build Green Building and many more Innovations Projects that will serve the country to be more sustainable.



According to the first and second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Reports of 2003 and 2010 Yemen was off track with respect to meeting the goals, with the possible exception of universal primary education and under-five mortality rate. Given this record, Yemen remains far from achieving the targets that the international community agreed to pursue at the UN Millennium Summit of 2000. Nevertheless, Yemen’s government views accelerated progress and, if possible, full achievement of the MDG targets as a high priority.

Based on the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, Yemen is unlikely to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Over the last few years, Yemen has faced a reversal in development, largely due to the impacts of food supply, fuel and financial crises. These trends, further compounded by natural disasters and a refugee’s inflow, have resulted in a complex emergency situation. Though there was a Political transition in Yemen, especially after the Arab spring revolutions in 2011 which Yemen was one of them, peace was there and development was ongoing in different areas.

Editors Note: The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of Featured Photo Credit: 
About the Author /

Tareq has more than eight years of experience working in Organizational Management, Humanitarian work and Sustainable Development policy. He has been an advisor for Non -Government Organization locally in Yemen and in the Arab Region especially for Sustainable development policy and development Projects. He is the Chairman of International Youth Council - Yemen (IYCY) a Yemeni Non-governmental organization since 2012. He was nominated as the UN Environment (UNEP) Regional Representative for Major Groups and Stakeholders (Civil Society) for West Asia Region during the UNEP Consultative Meeting (November 2015 and September 2017). He is the Founder and Head of Arab Youth Sustainable Development Network (AYSDN). Tareq holds a Master of Science in management of Sustainable Development Goals (MSDG) from LUMSA University – Italy.

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