Challenges in Yemen

Voting linePeople queuing to vote in early presidential elections 2012

Yemen is entering a critical phase in its history and fledging transition from autocracy to democracy, 2013 represents a milestone year for the country as it attempts to achieve a series of crucial benchmarks.

This milestone year will see Yemen attempt to achieve the implementation of a National Dialogue Conference that sparks a rewriting of the Yemeni Constitution and establishes the legal framework for Transitional Justice and an Independent Human Rights Institution. 

These critical steps forward will also spur Yemen toward a Referendum and ultimately Presidential as well as Local Elections, as the country undergoes restructuring of its military and security apparatuses.  It is no doubt a complex transitional phase with a myriad web of complexities that hinder a rebalancing of power.

Yemen is transforming. As the country heals from conflicts of the past and looks to the future during this Transitional Period, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stands ready to continue its support to the Yemeni people on their path of democratic reforms.

These reforms, in the wake of massive people's protests, seek to capitalize on the hopes and visions of millions who desire a stable Yemen with responsive institutions that integrate their aspirations into decision-making processes.

How we address these challenges


In response to Yemen’s challenges and the Transitional Period, we undertook a massive realignment of our resources and capacities to target and align our programme priorities to the Transition Period.

This new focus was motivated by the Gulf Cooperation Council Implementation Mechanism, as well as a “UNDP Transitional Plan for Yemen,” encouraged on by management.

The alignment strategy began with the development of a common framework developed with the UN Country Team called “Joint UN Vision to Support the Transition.” Consequently, we have shut down five non-relevant projects and scaled up our portfolio of Governance projects.

In June 2012, our Governance Team developed a three year Strategic Plan and within 6 months, they commenced delivery against all key GCC Framework milestones including Elections, Human Rights, Transitional Justice, National Dialogue, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Youth, Public and Local Government sectors and others.

This has resulted in new partnerships with the Ministries of Local Administration, Trade and Industry, Planning and International Cooperation, Interior, Human Rights, Legal Affairs, Finance as well as the Offices of the President and Prime Minister, the Supreme Commission for Referenda and Elections and local CSOs where UNDP is the only development partner with embedded staff.


Facts and Figures

  • Yemen ranks last in the Gender Inequality Index of the 2013 Human Development Report[1] out of 148 countries, and occupies as well the last place in the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum in the overall ranking of 135 countries.
  • The Governance Team in UNDP is working with over 500 CSOs in support of the National Dialogue, Transitional Justice, Human Rights and Youth.
  • Within 45 days, UNDP supported the Supreme Commission for Referenda and Elections to hold the first Free and Fair Presidential elections by providing access to 11 million voters of whom 62% voted.
  • Only 2% of grants transfers from the Government of Yemen are channelled to Local Administration Authority which is the lowest form of Government.
  • In a public perception survey conducted by UNDP, 61% of respondents noted that they had confidence in the Police and Security forces.
  • Ministry of Human Rights has 100% access to all male and female prisoners.

[1] Gender Inequality Index of the 2013 Human Development Report (UNDP), Yemen scores 0.747 and ranks 148th out of 148th Countries. On the general HDR Index (2013) Yemen ranks 160th out of 186 countries.


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