United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator visits the Officials of Aden and Abyan, discusses humanitarian issues and long term solutions.

Feb 10, 2014

UN Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Country Director during visit to Aden and Abyan

10, Feb, 2014 - Aden, Mr Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, visited on 10 February the Port city of Aden, accompanied by Ms Mikiko Tanaka, Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Yemen and Mr Trond Jensen, Director of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Their visit aimed at meeting with Governorate officials, local UN offices and partners to get direct updates on the humanitarian situation while also looking at long term development solutions such as youth employment. The delegation met with HE Wahid Ali Nashid, Governor of Aden and with Mr. Mahdi Mohamed Al Hamed, Deputy Governor and General Secretary of Abyan Governorate Council.

Mr Ould Cheikh Ahmed was accompanied by senior representatives of both the humanitarian and development arms of the UN in Yemen: “While we maintain focus on urgent humanitarian needs, we stress the importance of addressing rapidly the underlying causes and foster development,” he said. “As part of our overall humanitarian strategy we continue to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance. We are, however, recognizing the need to reduce the vulnerability of Yemenis through strengthening resilience in communities, promoting durable solutions and early recovery, as well as empower local organizations to respond to emergencies. At the same time, we know that many of the underlying causes of vulnerability stem from lack of development,” said Mr Jensen.

E Eng. Wahid Ali Rashid emphasised the importance of Aden as a point of attraction for surrounding governorates and beyond in terms of economic activity, trade, administration and services. He noted that Aden needs to be strenghthened to play this role, especially in the upcoming federal system. “Aden Governorate is going through a difficult period with overburdened essential infrastructure, shortcomings in the education sector and high rates of youth unemployment, which among other challenges are sources of many present and future social evils,” he said.

n Abyan, the large majority of populations displaced during 2011 war have returned but, many citizens have still not recovered their destroyed livelihoods. The general unempoyment rate is high, especially amoung youth, and is threatening social cohesion, stability and long term growth.

“We are thankful for the humanitarian support received during the most difficult times. Abyan Governorate is witnessing renewed activity, but the destruction has been immense and we need to recover more fully, in term of human capacities and in terms of infrastructure,” said Mr Mahdi Mohamed Al Hamed. The visit was also an opportunity to meet beneficiaries of UNDP’s livelihood support and employment projects, as well as winners of the Youth Creativity Award.

"The Youth Economic Empowerment Project (YEEP) constitutes a successful pilot that could be expanded and replicated in other Governorates within a national strategy for youth employment. The ‘3x6 approach’ applied under the project has been tested and proven in other countries, and we now have concrete examples showing that it also works in Yemen,” Ms Tanaka said having met with young entrepreneurs from Aden supported by UNDP.

Working closely with the youth, the Yemeni NGO For All Foundation has witnessed the impact on young entrepreneurs and their communities: Sabah, Badri Baker witnessed: “The support provided to new young entrepreneurs has been life-changing for the targeted youth. They also have become role models. Creating job opportunities for youth is very significant matter in this difficult economic period.” 28 years old Ms Rema Qaid, who became one of the first women in the chicken business, says: “It has changed my personality and it allows me to support myself and my family financially after my father’s death.”

Mr Ould Cheikh Ahmed and Mr Jensen also visited a project supported by OCHA Emergency Relief Fund, jointly implemented by Social Services Association (SSA) and the Danish Refugee Council in Sheikh Othman district of Aden. The project offers outreach services to drug-dependent youth and advocacy for youth at-risk of drug consumption all over Aden with a concentration in the districts of Sheikh Othman, Muallah and Mansoura.

Contact information
Erich Ogoso (OCHA) at Ogoso@un.org, 712 222 831 or
Sylvain Merlen (UNDP) at sylvain.merlen@undp.org, 712 221 517.

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