After almost a year of crisis, Yemen has embarked on a political transition based on an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in November 2011. Yemen started a 565-member National Dialogue process in March 2013, which concluded in January 2014 with the decision to transform Yemen into a Federal State.
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NEW YORK, September 24, 2014 – The eighth ministerial level meeting of the ‘Friends of Yemen’ welcomed the recent Peace and National Partnership Agreement that averted a civil war in Yemen, and called... Show More + for a renewed commitment to compromise and dialogue to ensure the success of the political and economic transition. Further progress on reforms was urged to give all Yemenis a stake in the country’s future, along with measures to address the needs of the most vulnerable population, while donors were reminded of the necessity of fulfilling their pledges of support at this critical junctureMeeting three days after the signing of the peace agreement that ended a recent escalation of hostilities, the conference gathered more than 50 representatives of governments and international organizations. Discussions focused on the formation of the new government in Yemen, as stipulated by the agreement, and the challenge ahead to build and maintain a stable environment for the transition“The new government should take immediate steps to show they are serious about transparency, improving services to citizens and tackling corruption,” said Inger Andersen, Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, who represented the World Bank Group at the conference. “This will send a signal to the people of Yemen that their priorities are in line with demands for a more just and accountable government, and to donors that their support is yielding results.Yemen embarked on a political transition at the end of 2011, following an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council that ended a year-long political crisis. With more than half the population living below the poverty line, the country has a humanitarian emergency to cope with in addition to managing a transition. A National Dialogue was organized to bring together the full cross section of society to achieve consensus on the country’s future, while ambitious reforms were launched to improve the management of the national budget and expand social nets. Stability will be critical for implementing the outcomes of the National Dialogue and further progress on economic reforms“There is no time to lose on economic reforms, as they are the route to freeing up the funds that can be directed to the poorest that need them most,” added Inger Andersen, ”this will give Yemenis one of the critical ingredients for stability – hope for a better tomorrow.The World Bank has approved US$498 million in new grants since the start of the 2011 transition, and currently has a portfolio of projects in Yemen totaling about US$1 billion focused on increasing access to basic social services, improving infrastructure, and enhancing governance and institutions. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, September 15, 2014 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved today an additional US$3 million grant to support the government of Yemen’s efforts to boost the employabi... Show More +lity of college graduates. The grant will supplement an ongoing project focused on the quality of university programs, and their effectiveness in equipping students with the skills needed by the labor market.The additional financing for the Higher Education Quality Improvement Project (HEQIP) will allow for the purchase of laboratory equipment and tools for twelve undergraduate programs at eight public universities. A major component of the HEQIP is support for the design of demand-driven curricula, in response to complaints from employers about the lack of practical experience and skills among college graduates. The majority of programs financed by the project are scientific or technical in nature, which requires significant investments in relevant equipment.“Higher education is the cornerstone for developing a country's human capital and contributing to economic growth,” said Wael Zakout, World Bank Yemen Country Manager. “But to be effective, university programs need to be aligned with the labor market, equipping university graduates with the knowledge and skills to compete in those markets.”There are currently nine public—and 19 private—universities in Yemen. The poor quality of education at both primary and secondary levels, however, has had an impact on higher education in general. Although enrollment has grown, with the number of private universities increasing, the standard of academic achievement among students remains low and university enrollment continues to be concentrated in social sciences.“This project will help bring change to higher education in Yemen,” said Lianqin Wang, World Bank Senior Education Specialist. “It will particularly help students enrolled in these quality improvement programs, gain experience to enter competitive labor markets.”The Bank’s active portfolio in Yemen consists of 35 projects with US$1.1 billion million in net commitments. Support focuses on interventions to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty. Key sectors include education, social protection, infrastructure, health, water, agriculture, and governance. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, September 15, 2014 - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved the following project:Yemen - Higher Education Quality Improvement Project - Additional FinancingIDA Grant... Show More +: US $3.0 million equivalentProject ID: P150129Project Description: The objective of the project is to create enabling conditions for the enhancement of quality of university programs and graduate employability. Show Less -
The case studies complement the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) guides, which are being launched this week by GFDRR and UNDP at the Second World Recons... Show More +truction Conference (WRC 2). The guides provide recommendations on how to assess damages after a disaster, and help countries better plan, design and implement post-disaster recovery and reconstruction programs. “Large-scale natural disasters, particularly in fragile and developing countries can set back years of development achievements. While we can’t eliminate future disasters completely, we can learn from each event so that when we rebuild, we reduce identified vulnerabilities,” said Francis Ghesquiere, head of the GFDRR Secretariat.But resilience is not only about the end result – the new buildings and infrastructure -- but also about how the process is carried out. By engaging the local government and affected communities, the reconstruction process can strengthen social capital and community capacities, as well as innovate in and improve public sector delivery and effectiveness.This was clear after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. The government of Pakistan rolled out a public subsidy program for housing reconstruction which provided households with both technical and financial support. Having a clear stake in the rehabilitation or rebuilding of their homes, the affected households ensured that the new construction was earthquake-safe. Over 400,000 homes were rebuilt – 90 percent of which were in compliance with the new seismic codes, better preparing the region for future earthquakes.To build resilience, recovery, and reconstruction programs should also take into account the specific vulnerabilities of the poorest segments of society – the households and individuals who don’t have access to the safety net of savings or property and are most at risk of falling deeper into poverty.In Bangladesh, for example, Tropical Cyclone Sidr damaged over 1 million homes in 2007, triggering the largest housing reconstruction program in the country’s history. However, during the recovery and reconstruction phase, the government encountered a major challenge: over half of all households didn’t have legal rights to their land.For poor households, targeted solutions to address their specific vulnerabilities can tip the balance toward a more resilient and prosperous future. By compiling the best knowledge and expertise from around the world, we can help disaster-prone countries learn from others that have faced similar challenges in the past.In addition to good practices, the case studies also provide insights into what countries could have done better.“Disasters happen because development went wrong. When a disaster strikes, we have an opportunity to set development on a different path that ultimately leads to better sustainable development outcomes and poverty reduction,” said Jo Scheuer, coordinator for the Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Team in the United Nations Development Programme. “We have come an extremely long way. Every recovery setting is different and we have to continue learning, adjusting and collaborating with the international partnerships we have established.”The nine case studies will be presented at the Second World Reconstruction Conference to foster learning and knowledge exchange among regions, countries and sectors of development. They are available for download at www.gfdrr.org. Show Less -
Water loss, and its operational and financial consequences, is a major concern for urban water utilities in the Mediterranean region. Losses, both physical and commercial, are due to leakages and the ... Show More +failure to bill customers for the full amount of water they use. A combination of these two factors puts the financial viability of water utilities at risk.In countries already coping with water scarcity, the burden of water loss often leads to rationing and intermittent supply. As climate change exacerbates the problem—threatening the supply of renewable water and increasing the cost of new water resources—reducing losses from leaky pipes and under-billing, is becoming a priority for water utilities in the Mediterranean and throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.Malta, situated at the very center of the Mediterranean, provides a remarkable illustration of how major water resources challenges can be successfully overcome. The island has one of the lowest rates of renewable water supplies in the MENA region, at 100 m3 per capita per year. It also stands in the top ten countries with the highest population density, alongside Gaza, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Singapore.Several decades ago, Malta became one of the first countries in the region to invest in desalination plants but, in the 1990s, as new plants were being built to meet increasing demand, it became clear that demand for water was fast outstripping its supply.The Water Services Corporation (WSC), Malta’s national water utility, turned its attention to water loss instead, initiating an aggressive program that achieved significant results. In addition to state-of-the-art concepts and technology for monitoring and reducing leakages, the WSC also put in place a program to optimize energy consumption at its desalination plants, reducing average energy consumption from 6-7 to 4.5 kWh/m3. Show Less -