Strengthening Yemen’s fishery and water sectors: UNDP and Germany's joint efforts for sustainable solutions

May 19, 2024

In Yemen, water and fish are not just resources; they are the lifeblood of communities and the backbone of the economy. Water, a scarce and precious commodity in this arid region, is central to survival. It fuels agriculture, quenches thirst, and sustains livestock. However, the overuse of groundwater, a consequence of population growth and lack of regulation, has led to a severe water crisis. Aquifers are being depleted at an alarming rate, threatening the livelihoods and survival of millions.

The irony lies in the fact that Yemen is almost surrounded by water. For many coastal Yemeni families, the sea is their breadwinner, providing food and income.  Fishing is a tradition that has been passed down through generations. However, the sector has been hit hard by years of conflict and neglect, leaving many families struggling.

New initiatives by UNDP and the Government of Germany are not just about revitalizing water and fishing sectors in Yemen; they are about restoring hope. By focusing on sustainable water resource management and fishery rehabilitation, we are addressing the root causes of vulnerability. Together, we’re helping communities to build resilience, to adapt to changing circumstances, and to secure a better future for new generations.

UNDP’s transformative partnership with the German Development Bank (KFW), supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is focused on creating solutions for the future, anchored in food security.

The essence of this partnership lies in the commitment to go beyond immediate relief. It's about offering Yemenis pathways to long-term livelihoods through agriculture and fishing, paving the way for sustainable development. This story unfolds on a large scale, with over 500,000 Yemeni men and women set to benefit from enhanced food security.

Paving the way toward an enhanced focus on the availability of water in Yemen is the three-year project Integrated Water Resources Management to Enhance Resilience of Agriculture (ERA) and Food Security. Its purpose is clear: to enhance the resilience of agriculture and food security. This initiative is investing in new green water harvesting infrastructure and revitalizing damaged community wells, canals, and flood protection areas across four districts in Taiz and Lahj governorates. What sets this project apart is the active involvement of the communities it aims to serve, empowering over 70,000 individuals directly. The Government of Germany has generously contributed EUR 15 million to drive this change.


Recognizing the need for sustained efforts to support the fishery sector, the Government of Germany has allocated an additional EUR 15 million for the second phase of the Fishery Harbour Rehabilitation and Value Chain Development in Aden project. Launched in early 2023 initially, this extension goes beyond repairing critical infrastructure at the Aden fishery harbor; it directly impacts the lives of 5,000 fisherfolk who rely on fishing to support their families and contribute to the local economy. The project aims to cultivate capacities for sustainable fisheries management, nurturing livelihoods within the fisheries value chain, with a special focus on empowering women.

By working closely with Yemeni communities to implement development solutions that respond to their needs, UNDP and the Government of Germany are making immediate impacts while paving the way for the generations of tomorrow.