In Yemen, saving lives while keeping hope alive critical

February 26, 2019

Feb 26, New York  -  In  urging countries to support the humanitarian appeal for Yemen, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stressed that relief and development now must go hand in hand to avoid a bigger crisis in the long run.

“Past conflicts have shown that ‘relief now and development later’ is not a model that can safeguard the peace and promote prosperity once the conflict has ended,” said Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP.  “For Yemenis to prosper in the long run, and to have hope for their future, we must direct aid in a way that saves lives while also maintaining access to jobs, education, healthcare, and functioning markets."

After four years of continuous conflict, Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis today.  80% of the population requires some form of humanitarian assistance or protection and ten million people are a step away from famine and starvation. In addition to this humanitarian crisis, the economy is close to collapse, and people cannot go to school, access healthcare, or earn an income.

With $300 million USD funding from the International Development Association of the World Bank and in partnership with local institutions, UNDP works to buttress national institutions to bolster the economy and livelihoods through large cash-for-work projects, support to small business, and labor-intensive infrastructure repair schemes in over 300 districts across the country’s 22 governorates.

“This effort constitutes a sea change in how aid organizations intervene in conflicts to help those in need,” Steiner continued.  “Not only is it a large programme, it is also innovative in that it provides development funds and builds resilience in communities by keeping public services open, supporting small businesses that help local communities cope with a run-down economy, and directly paying farmers and fishermen to keep producing, even in the absence of functioning markets.”

Thanks largely to this financing, UNDP has been able to team up with local institutions to help millions of Yemenis earn money through “cash-for-work” programmes

“With impartiality written into our mandate, this helps us to operate across the existing political cleavages and frontlines to prevent the country’s fraying social fabric from dissolving. By working with local institutions, we are extending a lifeline to vital services, empowering Yemenis to take ownership thereby giving dignity back to people.”

UNDP Fast Facts Yemen

Contact Information:

Christina LoNigro,, +1 212 906 530