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Cablegate: Royg Efforts to Protect Environment Hampered By

VZCZCXRO1449
PP RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR
DE RUEHYN #2084/01 3221321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181321Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3230
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0267
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANAA 002084

SIPDIS

NEA/ARP FOR ANDREW MACDONALD
USAID FOR CHRIS KISCO
EMBASSY AMMAN FOR MANU BHALLA
OES FOR AARON SALZBURG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPL SENV PREL EAID PGOV YM
SUBJECT: ROYG EFFORTS TO PROTECT ENVIRONMENT HAMPERED BY
LACK OF RESOURCES AND ENFORCEMENT

1. (U) Summary. Responsibility for environmental
preservation and protection in Yemen is divided between the
Ministry of Water and Environment and the Environmental
Protection Authority (EPA). Due to budget shortages across
the ROYG, environmentally affiliated agencies are suffering
from a lack of resources. Yemen's environmental issues are
slowly but surely being recognized by the international donor
community. Due to the enormity of environmental challenges
facing Yemen, international donor community interest,
including USG support, in assisting Yemen face climate change
and promote clean fuel is crucial. End Summary.

ROYG INSTITUTIONS STRIVE TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (U) Responsibility for environmental preservation and
protection in Yemen is divided between the Ministry of Water
and Environment and the Environmental Protection Authority
(EPA) (formerly Council). While the Ministry focuses on
policy and regulations, the EPA primarily works on
implementing activities. According to Dr. Hussein al-Gunied,
Deputy Minister for Environmental Issues, topics that have
appeared prominently on the Ministry's agenda in the recent
past include climate change, the 2008 floods in Hadramout,
drought, and air pollution. Although the ROYG has a 1995
Environmental Law, it has not been updated to include
pressing environmental issues, and Gunied admitted that
"enforcement is an issue." A country still run on leaded
gas, Yemen also does not have a national policy for clean
fuel, but, according to Gunied, is interested in introducing
new legislation. Due to a general lack of awareness, it is
challenging to introduce, implement, or enforce any
legislation.

3. (U) Established in 2005, the ROYG's EPA works with line
ministries in implementation of environmental policy,
including both green issues (biodiversity) and brown issues
(climate change and environmental preservation). The EPA has
a mandate to undertake environmental impact analysis for
industrial plants and to serve as the focal point for
international conventions. (Note: EPA's predecessor, the
Environmental Protection Council, was more of a coordination
body. End Note.) The EPA has established six
environmentally protected areas throughout Yemen, including
Socotra, where it protects the ecosystem and unique species.
Chairman Mahmoud Shidiwah told EconOff on October 20 about a
showcase program in which animal waste from two cows
generates enough biogas for five households to be sufficient
in terms of electricity and cooking. The EPA is interested
in attracting investment from companies that employ clean
energy practices and have activities that reduce emissions.

LACK OF RESOURCES, CAPACITY PLAGUE ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCIES
--------------------------------------------- ------------

4. (U) Due to budget shortages across the ROYG,
environmentally affiliated agencies are suffering from a lack
of resources. Gunied said that the Ministry has suffered a
60 percent cut in its budget in 2009. The Ministry relies
heavily on cooperation with donors in order to fund and
implement many of its projects. Even with continued
involvement from the Water Sector Support Program (WSSP),
which includes the World Bank, Germans, and Dutch, the donor
community has the impression that the Ministry of Water lacks
the capacity to implement most programs. Ali Kassim
Manshalin, Senior Program Officer at KfW (German development
bank), told EconOff on October 21 that "political will is a
must now," in order to revive the water sector. Dr. Riyal
Mohammed of the Yemen Association for Environmental
Protection (YAEP), lamented the low priority of environmental
issues within the ROYG, saying on October 20 that the
"Ministry of Water and Environment does not do much besides
attend seminars." (Note: The Ministry's Gunied asked for
assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
particularly from the EPA-supported United Nations
Environment Program (UNEP) Partnership for Clean Fuels and
Vehicles. He also requested assistance from the USG in
drafting new bylaws for clean fuel, air pollution, and
emissions control. End Note.)

5. (U) Yemen's environmental issues outside of the water
sector are slowly but surely being recognized by the
international donor community. The World Bank is inviting
Yemen to participate in the Pilot Program for Climate Change
(PPCR) as one of the nine pilot countries globally. The
program will help the ROYG integrate climate risk and

SANAA 00002084 002 OF 002


resilience into core development planning. On November 15 to
16, the Ministry of Water and Environment held a workshop on
climate change and adaptation in conjunction with the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank to
discuss Yemen's issues and future cooperation. The ROYG's
EPA will act as the lead agency in implementing the World
Bank's adaptation to climate change projects.

COMMENT
-------

6. (U) Due to the enormity of environmental challenges
facing Yemen, particularly in the water sector, international
donor community interest in assisting Yemen face climate
change is crucial. Because of resource and capacity issues
in the environmental agencies, the ROYG could use additional
assistance, specifically in regulating clean fuel. The ROYG
has requested USG assistance in participation in the EPA's
UNEP Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles and in drafting
new bylaws for clean fuel, air pollutants, and emissions; the
requests appear serious and assistance would be welcome.
End Comment.
SECHE

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