U.S. Support for Yemen
February 28, 2014
The United States has a strong and growing partnership with Yemen. We are supporting the Yemeni government and people with a comprehensive strategy to promote the political, economic, and security sector reforms underpinning the country’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered political transition initiative. Our aid is also focused on partnering with the Yemeni government to meet the critical needs of its citizens. The people of Yemen are creating a new political reality, including through the successful conclusion of the historic National Dialogue, with a government that is increasingly responsive, accountable, and capable of addressing urgent needs and building a solid foundation for the country’s long-term development, growth, security, and stability. Since the beginning of Yemen’s transition in November 2011, U.S. assistance to Yemen has totaled well over $630 million. The United States remains committed to continuing to support the Yemeni people throughout the transition process and beyond.
Supporting the Political Transition
The people of Yemen have taken significant steps toward meaningful reform through the country’s ongoing political transition process. As envisioned in the GCC Initiative, Yemen completed a National Dialogue Conference, an inclusive discussion of fundamental questions about the structure of the state and reform of the political system. The outcomes from this conference will guide decisions on amending the constitution, the next step toward concluding the transition with national elections. In coordination with the international community, the United States is providing over $40 million to support Yemen’s key transition benchmarks: the recently completed National Dialogue, constitutional reform, and elections. A key focus of this aid is supporting the efforts of Yemeni women and youth to ensure their voices and perspectives contribute to Yemen’s transition. Building on the success of the National Dialogue, the United States remains firmly committed to supporting Yemen as it continue to achieve meaningful reform, including through:
- Constitutional Reform and Referendum: The United States will provide technical assistance to the drafting committee on comparative constitutional law, and facilitate the Yemeni government’s and constitutional drafting committee’s engagement with the Yemeni public and civil society, civic awareness and advocacy campaigns, monitoring, and consultation with Yemeni and international legal experts.
- Elections: To help Yemen achieve its goal of a credible, fair electoral process, we are partnering with Yemen’s Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum, civil society, and political parties to implement a new biometric voter registry, support election-day operations, conduct civic education and get-out-the vote activities, and undertake elections monitoring.
- Southern Issues: To address the grievances of southern Yemenis, the United States supports southern participation in transitional processes, from the National Dialogue through national elections; civic engagement, especially among youth; public outreach efforts through two southern commissions; and efforts to assist the Yemeni government in improving service delivery. The United States currently supports $22 million in activities focused on improving southern service delivery.
Standing With the People of Yemen
While Yemen tackles issues of fundamental political reform, it continues to cope with serious economic and social challenges affecting the everyday lives of all Yemenis. Greater investment in the economic and social wellbeing of the Yemeni people, as well as immediate relief for their urgent humanitarian needs, will help realize the transition’s full potential. The United States provided nearly $251 million in humanitarian assistance in FY 2012 and FY 2013 to help address the needs of the most vulnerable populations in Yemen, in coordination with the United Nations Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan and other humanitarian actors. This includes food and nutrition assistance, access to clean water, and health care, including immunizations and disease prevention, among other types of assistance. The United States remains committed to helping the most vulnerable in Yemen.
We are also helping to advance Yemeni government efforts in the areas of economic growth and development. U.S. programs help create economic opportunities for the Yemeni people, assist the Yemeni government in its efforts to improve the delivery of social services, and promote the institutional and policy reforms that will set Yemen on a more sustainable path. We have allocated more than $100 million in FY 2012 and FY 2013 for these endeavors, and remain committed to supporting economic growth and development going forward. The United States supports efforts to create private sector economic opportunities to facilitate inclusive growth, while helping the government to improve human services and transparent administration of public funds. Examples include:
- Creating Jobs: We are contributing to job creation and capacity-building of local communities through infrastructure rehabilitation, micro-finance and small enterprise support, and agriculture development, with a special focus on conflict-affected communities in the south. Efforts will address both the challenges of revitalizing businesses, as well as competitiveness issues inhibiting business growth and development. The focus will be on workers, entrepreneurs, and new and existing productive entities.
- Improving Education and Health: USAID has piloted an innovative reading program for children in 381 schools in Yemen, which has dramatically boosted reading ability. We are also working with Yemen’s Health Ministry to improve primary health care, child and maternal health services, and disease surveillance.
- Reforming Governance and Policy: We are partnering with the international community to help Yemen implement its reform commitments as agreed to in the Mutual Accountability Framework. We are also supporting an Executive Bureau that will accelerate the disbursement of donor pledges while increasing transparency and accountability.
Supporting Yemeni Security
Yemen’s security and stability will also provide a foundation for meaningful reform. The United States allocated approximately $247 million in FY 2012 and FY 2013 to build the counterterrorism capacity of Yemeni security forces, as well as to strengthen civilian law enforcement and judicial institutions. In coordination with the international community, we are also actively supporting Yemen’s security sector reorganization. The United States plans to continue engagement in these areas in FY 2014.
- Counterterrorism Capacity Building: To enhance Yemen’s ability to conduct counterterrorism operations, we are providing training and equipment to help improve the Yemeni military’s operational range, tactical proficiency, and response time; build an integrated aerial surveillance and ground mobility capability to monitor and interdict threats along Yemen’s coastline; and improve communications between aerial assets and ground forces. Additional training and equipment helps our Yemeni law enforcement partners improve investigations, border security, and critical infrastructure protection.
- Countering Violent Extremism: These programs train Yemeni government and civil society partners in how to design and implement public awareness-raising activities in communities at risk of radicalization and recruitment.
- Criminal Justice Reform: We continue to provide capacity development programs to support Yemen’s criminal justice sector, both to address key gaps in the provision of criminal justice and to promote structural reform within the Yemeni government. We will continue to help the Yemeni government increase its ability to respond to and adjudicate civil disturbances and criminal incidents in an effective and transparent manner, consistent with international standards.
Building stronger bonds between the people of Yemen and the United States is vital to our long-term partnership. Educational exchanges and professional development play a key role in this. We have brought Yemeni leaders from a variety of fields to the United States to study topics such as women and youth leadership, interfaith dialogue, university administration, disability rights, water resource management, and small business development. We hosted a Yemeni trade delegation that explored business opportunities in alternative energy and water, and we facilitated Yemen’s participation in a coffee trade show to help rehabilitate Yemen’s historic coffee industry. We supported the launch of the Civil Strengthening Network, a platform for Yemen’s civil society sector to work collectively with government entities to increase public participation during the transition. When Yemen was hit with torrential rains, we provided funds to help repair flood damage. To expand our educational and cultural outreach in the south, we inaugurated an American Corner in Aden, and plan to open additional American Corners in other Yemeni cities.