Keeping doors open in Yemen

Consultative committee meeting with the governor of Hadramawt at Mukalla, Hadramawt, Yemen. Consultative committee meeting with the governor of Hadramawt at Mukalla, Hadramawt, Yemen. Image: Ahmed Basharahayel

We believe it is vital to work at all levels – the local, sub-national, national, and international – in order to help end wars and support transitions. This is why the Berghof Foundation has been working at multiple levels with Yemeni partners to support a political solution to the challenges facing the country since 2012.

As political space shrank and open conflict broke out in 2015, we supported inclusive Yemeni dialogues on the framework, substance, and mechanisms of a peace process. The need for dialogue and a negotiated solution has become all the more clear as the heavily internationalised civil war has plunged Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In 2019, we continued our work to support the peace process. In close cooperation with the Office of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, we held regular consultation meetings in Aden and Sanaa and held high-level meetings in Berlin with leaders of the Yemeni parties, former and active ministers, and other experts to complement official negotiations and feed new ideas into the peace process.

These talks covered a broad range of issues such as the general framework for the negotiations, financial and fiscal reforms that could defuse ongoing conflict over control of the Central Bank, and articulating shared demands of all Yemeni political parties for the future relations between the national and local authorities in Yemen.

We also supported consultative committees in two governorates, as issues of local governance will loom large during the peace process, and local conflicts – if left unchecked – may derail any future peace agreement. The consultative committees are providing the forum for more inclusive local deliberations and are mediating local conflict. They have enabled the delivery of basic services, including three health centres to resume work, a girls’ school to reopen, and garbage collection to resume in a governorate capital.

[The support of the Berghof Foundation and PDF Yemen] made a thorny and complicated problem look so straightforward and simple and helped the opposing parties, including the cleaners themselves, agree on a solution.Fahmy Abdul-Hadi Omar bin Shabraq, Executive Director of the Cleaning and Improvement Fund, Hadhramawt Governorate

Another strand of work sought to demonstrate how a community safety-driven approach to policing can contribute to solving local problems as well as the conflict parties’ concerns over security provision after a peace agreement. Following the development of new training materials with Yemeni police and justice officials from all sides of the conflict, we will support the application of the new approach in five municipalities in the coming years.

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