Yemen has been facing severe development challenges in recent years, but rapidly depleting oil and water resources combined with large population increases and a lack of job-creating growth are making a difficult situation even more complicated. In order to provide opportunities for Yemenis to escape the current situation of widespread poverty and food insecurity, the Government of the Republic of Yemen, under the leadership of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, has developed a strategy to help all Yemeni people gain access to sufficient and nutritious foods in order to live active, productive, and healthy lives. The main objectives of the National Food Security Strategy, developed with the support of the International Food Policy Research Institute, are to (1) cut food insecurity by one-third by 2015, (2) reach moderate food security levels—meaning 90 percent of people have enough to eat year-round—by 2020, and (3) reduce child malnutrition by at least one percentage point per year. As a contribution to this process, the authors of this paper identify seven priority actions to help achieve these goals.
- Leverage the fuel-subsidy reform process to promote food security.
- Improve the business climate to foster pro-food-secure private investments in promising sectors.
- Use qat reduction policies to enhance agricultural development.
- Strengthen food security risk-management practices.
- Implement the water-sector strategy decisively.
- Target public investment to the food insecure more accurately and improve service provision, especially in rural areas.
- Launch high-level awareness campaigns for family planning, healthy nutrition, and women’s empowerment.
The government, civil society groups, and international partners need to quickly, decisively, and jointly implement these seven actions in order to fulfill the strategic goals. The implementation process is likely to be most effective if conducted in a transparent and inclusive manner with effective follow-up and appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.