Yemen has experienced a number of critical periods in its recent history, but this one is more challenging than most. As the current insecurity diverts the Government’s attention away from critical reforms, the role of the Friends of Yemen is more important than ever: to support Yemen on its path towards a better future.
On the political and security tracks, our message is clear: completion of the steps laid in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and Implementing Mechanism is the only way to achieve a long term political settlement that is decided by the people. We commend the progress made by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), and the work of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) to prepare a new Biometric Voter Registry. We now urge the CDC to complete the first draft of the constitution as soon as possible, the SCER to finalise the new voter registry ahead of the referendum next year, and for all political parties to pledge their full support. We also commend the initial progress made on defence, intelligence and justice sector reform, and now urge the Government to develop its own National Security Strategy by March 2015.
The ongoing political and security crisis remains a grave concern, and in particular the actions by Houthis and other armed groups that threaten to undermine the political transition. We urge all the parties to reject acts of violence to achieve political goals and refrain from any action which might exacerbate the crisis, and for the Government and the international community to not waiver in their efforts to combat Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. We also reaffirm the determination of the international community to act under the mandate of UNSCR 2140 against individual or entities seeking to derail the political transition.
On the economic track, things remain critical. We welcome the removal of fuel subsidies, which represent an important step towards long term macro-economic stability. We now urge the government to keep up the momentum on wider reforms set out in its own economic reform agenda and the Mutual Accountability Framework, and to ensure that savings accrued from fuel subsidy reform are invested into welfare programmes to protect the poor.
Since 2012, Friends of Yemen donors have helped fund programmes across a wide range of sectors that have truly changed people’s lives for the better. However to date, only 39% of total pledges have been disbursed. We therefore urge all donors to work quickly with the Government of Yemen and the Executive Bureau to re-programme their pledges and turn them into life-changing projects on the ground. We must also not lose sight of the continuing humanitarian crisis. With Yemen’s Humanitarian Response still only 50% funded, donors must also work quickly to bridge the gap.
And finally, a look at ourselves. Following the restructuring of the Friends of Yemen group last April, the government and the international community are now beginning to work better together on implementation. But we’re sure you’ll agree that there’s lots more work to be done. For the vision set out in the NDC outcomes to become a true reality, we now need to work with the government to pick up the pace of reforms. We hope that you will now join us in endorsing the recommendations in this report that will do just that.