Project Background

Yemen ranks 133rd of 169 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index 2010. The coastline is 2,200 km long and inhabited by approx. 4 mio in 9 coastal governorates.  Coastal Social-ecological Systems (SES) provide a wide range of Ecosystem Services (ESS) for human well-being (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment 2005, MA), and are considered a key hub for development.
Climate is expected to change substantially, with temperatures rising by ~2.5°C until 2080. Yemen ranks among the most vulnerable countries concerning impacts on their fisheries economy (Allison et al 2009).

Temperature trend Yemen

Fig. 1:  Temperature trend Yemen (UNDP 2010)

Coastal Zone Management is not well mainstreamed in Yemen. Pressures are severe and aggravated by the looming effects of climate change, calling for adaptive management.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is piloted as a tool to influence the process of policy formation and institutional adjustment towards climate-adapted CZM.

Fig. 2:  Levels of Environmental Assessment

Fig. 2:  Levels of Environmental Assessment

 

METHODS

An Institution-centered SEA was conducted. The study approach was modified from World Bank methods (World Bank 2005, 2010).

Fig. 4:  I-SEA is a non-linear, iterative process for main- and up-streaming environmental and social issues into Policies, Plans & Programmes (World Bank 2010)

Fig. 4:  I-SEA is a non-linear, iterative process for main- and up-streaming environmental and social issues into Policies, Plans & Programmes (World Bank 2010)

Data collecting and structuring was organized as follows:

- Reconnaissance surveys;
- Rapid Environmental Project Screening (REPS);
- Workshops and SWOT-analysis;
- Baseline assessment (existing data);
- Screening of Change Drivers and explorative Vulnerability Assessment;
- Stakeholder analysis and political economy;
- Training needs assessment;
- Institutional assessment and gap analysis;

It focused on four case study areas (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3:  I-SEA case study areas (W-E: Hodeidah, Aden, Mukallah, Socotra)

Fig. 3:  I-SEA case study areas (W-E: Hodeidah, Aden, Mukallah, Socotra)

An Analytical framework was specifically developed, involving 4 key steps (Fig. 5):

1. Coastal situation analysis
2. Strategic Management Priorities
3. Benchmarking governance
4. Scope for action

Fig. 5:  Analytical framework developed for the pilot I-SEA, allowing iterative improvement of results and participatory feed-back loops according to the continuing I-SEA process cycle (Fig. 4)

Fig. 5:  Analytical framework developed for the pilot I-SEA, allowing iterative improvement of results and participatory feed-back loops according to the continuing I-SEA process cycle (Fig. 4)

 

SELECTED RESULTS:

Coastal situation analysis: Climate Change is expected to cause serious environmental consequences for Yemen’s coastal systems, as follows:
- Increased freshwater water scarcity and quality, droughts and desertification.
- Increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events, storms and flush floods.
- Increased erosion and soil degradation (e.g. of beach fronts by sea level rise and coastal erosion; of coastal land by salt water intrusion).
- Decline in arable land and productivity in agro-systems and pasture.
- Increased mobilization of sediments, dust and pollutants (water-borne and aeolian) and coastal re-deposition and concentration.
- Changed/reduced ocean primary productivity (changed nutrient cycles and plankton communities, ocean acidification).
- Deterioration of habitats and ecosystems and related biodiversity and ecosystem services (e.g. of coral reefs by bleaching, ocean acidification and sediment smothering; of islands, mangroves and wetlands by sea level rise and erosion; of refugia for rare and endangered species, e.g. the dragon blood trees on Socotra; of general resilience by straining cumulative pressures).
- Decline in fisheries resources/productivity (triggered by e.g. loss of homing, spawning and nursery habitat; shifts of phytoplankton and associated zooplankton communities; changed physiology and growth, reproductive biology and recruitment; fewer fishing days at sea due to increased ocean dynamics).
- Disease outbreaks (either water borne or vector borne).

Ecosystem Services (ESS): 19 coastal ecosystem types in 7 categories exist, related to 25 rated ESS. Negative trends for a majority of coastal ESS are revealed by a screening of general change. Climate change is the most powerful driver of change, followed by Harvest and resource consumption and Land use and habitat change. Provisioning services appear most susceptible, especially “Food” and “Freshwater”. Wetlands, mangroves, coral “reefs” and island systems are most concerned ecosystem types. 17 ESS are highly vulnerable to CC specifically.

Fig. 6:  25 Coastal ESS ranked according to a Vulnerability Assessment

Fig. 6:  25 Coastal ESS ranked according to a Vulnerability Assessment

Governance and scope for action: A coherent coastal and island development policy is currently missing. Coastal management must inevitably function within heterogeneous regulatory and institutional frameworks. This is reflected by a clear lack of coordination between ministries and authorities at all levels, and insufficient results of decision-making processes. Governance action is largely proponent driven and reactive, vulnerable to vested interests of small power groups and informal ruling, and constrained by severe capacity shortages at the technical level.

An Integrated Coastal Management policy is required as the overarching national framework. A primary tier of six Strategic Management Priorities (SMPs) was synthesized from the management priorities identified by the study team and the environmental priorities selected by stakeholders, and matched and harmonized with national development goals. The I-SEA highlights key Policies for Action pertinent to the SMPs,

A National Integrated Coastal Management Strategy is proposed and a detailed Policy Action Plan provided.