The ongoing conflict in Yemen is significantly affecting Yemen’s economy and society, particularly youth and women, causing internal displacement of the population, severe economic decline, as well as extensive damage to infrastructure and assets across the country. To address these issues, the EU has just signed a new €10 million initiative, implemented by UNESCO: Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen.
The initiativeCash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemenaims at increasing income generating opportunities for young Yemenis in urban centres while preserving and restoring national cultural heritage. This effort – concentrated on UNESCO World Heritage cities and other historic urban heritage in the country – will contribute over the next three years to social cohesion and peace, with a clear impact and emphasis on the creation of employment opportunities.
The main objective is to promote livelihoods opportunities for youth in Yemen through urban regeneration activities which will include the restoration of particular buildings in historic urban centres that have been damaged during the ongoing conflict. The project will also contribute to social cohesion and peace-building through targeted cultural programming and support for civil society.
In particular, the project promotes progress towards building the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable conditions and reducing their exposure and vulnerability to shocks and disasters; achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value; devising and implementing policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products by 2030; strengthens efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage; and supporting least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials.
"Creating the conditions for sustainable employment and preservation of Yemeni culture is a very important element of EU efforts in Yemen. We are confident that this initiative will contribute to reducing the unemployment rate among youth, preserving and restoring cultural assets, develop skills, and provide support to cultural industries" said the EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Antonia Calvo Puerta.
Moreover, Anna Paolini, representative and Director of the UNESCO office for the GCC and Yemen added “We are extremely pleased with this strategic partnership with the EU for this innovative approach to the safeguarding cultural heritage at risk through empowering youth in Yemen. This project will not only provide livelihoods to youth and their families in this particular moment but it will also retain and strengthen competencies in conservation and restoration of the built heritage, which will be necessary in the recovery phase of the country.”
About UNESCO:UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.About the EU The European Union is a unique political and economic union between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent. In the world, the EU plays an important role in diplomacy and works to foster stability, security and prosperity, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law at international level. Collectively, it is the world's leading donor of humanitarian and development aid, as well as the largest trade block. In Yemen, the EU supports stabilization, resilience and nutrition and health sectors, always focusing on citizens' needs. In the economic sector, the EU supports private sector development by promoting access to finance and training on technical, vocational, and managerial skills ( including business resilience in crisis situations) for Micro-, Small-, Medium- Enterprises (MSMEs), as well as youth and women who wish to engage in entrepreneurial activities.