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Yemen's Path to Sustainable Development: An Uphill Battle

Building a Sustainable Future Despite the Odds

Cover photo: Aisha participated in #cash4work activities building new extra schools’ classes for their communities. Source: Sustainable Development Foundation


  • The ongoing conflict in Yemen severely hinders progress towards achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) due to crippled infrastructure, economic decline, and worsened public health.

  • A strong partnership between governments and society is crucial for achieving SDGs. Governments can utilize conflict-sensitive budgeting for rebuilding and peacebuilding initiatives, while society can contribute through public pressure, innovation, and participation.

  • Technology can be a powerful tool in conflict zones. Mobile platforms can be used for remote education, telehealth consultations, and citizen engagement in decision-making processes, even amidst the challenges of war.


Yemen faces an uphill battle in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) due to the ongoing conflict. The war has crippled the economy, devastated infrastructure, and worsened public health. UN projections show Yemen could make significant progress on the SDGs if the conflict ends. However, continued fighting is likely to stall or even reverse any development gains.

Sustainable development strives to balance economic growth with environmental protection and social well-being. It ensures current needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. War-torn countries like Yemen face immense challenges in achieving these goals. Conflict destroys infrastructure, diverts resources from vital social programs, and disrupts food production. This can lead to poverty, hunger, and disease, making it nearly impossible to invest in long-term sustainability efforts.

Achieving the SDGs requires a strong partnership between governments and society. Governments set the national agenda, develop policies, and mobilize resources. Meanwhile, society provides crucial support through public pressure, innovation, and on-the-ground implementation. Civil society organizations can hold governments accountable. Businesses can develop sustainable practices. Individual citizens can adopt eco-conscious lifestyles. All contribute to a collective effort for a more just and sustainable future.

Even in times of conflict, innovative approaches can strengthen the role of governments and society in achieving SDGs. Conflict-sensitive budgeting can be employed. Here, governments allocate resources towards rebuilding infrastructure, promoting peacebuilding initiatives, and addressing the needs of displaced populations. This ensures that even during wartime, resources are directed not just towards immediate survival but also towards laying the groundwork for a sustainable future.

Furthermore, technology can be harnessed to foster citizen engagement. Mobile platforms can be used to disseminate information about SDG initiatives, gather community feedback, and even facilitate remote participation in decision-making processes. This allows even those in conflict zones to have a voice in shaping sustainable development efforts.

For example, in conflict zones, education and health systems are often severely disrupted. Conflict-sensitive budgeting can play a crucial role in rebuilding these vital sectors. By allocating funds for repairing damaged schools and clinics, training teachers and healthcare workers displaced by the conflict, and providing psychosocial support to students and patients, governments can ensure continuity of essential services. This not only promotes well-being in the present but also fosters long-term development. Educated citizens are better equipped to rebuild their lives and communities, while a healthy population is more resilient and productive.

Technology can also be a powerful tool for strengthening education and healthcare in conflict zones. Mobile platforms can be used to deliver remote learning programs, allowing children to continue their education even if schools are closed. Similarly, telehealth consultations can connect patients in remote areas with healthcare providers. Additionally, mobile platforms can be used to collect data on health needs and education gaps, enabling more efficient resource allocation and targeted interventions. This collaborative approach, using technology and conflict-sensitive budgeting, can significantly improve educational and health outcomes even in the midst of conflict.


@UNDP @UNYemen


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