Beirut – At the expert meeting in Beirut on 30 January 2019, Yemen participants joined the workshop on urban profiling methodologies for improved regional profiling efforts in the Middle East region. Wael Al Ashab (UN-Habitat Yemen office) discussed the ongoing profiling project taking place in 6 different cities in the North and South. The cities were chosen based on national consensus and based on collaborative estimation of relevant indicators. The main challenges that face Yemen cities is the high influx of IDPs, informal developments and access to services. These profiles will focus on determining the most impoverished communities and cities to establish urban development frameworks and monitoring mechanisms. The profile will provide a baseline for national strategic development plan targeting the most deprived cities.
In the consultation meetings, the case of Mar’eb (Yemen) was discussed.
Ma’reb city is the capital of Ma’reb governorate, and is currently under the legitimate state of Yemen, following Aden. The city is currently attracting a large number of IDPs given it is considered a safe city and wasn’t affected by the conflict like its neighboring cities. The city provides a safe environment for the residents and IDPs as it didn’t get involved in the ongoing conflict. The high influx of IDPs have added more pressure on the existing poor infrastructure. Economically, Ma’arb relies on tourism (3 mausoleums) , trade, agriculture and pastoralization. The city has an operating dam and as a city can be considered the food basket for Yemen.However, with the current conflict, the city is undergoing several stresses. In terms of housing, the housing stock is not sufficient to hold the increasing number of IDPs along with the increase (5x) in housing rentals and (15x) land value. With regards to the basic urban services, there is a pressing need to provide WASH services, hospitals and roads to the city. However, due to the centralization of the governance structure, the developed plans for the city are not implemented due to the need for technical and financial support.