Yemen: The added value of SEA to Integrated Water Resource Management in Wadi Hajer

5 March 2024

The Wadi Hajer catchment area, in the Hadhramaut Administration in the south of Yemen, is experiencing increasing challenges of water scarcity and flooding, putting enormous strain on the livelihoods of the local population. Agricultural practices are suffering and are in need of regulated water supply. The Dutch funded- and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-led Sustainable Watershed Management through Reinforced Governance, Resilience and Regenerative Agriculture programme aims to achieve overall water security through improved Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), to bring relief to the farmers through interventions in the watershed. 

At the request of FAO, the NCEA organised the first of a series of workshops for officials of the Environmental Protection Agency and of the National Water Resources Authority of the Ministry of Water and Environment. The aim of the workshop was to increase capacity and the overall understanding of environmental and social impact assessment that is required for project interventions.

The current approach for river basin management, which is focused on agricultural production and the uplift of livelihoods, was revisited during the workshop. To work towards a broader approach we considered alternative pathways, such as incorporating climate change, ecosystem services (including fisheries at the estuary), and livestock management in the upper stream of the catchment area.. Initially, the scope of the programme was based on an EIA-approach, but during the workshop this was adjusted towards a more SEA-integrated approach. This new approach has the potential to complement a socio-economic development plan, integrating IWRM principles, clearly demonstrating how this would benefit a common strategy for the river basin. We look forward to further cooperation with our partners in Yemen on the integration of SEA in the Water Resource Management plans for the Wadi Hajer basin.