001-i. Advice on ToR and review: EIA for Shabwah WASH projects - Yemen

The NCEA advised on Terms of Reference (ToR) for an EIA for water supply, sanitation and wastewater disposal projects in Shabwah province. Its advice was not fully adopted. As appeared in the NCEA's review of the resulting EIA report, this led to important shortcomings in the EIA that adversely affected the selection and development of project proposals.

Advisory reports and other documents

14 Oct 1993: Terms of reference
Appendices Advice
19 Mar 1996: Advisory review
Appendices Advice

Significant details

The government of Yemen was planning to develop and upgrade the water supply, sanitation and wastewater disposal facilities for population centres in Shabwah province. The areas involved were Ataq, Nisab, Beihan, and the rural area of Wadi Jirdan. The Dutch government intended to assist in implementation of this initiative. It decided to carry out an EIA to support the feasibility study for the project.

The Dutch government asked the NCEA to advise on Terms of Reference (ToR) for this EIA. The NCEA established a working group of Yemeni and Dutch experts which visited the study area and discussed the project with government agencies. In its advice, the NCEA elaborated on the following aspects which should be included in the EIA report:

  • Problem statement and four specific objectives for the EIA;
  • Current situation and study areas, including a description of water sources, used water quantities and qualities, water supply and distribution systems, sanitation and wastewater disposal facilities, etc.;
  • The interventions and their environmental impacts, including physical, social and institutional sustainability aspects and determination of a 'preferred intervention' per project area;
  • Mitigating measures;
  • Comparison of environmental impacts of proposed interventions with the current situation;
  • Remaining knowledge gaps and post-project evaluation;
  • Summary of the EIA report.

The NCEA's advice was taken into consideration in formulation of the final ToR. Since the NCEA considered the final ToR to lack clarity, it expressed her concerns on this to the authorities and explained that this could negatively influence the EIA. These ToR were nevertheless used for undertaking the EIA.

When the EIA report was finalized, the Dutch government asked the NCEA to perform an advisory review of the EIA report. The NCEA again established a working group in which all relevant disciplines were represented. Due to the lack of clarity of the final ToR, the NCEA used its advisory ToR as a review framework. In its advisory review, the NCEA concluded that an impressive amount of information was gathered in the report. The main shortcoming of the report however was that this information was not arranged in such a form that it could easily be applied to inform decision-making. Specifically:

  • The sustainability concept was not used as a starting point for preparation of the EIA report and for the development of alternatives in particular. Therefore, important aspects were lacking in the description of these alternatives;
  • A sectoral approach was followed instead of an integrated area-specific approach, which made specification of existing problems and objectives for each of the four areas impossible;
  • The development of alternatives is not done correctly: the selection of alternatives is not well motivated and the alternatives are not combined into feasible interventions.

These omissions in the EIA report resulted in the selection of two project proposals that do not offer sustainable solutions for the existing problems. In the NCEA's advisory review, recommendations for new projects were presented.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Abdulkadir Mohammed Hassan Al-Ariqi
Hendrik Theodorus Jarl Chabot
Ilham Ali Abdulla Basahi
Lidwina Maria Scheepers

Chair: Dick de Zeeuw
Technical secretary: Arend Kolhoff

Proponent and Component Authority

Government of the Republic of Yemen

Component Authority
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Further details

Country: Yemen

Last modified: 09 Apr 2019