Ali A. al-Fadeel to YT: “Protected areas project, effective role in Maintaining biodiversity and promoting the environmental tourism.” [Archives:2004/776/Health]

September 27 2004

Yemen is distinguished from other countries in the peninsula by its terrain and various climates that create a fantastic blend of beauty with the climatic and natural environments. This nature founds a variety of environmental regions making the fungus, animal, and plant lives diversify into a great number of rare beings that can't be seen but in Yemen.
The environmental diversities of Yemen are considered a natural wealth at the national, regional and international levels of significance. But, the human hand with the increasing activities does threaten diversity and subject this wealth to loss. That is the result of the wrong casual use of all these sources by the increasing number of population in all directions.
Therefore the government started to take care of this environmental diversity of some areas and regions and to protect them from any danger may threaten them.
The government has announced two natural protected areas: Otomah and Socotra. Not only that but a national project that is concerned with forming an administration to keep these areas was approved.
The project is called Land and Coast Protected Areas Project and it belongs to the Environment Protection Authority. The project is working on the preparation for officially announcing four protected areas by the end of this year. The Yemen Times represented by Ismail al-Ghabri has met with the engineer Ali Abdulkareem al-Fadeel, general manager of the Protected Areas Project and asked him some questions regarding the aims of the project and the works having been implemented during the last period and about the future plans for the Protected Areas Management.

National project
Q: At the outset, could you please give the reader a brief picture about the project of the land and coast protected areas administration?
In fact, it is a national project that belongs to the Environment Protection Authority.
It was established by the government in collaboration with the International Environment Association that finances the project and with the International World Bank in supervising the activities conducted by the project. The project has started executing its tasks since the beginning of 2001.
Four years were specified for the project to execute its tasks within and that will be extended to the middle of upcoming year.

Preparations for 4 protected areas
Q: What about the assigned tasks of the project and the aims it's established to achieve?
The project is working on to announce 4 natural protected areas: the two land ones, Bura'a in Hoheida and Hawf in Al-Mahrah governorate near Yemen-Oman borders. The other two protected areas are coast ones: the first one is considered a marine area extended between Belhaf and Beer Ali in Shabwa and Broom in Hadramout and it's 75 km. long. The second coast protected area is in Sharmat Gadhmoon and the surroundings in Hadramout and it is 50 km. long.
Regarding the aims of the project, Land and Coast Protected Areas Project aims in reality to keep the biological diversity in the protected areas and to plan for managing these areas permanently by involving the communities.
The project signed contracts with some international and local companies for the sake of achieving the goals. It is supposed to announce the four protectorates officially by the end of this year.
Final stage
Q: Could you tell us about what have been fulfilled within the past period?
There are some consultative tasks have been completed while some other are currently in progress. The tasks in most of them are being finalized, such as the survey of the biodiversity, preparing the plans and the strategies of the environmental tourism, drafts for legal legislations that are required for reinforcing the protection of these areas, and preparing a great part of the management plans for these areas.
Because of working on preparing the local society to be involved in managing the protectorates and planning related drafts, many workshops were held for discussing such matters and reached to an absolute approval by all the participants.
In addition, different procedures were carried out for reinforcing the protection process of the diversity in these areas. So, many civil guards were employed in the threatened places such as Bura'a forest and in Sharmat Gadhmoon from those who have the marine organism.

Long-term economic income
Q: What about the anticipated economic profitability of these projects?
It is difficult to talk about the environment protection and keeping the environmental diversity don't show how profitable they are in a day and night, but the outcome appeared in public in a long time. When we protect the biological diversity, we keep a natural wealth that we can gain benefit from in the future. Accordingly, the significance the Land and Coast Protected Areas Project lies in the necessity of keeping these areas and protecting them from extinction.

Project's success
Q:Yemen has announced 2 protected areas, Otomah and Socotra. Have the project of protecting them made the desirable success that encourages announcing the other areas?
Concerning Socotra protected area, it has finished most of the tasks and made great success in protecting the biological diversity and in preparing plans for administrating it permanently. That's considered an achievement when this bio-diversity can be kept.
On the other hand, Otomah protected area was announced as a natural protected area without having done any previous preparations or plans for administrating the geographical borders of the area and the financial resources needed by the administration.

Q: Do you have any comment to be said at last?
I thank the Yemen Times for offering me this opportunity and for its following up and highlighting the tasks executed by the Land and Coast Protected Areas Project in Yemen.