Dr. Awad Ba-Matraf to YT: “The authority accomplished in the year 2000 a field survey on the 70 Red Sea Islands in addition tone on Socotra archipelago island” [Archives:2001/27/Health]

July 2 2001

Dr. Awad Abdulla Ba-Matraf, the Chairman of General Authority for Promotion & Development of Yemeni Islands, was born in 1946 in Gheil Bawazer-Hadramout. He has assumed many senior positions.
Our colleague, Ismael Al-Ghabiri met him and filed this interview on the project of Yemeni Islands development set up by the Authority.
Q: When was the Authority established and what were its the objectives?
A: The Authority was established in 1999 by the Republican Decree No. 285. The special concern of our President Ali Abdullah Salih and his sincere support, in addition to the political resolution of establishing our authority as an independent juridical entity, all of these will be our tools to achieve our goals.
The objectives of the General Authority for Promotion and Development of the Yemeni Islands are the following:
1) Promotion and development of the Yemeni Island, economically socially and culturally.
2) Encourage citizens to settle in the non-inhabited Islands and improve the living conditions of fishermen.
3) Strengthening the capabilities of the local authority.
4) Investment of all natural resources like fishery, tourism etc existing in the Islands.
5) Preservation of biodiversity in Yemeni Islands through creating a balance between overall Islands development and environment preservation.
6) Encourage local, Arab and foreign investment in Yemeni Islands especially in tourism, sport, diving and fishery etc.
7) Promotion of the infrastructure in electricity, water, roads, communication and agriculture.
8) Provide regular transport means among the Islands.
9) Construction of fishing berths in some Island to assist fishermen in fishing process.
10) Many Island are located in the international navigation line. Because of this advantage, there is a great chance for investment to supply fresh, water and fuel to the passing vessels.
11) Experiences of the other countries that have developed their small Islands will be taken into consideration.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the kind of projects implemented so far by the Authority?
A: The Authority started by making a field survey of the Red Sea Islands, counted as more than 70 Islands in the year 2000. All specialization in the fields of economy, fish, environment, sociology, health, tourism, education, marine, ports, etc are covered i the survey in order to have actual information and to define each Island’s speciality. The outcome of this team’s site visit shall be reflected in a master plan where projects and priorities will be defined and included in our development plan so as to look for potential financing by either local or foreign agencies.
Q: What are the plans of the Authority to develop the islands, especially those islands which enjoy special features and environments?
A: Our plan started with the one for the Socotra archipelago. The master plan for developing Socotra Island’s has already been prepared by the European communities. This master plan contains many projects where priorities have been identified by the international organizations and the state authorities. We shall abide by this and implement these priorities for Islands development. Preservation of biodiversity of the archipelago shall be our special concern for its rare environment distinguishes it from others.
Q: What are your plans for the next year?
A: Next year, a workshop is going to be held in order to focus on our tasks and to present all relevant information and data that we may get through the survey process so that we can select the priority projects and, and identify this individuals and officials who worked before in the Islands or prepared some proposals or studies.
Two branches of our Authority will be established, one for the Red sea and the other, for the Arabian sea along with the Islands offices where projects may be carried out. This, of course, depends on the funding we hope to get.
This is only an initial outline about the Authority’s activities.
Fact Related to the Islands
1- The global Environmental facility (GEF) Socotra project’s implemented by UNDP-UNOPS and the Government of Yemen (EPC) has prepared a Master plan of Socotra Document.
2- The Document outlines implementation of the plan in two phases:
Phase 1- situation analysis findings and recommendations, Phase 2- selection of projects form the Master plan document for the next ten years.
3- Objectives of the Master plan is:
a) To draw a land use plan.
b) To look for technical or financial Assistance to preserve the environment specification in Socotra.
c) Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources.
d) To focus on the community impact.
e) The projects selected by the Ministry of Planning are those which
— Suggest guide lines and regular conditions for infrastructure (Tourism + Fishery)
— Provide framework for other projects and to operate successfully (local community Development project + Environmental Management project.)
— Affecting a majority of the population.
The main goals of the survey which the authority has under taken recently is to focus on more than 110 Islands of the Red Sea only 10 of which are inhibited. The Authority is thinking of measures to encourage people to live in the other islands.
The main strategies of the survey are to look for the natural resources existing in the Islands.
– To develop the community and their capabilities.
– To develop Hadramout resources through implementing several developmental centers” such as Women’s Developmental center, Tourism-center”
– To upgrade the existing infrastructure.
– To develop the handicrafts of the inhabitant in the Islands.
– To ensures fisheries infrastructure development through product processing and marketing storage.
-To support the local Authority councils in the Islands.
-To create environmental awareness in the community.
-To provide data and other information for investment in the Islands.
-To protect the Islands by encouraging the people to live and stay in them.