The government has got big challengesUNDP administrator visits Amran [Archives:2004/797/Local News]

December 9 2004

By Shaker Al-Molsi
Yemen Times Staff

After his arrival on Monday December 6, Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), conducted a field visit the next morning to the province of Amran, 50 kms northwest of Sana'a City. He was accompanied by Dr. Abdullah Al-Saidi, Yemen's Representative at the United Nations, Dr. Mutahar Al-Abbasi, Deputy Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, and Mrs. Flavia Parsieri, UN Resident Coordinator in Yemen.
There, Mr. Brown met with Amran governor Taha Hajir, and a number of officials at the governorate compound. Mr. Hajir briefed the guest on the conditions and recent developments in the province.
“It is a newly established governorate, and is witnessing much in terms of development,” said the governor.
“We focused on poverty reduction and illiteracy eradication. We have established training centers for women. We also encouraged boys to get enrolled in schools, and put much emphasis on girls education reaching an unprecedented rate.”
Yet, the governor reiterated that Amran is a new governorate that still needs many things.
On his part, Mr. Brown thanked the local government for its efforts and expressed his belief that the previous four years were full of activity, and that in the coming years more progress will hopefully take place. Yet, he spoke plainly about points that requisite treatment.
“Yemen is pressed by international donors to make reforms and fight corruption. It has got to look for new resources and has to better manage available ones. For this reason, it was selected a Millenium Project pilot country.”
The delegation then visited a school in Thibain district benefiting from the School-Feeding Program managed by the World Food Program (WFP), a UN organization. The program is intended to encourage more girls in the rural areas to join education.
After that, they visited Al-Amel Women Association in the city of Amran, which receives technical support from the UNDP. The directress of the association explained the types of works they do and the courses they offer to women.
In a statement to the Yemen Times, Mr. Mark Brown said the aim of his visit is to evaluate what has been done so far.
“We have allotted $60 million to Yemen over the past four years. Our priorities were decentralization, and poverty reduction by means of different initiatives. We support also microfinance for small businesses and women societies so that more jobs are created.
“We've done a very good work and decentralization is successful but it is a long way to go. Control has been shifted from Sana'a to provinces and efficient administration is required on the part of governors.”
Mr. Brown said the government has got many difficulties to deal with. “It has got big challenges to build new sectors in the economy quickly in order to cope with the consequences of overpopulation and poor resources.”
On the other hand, Dr. Mutahar Al-Abbasi said that the UNDP administrator's visit to Yemen is a great event.
“The visit of this high profile UN official will give impetus to the development efforts in Yemen.”

Warning over water:
Mr. Brown indicated the impending water crisis of Yemen. “It is a critical thing because the country has a low water average and much of it is wasted.
“The country needs a better water management. They should explore engineering alternatives finding if agriculture might be adapted so that it consumes less water. There is also the option of distilling seawater, but rationalizing water use is very necessary.”

UNV's awarded:
At the end of his tour, Mr. Mark Brown attended a reception ceremony held at Dar Al-Hajar (Rock Palace) in his honor in the accompaniment of Amran governor. He presented recognition certificates to the UN volunteers in Yemen, appreciating their efforts in the development process of the country.