World Environment Day [Archives:1998/23/Reportage]

June 8 1998

Celebrating World Environment Day on June 5, Ismail Al-Ghabiry of Yemen Times met two senior persons at the Environment Protection Council.
Eng. Mohsen Ali Al-Hamdani, Chairman of the Environment Protection Council:
“The Environment Protection Council (EPC) has the duty of coordinating among the various bodies concerned. It also presents by-laws and treaties. All the line ministries who are the executive side should cooperate because without their cooperation nothing can be done. We cannot achieve anything.
“All the line ministries are represented in the EPC. It is just a matter of how they should be more active. We want them to participate more in our activities. The problem is between the ministries of Fisheries and Transport. Who is in charge and who is responsible for marine environment?
” They think that they are all responsible, although the Maritime Corporation which comes under the Ministry of Transport is supposed to be responsible for the marine environment.”
Mr. Peter Rupert (MSc), Environment Protection Council Project Adviser:
“This is the first phase of the project, which started in 1997 and will last till the year 2001. With regard to the World Environment Day, a particular topic is chosen every year. However our program contains far more than just a particular topic.
“Our main idea for this program is to try and develop a realistic and feasible plan for the next 5-year plan, after this millennium. The oceans and the sea protections will form part of that. We have embarked upon the studies that have been published before on the priorities in the environment.
“What we have tried to do is not to have the EPC and the line ministries trying on their own to implement these programs but to try to perceive the environmental problems Yemen is confronting in a more comprehensive way. This means that the EPC, being a coordinator in the environmental protection, is to set up with the line ministries working groups for those aspects in environmental protection.
“There are two elements which are the preservation of the sea regarding pollution by shipping and the protection of the coastal zones. Both aspects in our program will have the attention, though we will focus in our program on trying to get the relevant authorities themselves involved and look for feasible measures that can be sustained for many years to come.
“I gather there is room for improvements with regards to the environment. It is necessary to understand that the environment cuts across many disciplines and many organizations try to put it together in a way that does not confront the problems from a certain ministry or a certain discipline.
“What we would like to do through these inter-ministerial work groups is to present concrete, feasible and practical solutions to environmental problems. Efforts must be focused on implementing the measures to be taken, not just this year but for many years to come. This means managing the environment not only requires actions in terms of research as well as the formulations of policy measures, but also the budgets and training of the people the ministries.”