Since the internationally supported—and celebrated—transition process in Yemen broke down at the end of 2014, Yemen has been in a state of open war. As a result, the war has not only displaced millions of people and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis but has also undermined already weak state institutions and fragmented local governance and service provision.

Questions of local governance and local service provision therefore loom large: if the war continues, dialogue, services, and a functioning policy process at the local level can help insulate Yemen’s citizens from the worst of its effects and safeguard increasingly fragile institutions. If a breakthrough in the peace process is achieved, functioning and inclusive local governance will be essential to make peace stick, by delivering a tangible peace dividend to citizens and by safeguarding local progress while a new government hashes out difficult compromises at the centre.

Local governance structures provide an entry point for both the stabilisation of the country, to help secure the necessary conditions for a peace process, and to help make a peace agreement function in practice—and in any scenario the local authorities will play a key role in providing basic services to the local population.

Meanwhile, access to basic services, such as healthcare, education, and clean water, is severely constrained in Yemen. The conflict has resulted in extensive damage to infrastructure, including healthcare facilities, schools, and water and sanitation systems. The limited availability and quality of these essential services contribute to increased vulnerability and reduced resilience among the Yemeni population.

The conflict has disrupted economic activities and hindered trade, leading to a decline in government revenues and foreign exchange reserves. The Yemeni Rial (YER) has depreciated significantly, exacerbating inflationary pressures and making imported goods less affordable for the population, further eroding the resilience of households and communities as they struggle to meet their basic needs and sustain their livelihoods. The imposed oil blockade since November 2022 has stopped the revenues from oil and gas exports, which constituted the main source of government revenues before the war. Disparities in resource endowment are also generating friction among governorates.

Yemen continues to face a multifaceted crisis characterized by armed conflict, economic decline, and widespread poverty. The country's economic indicators reflect significant unemployment, food insecurity, and limited access to basic services.

Local authorities in Yemen have proven remarkably resilient in the face of the prolonged effects of the conflict, but their situation is precarious. Local authorities persist in all areas, but not everywhere in full integrity. Significant differences in human and financial resources between districts and governorates, already prevalent before 2015, have been exacerbated by the conflict.

Self-reliant communities, effective local authorities, and a lively private sector are fundamental to enhance local resilience, the delivery of basic services, and the creation of employment opportunities.

This intervention aims to strengthen local institutions and make them more inclusive and able to better deliver basic services—including education, health, water, and energy supply—with the direct involvement of partnership organizations and the private sector. The intervention is implemented in Direct Implementation Modality (DIM) by UNDP as the Lead Implementing Partner (IP).