UNHCR Yemen 2021 Country Operational Plan


This document aims to provide a broad summary of UNHCR’s main programme goals, objectives and priorities for Yemen in 2021

Main planning assumptions and expected constraints

Yemen continues to face an unrelenting conflict triggering what the UN describes as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Some 80 per cent of the population is estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, and food security and health indicators are amongst the lowest worldwide. With more than four million forcibly displaced people as of the end of 2020, Yemen has the fourth largest internally displaced population due to conflict worldwide. Some 135,000 registered refugees continue to be highly vulnerable, while the evolving situation in Ethiopia may see increased arrivals.

Active hostilities—14 new frontlines in 2020—and explosive hazards endanger civilians and cause widespread damage to homes and public infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.
Political instability, weak governance and rule of law, and a ravaged economy with growing currency depreciation remain distinctive features of the situation. Largely ignored by the authorities, the COVID-19 pandemic impacts people’s lives and humanitarian needs (loss of livelihoods, evictions, stigmatization of populations on the move). Its effects will continue to justify the preventative measures adopted by humanitarian actors, as well as dedicated resources. The peace process has yet to make any significant progress. The overall security situation will remain fluid and unstable, especially on the Marib and Al Houdaydah fronts. Other active conflict areas have also emerged in Taizz, Al Dahle and Abjan governorates.
Uncertainties about the nature of the coalition between the internationally recognised Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council may continue to affect the effective control of territory, the delivery of public services and interaction with humanitarian actors in southern Yemen. In the north, increasing scrutiny by De Facto Authorities (DFA) on humanitarian interventions, in relation to the financial support to public service providers, and allegations of aid diversion by the donor community will continue shaping the humanitarian response and interactions with the Ansar Allah leadership (i.e. the De Facto Authorities in Sana‘a) .
Within its the budgetary parameters for 2021, UNHCR is reviewing its staffing levels that currently do not match its budget and footprint. In 2021, UNHCR will reduce its presence in some areas in the south (Mukalla and Turbah) given the relatively low number of displaced persons (especially IDPs) in both areas, while setting a robust presence in Marib that hosts a quarter of all IDPs. UNHCR also plans to reinforce human resources in field offices in the north that hosts more than two-third of all IDPs countrywide. The Office will continue to exercise its refugee mandate, especially in advocating and cooperating with Ansar Allah authorities in resuming the registration process in the north, in continuing to conduct registration and refugee status determination in the Government-controlled areas, and exploring a limited set of durable solutions, including the resumption of the assisted return to Somalia once COVID-19-related restrictions ease. On the IDP front, UNHCR will continue to rely on heavily earmarked funding, maintaining a robust emergency response and supporting an increasingly protracted IDP caseload, primarily through multipurpose cash assistance and protection services through a network of community centres. UNHCR will continue to lead protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management clusters.