Establishment of Six Federal Regions in Yemen

In recent years, the nation of Yemen has been mired in strife, partially due to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Al-Qaeda factions within the country. The National Dialogue Conference established by the current president, President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, not only led to Saleh’s departure in 2012, but also aimed to eradicate the territorial strife created by a centralized government.

The establishment of six federal regions in Yemen (Aden, Hadramawt, Saba, Janad, Azal and Tahama) created a sense of equality.

With their own political autonomy and a fair distribution of the oil resources in Yemen, the southern states of Aden and Hadramawt can profess egalitarian footing with the other four northern regions. The former capital of Sana’a will remain neutral; the port city of Aden will maintain its own level of autonomy.

Despite agreement from all delegates to create the six federations, southern secessionists are still displeased.

The possibility of the north arresting the oil reserves instills fears among southern separatists. Yemen’s political past stems from Saleh’s forced centralization of both the southern and northern regions in 1994 despite an initial union with the north in 1990.

After independence from the British in 1967, the southern region of Yemen remained independent laced with Marxist ideology.

An impoverished nation, Yemen has a dearth of food supplies. The Global Food Fund donated $36 million in order to raise food initiatives ranging from livestock to agriculture. The four-year plan aims to change the lives of small-scale farmers in rural region: 31 percent of these rural farmers produce a mere 10 percent of the amount of food they need.

From research to supply to guidance to construction, the initiative proposed by the Yemeni Ministry of Agriculture aims to combat malnutrition.  The initiative includes better irrigation, high-quality seeds and land development to facilitate farming methods.

Among struggles with food security, Yemen reported that 2.5 million children do not continue their education. Beyond education,  the Yemeni population is vulnerable to high infant and maternal mortality rates as well as infectious diseases.

With a hopefully better political climate, the government can focus on the undernourished Yemeni population, with reports that 46 percent of the population survived on scarce food supply in 2012.

Whether the formation of the six federal regions will placate external political figures also remains to be seen.

 – Miles Abadilla

Sources: Al-Jazeera, Al-Shorfa, BBC, Thomson Reuters
Photo: Alarabiya