Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, with 80% of its poor in rural areas. In spite of limited cultivable land, nearly two-thirds of Yemenis derive their livelihood from agriculture. An increasing proportion of land has been converted from food production to the growing of qat, and small farmers’ land holdings are getting smaller while the largest and wealthiest landowners’ holdings are increasing. Sixty-two percent of farms cover less than 2 hectares. In spite of a major role in agricultural production, women rarely have ownership rights to land and commonly relinquish inherited land rights to male family members.

Land disputes are relatively common in Yemen because there is no system for authenticating land deeds and land documents, either formal or customary, and no national cadastre. However, both urban and rural landowners have a reasonable degree of tenure security with rights enforceable under either civil law or customary and Islamic law, respectively. Access to water, which is tied to land rights, is a common cause of land disputes, particularly in areas of water scarcity. Land scarcity is resulting in appropriation and sale of communal land, in some cases by sheikhs in violation of their fiduciary responsibility. Yemen faces a crisis in terms of water supply and water quality, with one of the lowest per capita water availability rates in the world (only 150 cubic meters per year) and pervasive groundwater contamination. This situation has made waterborne diseases the major cause of the high infant mortality rate of 53 per thousand. Ninety percent of water withdrawal is for agriculture. Surface and groundwater resources are communal property, which has led to less than optimal use of this very scarce resource.

Forests constitute only 1% of Yemen’s total land area. However, forests are a critical resource, providing 70% of the country’s energy needs and over half the fodder for livestock. In spite of forests’ economic significance, Yemen does not have a national forest policy or legislation governing forest land. The ownership status of most forest land in Yemen is ambiguous and disputes are frequent.

One of the major current sources of Yemen’s national income, oil, is projected to become exhausted by 2012. Accordingly, Yemen can no longer rely on oil revenues and must instead continue to focus its development strategy on sustainable and productive use of its natural and human resource base.

Source of the narrative

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parts indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.


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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.



    Displaying 1 - 6 of 123
    GLTN workshop cover image
    Reports & Research
    Training Resources & Tools
    March 2013

    The land challenge is central to the broader youth dynamics of migration, employment, livelihoods and belonging. The more than 1.8 billion youth living worldwide represent not only a land challenge, but an untapped potential in moving the tenure security agenda forward. Recognizing this, the Global Land Tool Network has partnered with UN-Habitat to develop youth responsive land tools through the Youth-led Action Research on Land program. Five action research projects will be undertaken by youth organizations in Brazil, Kenya, Nepal, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

    Reports & Research
    December 2011

    Document de travail sur les régimes fonciers 20. Ce document analyse les caractéristiques des systèmes de propriété communale dans divers pays d’Asie. Les pressions actuelles du marché sur les ressources naturelles créent à la fois des défis et des opportunités pour les communautés et pour les gouvernements en vue d’utiliser et de renforcer les systèmes de propriété commune pour promouvoir la gestion durable des ressources naturelles. Des politiques et des institutions ad hoc sont nécessaires pour promouvoir la redevabilité des acteurs et la bonne gouvernance de ces ressources.

    Journal Articles & Books
    December 2004

    Ce document analyse les études de cas de projets qui font appel à une approche fondée sur les moyens d’existence durables ou des principes fondés sur des moyens d’existence durables et dans lesquels on peut mesurer les effets de la réduction de la pauvreté. Ce document n’est pas une étude comparative entre une approche fondée sur les moyens d’existence et une approche non fondée sur les moyens d’existence et en tant que tels, les développements de cas « traditionnels » n’ont pas été pris en considération.

    Journal Articles & Books
    December 2001

    Information is provided on why to involve traditional leaders in the decentralisation and restructuring process. The extent to which this may be happening anyhow (by default) is part of the research hypotheses that guided fieldwork, which have not found to be relevant in all countries.

    Reports & Research
    December 2002

    This document contains the proceedings of the Regional Workshop on Land Resources Information Systems (LRIS) in the Near East, held in Cairo from 3 to 7 September 2001. The meeting was organized by FAO Land and Water Development Division (AGL) and the Near East Regional Office, in collaboration with Egypt's Executive Authority for Land Improvement Projects (EALIP).