International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Yemen

Yemen’s constitution contains provisions for the protection of the environment. Article 35 reads: “Environmental protection is the collective responsibility of the state and the community at large. Each individual shall have a religious and national duty to protect the environment.”

The Ministry of Water and Environment aims at developing water resources on the basis of the approach of integrated water resources management; providing clean drinking water and sanitation services, allocating water for other uses; and protecting the environment from pollution and desertification, conserving natural resources and rationalizing their exploitation; all through the adoption and enforcement of relevant legislations; implementation of awareness-raising programs; encouragement of local communities, non¬governmental organizations and other civil society organization, private sector and women to participate in efforts to reform water and environment conditions in a way that is conducive to the improvement of public health and alleviation of poverty and unemployment.

Disaster Reduction Goals:

1. Contribute to preparation of national plans to public and environmental disasters.

2. Define activities and locations likely to be subject to environmental disasters resulting from human intervention or natural factors, and coordinate with bodies concerned with natural resources and environmental protection in establishing a database there for.

3. Contribute to establishing environmental safety rules and criteria in industrial and other activities with hazardous impact on the environment and take part in building and development of an early monitoring and warning system concerning activities leading to environmental disasters.

4. Contribute to building capacities of the concerned agencies to face environmental emergencies, accidents and disasters.

4. Contribute to building capacities of the concerned agencies to face environmental emergencies, accidents and disasters.

5. Propose establishing a mechanism for assessing damages and impacts resulting from environmental accidents and disasters and define necessary measures for redressing them.

6. Propose national, regional and international partnership programs for cooperation in facing environmental accidents and disasters.

7. Participate in raising public awareness of citizens in facing environmental accidents and disasters.

8. Any other tasks required by the nature' of its functions or assigned by the Minister

Featured Legislation

1978: The Fisheries Law No. 20 was passed. This Law is composed of 3 Parts divided into 16 articles. Definitions and terms are given in Part I. Management and powers are dealt with in Part II. Part III contains general provisions. The Government may set up an administrative body to coordinate, regulate and develop fishing activities in the Republic to achieve the following objectives: coordination, regulation and development of fishing activities including conservation, processing and marketing of fish and fish products; promotion of fishermen cooperatives providing them with all possible facilities; collection and analysis of data on fisheries and fisheries industries; conducting technical studies and research on fisheries and fisheries industries; organizing fishermen training; no fishing in fishing areas without licenses issued by the Administrative Body; vessels shall be certified as fit for fishing under according to provisions of article 4; each vessel shall have the lettering and the number of the license painted on it; the Administrative Body or the Competent Authority shall maintain a register with all particulars of licensed fishing vessels (art. 3); the Administrative Body may issue a certificate of fitness to a local fishing boat (art. 4); the Minister of Agriculture may issue a research fishing license (art. 5); no use of explosives or other noxious substances for catching, killing, injuring or paralyzing fish so as to facilitate its capture (art. 6); the Minister of Agriculture may declare any area a protected zone (art. 7); fish processing establishments, local or foreign, must be authorized by the Minister of Agriculture (art. 8); offenses, penalties and legal proceedings (art. 10).

1995: Law No. 26 (on the environment protection) was approved. This Law is composed of 5 Sections divided into 95 articles. Section I deals with terms and definitions and defines objectives of this Law which are: protection of environment; pollution control; protection, preservation and development of natural resources; protection of the society, public health, and all being livings from all dangerous and hazardous activities; protection of the national environment from external hazards activities; accomplishment of all international obligations relating to the environment protection and pollution control; and the contribution in the protection of ozone layer and climate. Section II provides for the following matters: water and soil protection; creation of protected areas; use, circulation, trade, registration, control, inspection of pesticides; and the issuance of license for pesticides. Section III refers to the dangerous and hazardous activities to environment especially: control of activities that are dangerous and hazardous to the environment; laying down standards, criterions and technical requirements for the aforementioned activities; issuance of licenses for and EIA for projects; trade and circulation of hazardous waste disposal; environment protection and economic development; and environment monitoring. Section IV pertains to marine pollution. Offenses, penalties and compensations for environmental damages are given in Section V.

2002: Water Law No. 33 was enacted. The aim of this Law is to regulate, develop and guide the exploitation of water resources, protection of water against pollution, and improvement of water installation functions and maintenance. This Law consists of 9 Sections divided into 82 articles. Terms and definitions are dealt with in Section I. Section II defines Objectives and general principles of the Law. Regulation, management and planning of water resources are contained in Section III. Section IV provides for water uses. Water licenses and rights are provided for in Section V. Section VI pertains to water preservation and water protection against pollution. Protection against floods is contained in Section VII. Seizure measures and penalties are defined in Section VIII. General provisions are given in Section IX.

2004: Law No. 16 (on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Pollution) was inaugurated The purpose of this Law is to prevent sea water pollution. The Law consists of 51 articles divided into 7 Sections: Naming and Definitions (I); Prevent sea water pollution (II); Recording, reporting and conditions of guarantee (III); Management and implementation (IV); Civil Liability for costs and damages (V); Penalties (VI); General and Final Provisions (VII). Art.3 establishes that it is forbidden for any person or vessel or aircraft or transfer oil vehicle to discharge any contaminated materials in a pollution-free zone. Each day of such continuous discharge shall be treated as a separate violation.

2005: The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was presented. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is a sectoral strategy applicable at the national level. The objectives are: a) to ensure the conservation of natural resources; b) to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources; c) integrating biodiversity in sectoral development plans; and d) the implementation of enabling mechanisms.

2006: Law No.2 (regulating fishing, exploitation, and protection of aquatic organisms) was instituted. This Law consisting of 78 articles divided in VI Parts aims at (i) protecting and developing in a sustainable manner marine creatures and their marine environment from random fishing and detriment practices; (ii) encouragement and organization of investment in the field of fishing and exploiting of marine creatures and their marketing, also strengthening the cooperative sector; (iii) organizing artisanal and coastal fishing activities to replace foreign industrial fishing; (iv) encouraging investments in the field of aquaculture; (v) promoting the creation of an integrated information database; (vi) strengthening marine control and surveillance so as to ensure the safeguard of fish wealth, the combating of smuggling, the prohibition of non regulated and illegal fishing; (vii) supporting researches to achieve the economic aims of the sustainable exploitation of marine creatures; and (viii) protecting the quality of fish production through the development of the artisanal fishing.

2009: Energy Act No. 1 was tabled. The provisions of this Act shall apply to the activities of generation, transport, wholesale, distribution and consumption of electric power, as well as its import and export to and from the Republic of Yemen. The Act aims to: ensure electrical energy security; diversify environmental friendly sources of energy production, including renewable energy and reliable sources of sustainable energy; ensure the functional separation of the services of electric power; set and apply tariffs in a fair and transparent manner; ensure safety, continuity and quality of electricity service; regulate the relationship between consumers and licensees; encourage domestic and foreign investment in the electricity activities.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • The civil war in Yemen threatens the country’s ecological integrity, posing challenges for the nation’s habitable land. The civil war, which started in 2015, has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, but also a long-term environmental catastrophe. Continued carbon emissions and climate-related events have led to the exhaustion of water supplies, forcing families out of their villages. Climate events threaten human security: recent examples are two major cyclones within a week in 2015, another two in 2018, and a series of destructive nationwide downpours and floods in 2020, all causing irreparable damage to different aspects of Yemen’s wonderful heritage and people. Unexploded munitions and other war debris have wreaked havoc on rural populations. Water scarcity is the main manifestation of these problems. The shortage is better publicized in urban areas, but it is most prominent in rural areas, where 70 percent of the population lives. While water scarcity is Yemen’s most pressing environmental problem, other environmental issues are closely interconnected: neglected oil tankers floating off the west coast of the country leak crude oil into the ocean. Moreover, if these tankers sink or explode, it will cause a historic environmental catastrophe, emitting 1.148 million barrels of oil, destroying marine life and human livelihoods on a massive scale. Officials estimate that it would take decades to recover from such a spill.

References and Further Reading


Minister of Water and Environment Ministry of Water and Environment, Hon. Dr. Tawfiq Abdul Wahid Al-Sharjabi:;