Legal and Institutional Framework

The legislative tools for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Yemen pre-date the ratification of CBD. They were issued as laws and presidential decrees and can be summarized as follows:

Law 26 of 1995 : is by far the most comprehensive environmental legislation to date. It defines ( in article 5 ) the scope and responsibilities of Environmental Protection Authority ( EPA ),  calls  ( in articles 6 - 14 ) for the protection of water and soil and the establishment of Protected Areas, provides legal framework for control and use of pesticides ( articles 15 - 21 ), provides legal framework for the control of pollution and the conservation of natural resources and the protection of wildlife and marine organism specially those endangered and threatened of extinction (articles 22-29), same articles also prohibit hunting of specified types of wild birds and animals ( article 28 ) as well as the destruction of their natural habitats,  authorize EPA and relevant agencies to prepare and enforce environmental standards, criterias and specifications( articles 30 - 34 ), spells out the necessity of environmental impact assessments as a pre-requisite for development projects licensees (articles 35-43),  provides legal framework for handling hazardous wastes and materials ( articles 44 - 55 ), establishes environmental monitoring networks ( article 58-61 ) , and forbids the discharge of ships pollution into the sea water ( articles 62 - 64 ). Articles 75-86 cover the protection of air, water and land from all sources of pollution. Articles 75-86 deal with  violation and penalties.

Law No. 20 of 1995 : aims to deal with procedures for urban planning in all parts of the Republic. In accordance with Article (3) of the Law, the Law aims at best usage of land, organizing its usage for various purposes, protection of agricultural land and sites for natural resources from infringement by construction and building works, protection of the environment from pollution, protection of valleys, water courses, flash flood courses, underground water and the coastline. 

Presidential Decree on Law No. 43 of 1997: Regulates fishing exploitation and protection of live aquatic resources.

Yemeni Law No. 11 of 1993 concerning the Protection of Marine Environment from Pollution. It aims at  protection of sea from pollution. It is mainly concerned with pollution by oil and pollution from passing ships. The law determines procedures for prosecuting, penalizing and requesting compensation from ships that violate the law. It gives the Public Corporation for Maritime Affairs the legislative power to deal with oil pollution at sea. In its article No. 35, the law prohibits any form of discharge of pollutants of any kind and from any source into the sea without prior treatment.

The Law prohibits shops, industrial and tourist complexes, facilities and public places to discharge, throw away or drown any polluting material, wastes or untreated liquids, which may cause pollution of the beaches of the Republic of Yemen, either done intentionally or unintentionally, directly or indirectly. The Law considers discharge as a punishable crime; as each discharge for any single day is considered as a separate single crime. The Law does not grant permission to build on seacoast or near it, which may result in discharge that contravenes the provisions of the Law, unless sewage and wastes treatment units are provided. 

Law No. 15 of 1994: It deals with the legal provisions of ships registration, documents, monitoring and supervision. It also deals with those provisions that are related to marine accidents/incidents. Amongst the most important subjects this Law deals with is the 'ship documents', the most important of which are the certificates which safeguards against pollution, a register for dispensing oils. Also among the most important documents of fishing boats are the documents that deal with permission to fish. The Law prohibits any foreign ship from leaving Yemeni ports, or which is passing through or mooring in territorial waters, unless it satisfies all safety Requirements as per provisions of international agreements valid in the Republic of Yemen with respect to safeguarding life in sea and in cargo ships, and protecting the marine environment against pollution. 

Law No. 25 of 1999 regulating and handling of pesticides. The Article No. (3) of the Law states the objective of the Law that briefly deals with the handling of herbicides, and procedures for registry, monitoring and inspecting herbicides in an effort to avoid the danger posed by them and their toxic effects on the health of humans, animals and the environment. Article No.(28) subjects all sections of the armed forces, security, excise and duty, supply & commerce, seaports & airports to implement the Law. 

Law No.1 of 1995: is concerned with repossession for common benefit. Its Article No. (1) allows ministries, corporations, authorities, and public establishments, when necessity arises, to repossess land for the common benefit against fair compensation for the sake of executing projects for the common benefit. Article No. (2) states that the “necessary projects” are those of common benefit and which have no other alternative, such as sewage reticulation networks, location of sites of mineral resources, oil, gas, airports, seaports, dams, and irrigation and potable water projects. 

Law No. 37 of 1991: defines the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zones of 200 nautical miles, the boundaries of the islands. It also regulates free passage in the Strait of Bab al-Mandab. It emphasizes on the prohibition of dumping any wastes into these zones. The Law states that “the passage of a ship or submarine or a submerged ship will be considered as a non-land passage if such a ship or a submarine or a submerged ship has, while in territorial waters committed an act that caused intentional pollution that is harmful to human health, marine life and marine environment.”

Law No. 32 of 1999 on Agricultural and Veterinary Quarantine regulations: It regulates the introduction of plants and agricultural products into Yemen and the issuing of health certificates for any importation.

Law No. 20 of 1999 on Agricultural Seeds and fertilizer uses:It regulates handling and use of fertilizers and seeds species, including monitoring and inspection and recording of their use. 

Law No. 39 of 1999: is concerned with the general cleaning. It, in accordance with Article No. (3), aims at protecting the environment and public health, and disposing of wastes by using proper methods, or treating them, or recycling them by using up-to-date techniques. The Law, in accordance with Article No. (5), prohibits dropping, placing, or leaving behind wastes on seacoast, agricultural land, storm water courses and also wadis valleys. The Law also prohibits placing them in a hole in the ground and then covering them with earth, burning them, or placing them in places not designated for them. The Law also, in accordance with Article No. (10), prohibits the manufacture and import of plastic bags that do not breakdown and disintegrate with time. The Law states that subject matters must be coordinated with other concerned authorities so as to take advantage of other legislation on environment.

A Forest Law: The primary objectives of the Draft Forest Law include: "(1) forest protection and preservation; (2) forest development; (3) management and regulation of forest formations; (4) erosion and desertification control; and (5) contribution to the national economy. The law also prohibits six specific actions that are considered harmful to forests.

Water and Irrigation Law

It was Adopted by the Cabinet in 1999, and seek to promote the sustainable use of water, protect water resources from overexploitation, and balance the water needs of the various communities and sectors. Approved Water Law places more emphasis on conservation and sustainability rather than on water resources development.

The Irrigation parts of the law seeks to improve irrigation efficiency, to optimize its use, and to establish a strong central entity to oversee irrigation issues in the country. The law addresses a range of irrigation-related issues, such as institutional restructuring, mechanisms to prevent and resolve land and water tenure disputes, pollution prevention, and awareness campaigns. Given the dominant role that irrigation plays in Yemen's water consumption, these regulations have the potential to significantly reduce pressures on the resource.