Strengthening Inclusive Local Governance and Peacebuilding in Yemen

This project is part of an overarching pilot project to support stabilization in Yemen which Berghof Foundation implements in close collaboration with the GIZ. The overall objective of the project is to support stabilization in two selected governorates in Yemen: Hadramout and Dhamar. Within these governorates, two informal local consultation structures are established and supported to complement the existing administrative set up and to advice the governors on development and peacebuilding needs and priorities. The structures additionally perform the function of a steering committee for a small scale projects fund provided by the GIZ.

The aim of the project is to strengthen inclusive local governance and peacebuilding in Yemen by mobilizing political support at the national and governorate levels for an increased role of local governance systems. In addition, we work towards strengthening capacities for conflict prevention, local mediation and reconciliation as well as supporting small local initiatives. Furthermore, the project intends to initiate Yemeni policy discussions on the national level focusing on the relevance of local governance.


May 2017 to April 2020

Conflict Setting

Years of war, the repercussions of internal and external violence on Yemen have shaken the political, economic and social foundations of the state. The current economic degradation and the signs of a possible large-scale starvation indicate that the situation in Yemen might turn into the worst if substantive support is not provided.  

The relevance of local governance structures

While the scenarios at the national level will yet have to unfold, it is certain that the local governance structures in Yemen have become much more relevant and important than in the past and their importance will even grow in the future. The local governance structures are important for the political process and stability of Yemen due to three main reasons:

1-     Support and implementation of future national agreements

In terms of peace negotiations, there is a strong inter-linkage between the local and the national level. Mediation efforts, de-escalation mechanisms and peace initiatives at the local level also have the potential to contribute to trust and confidence-building.

2-     Provision of basic services for the population

The formerly highly centralized state institutions have been considerably weakened by the war, and remaining governance services depend highly on local structures. As a result of this weakness, local actors have gained substantial leverage and room for manoeuvre vis-à-vis Sanaa.

3-     Safety-net for peace and long-term stability

More than ever in the history of the Republic of Yemen, the well-being of its citizens seems to depend on the efficiency and commitment of the local governance structures. The local governance structures could allow encompassing local security and creating an inclusive political environment that fosters reconciliation and co-existence. Thus, the local governance structures will play a key role in stabilizing Yemen for the coming years.

The local governance structures provide very relevant entry for either the stabilization of the country and/or to improve and secure the necessary conditions for a national peace process. In either scenario the local governance structures will play a key role and bear major responsibility for the provision of basic services to the local population.


The project is implemented by the Berghof Foundation in partnership with the Political Development Forum (PDF), and in close collaboration with GIZ.


The project is funded by the German Foreign Ministry.

The project activities fall under three main activity clusters.

I. Initial and Sustained Policy Support (initiating discussions on the relevance of local governance among national and local elites.)

II. Gaining support of key political figures and officials Supporting Inclusive Consultation Structures on Peace and Stabilization (establishing and training an advisory group, developing working modalities and facilitating its meetings that serve as a mechanism for inclusive policy-making at the local level.)

III. Support to Local Mediation and Reconciliation Activities (facilitation, logistics, and capacity building.)

  • Joshua Rogers: Local Governance in Yemen. Theory, Practice, and Future Options. 2019. PDF >
  • Ahmed Mohamed Al-Mawari: Legal Assessment of the Local Authority System in Yemen and Proposals for Development. 2018. Local Governance In Yemen: Challenges And Opportunities. PDF >
  • Badr Basalmah: Local Governance: Engine for Stability in Yemen. 2018. Local Governance in Yemen: Challenges and Opportunities. PDF >
  • Academic and Political Activist in Sana'a: Local Revenue and Resource Allocation. Local Governance in Yemen: Challenges and Opportunities. PDF >
  • Abdul-Raqib Fatih: The Importance of Local Governance in Strengthening and Supporting the Political Process in Yemen. 2018. Local Governance in Yemen: Challenges and Opportunities. PDF >