Press release

Restoring Livelihoods through Culture in Yemen: International Conference on UNESCO-EU cash-for-work project


On 26 and 27 May, UNESCO and the European Union will host an online conference, Restoring Livelihoods Through Culture in Yemen bringing together key stakeholders, implementation partners and young Yemenis, who will explore ways to engage youth to revive Yemen’s rich cultural heritage.

Participants will take stock of progress in implementing the Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen project, launched by UNESCO and the European Union in partnership with the Social Fund for Development in Yemen in September 2018.

By combining social protection and urban rehabilitation, UNESCO is working to provide Yemenis with access to livelihoods, strengthen their economic resilience and skills, and promote social cohesion.

Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture

The project provides economic relief for vulnerable youth through employment in urban rehabilitation and cultural programming. The initiative responds to the economic hardship, extensive population displacement, disruption of the culture sector and heavy damages to infrastructure and heritage caused by the ongoing conflict in the country and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To date, UNESCO, the European Union, and the Social Fund for Development in Yemen have employed more than 2,360 women and men to rehabilitate over 150 heritage sites in three World Heritage sites in Danger (Sana’a, Shibam, Zabid) as well as in the historic city of Aden. Eight thousand private and public historic buildings have been surveyed to inform evidence-based urban rehabilitation plans.

We need a solid long-term support to Yemen. For this reason, our efforts are currently focusing on resilience, which we consider being the bridge connecting humanitarian and development efforts.

Ambassador Hans Grundberg, Head of Delegation, EU Ambassador for Yemen

In terms of cultural programming, the project has supported more than 500 young artists helping them acquire entrepreneurship and artistic skills. Grants have also benefitted eight cultural associations, supporting viable business models in the cultural and creative industries, including music, cinema, graphic design, poetry, and more. Awareness-raising campaigns and media content reached around 7 million Yemenis promoting a constructive dialogue about their unique culture.

UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund has supported urgent interventions including responses to climate-related emergencies affecting the urban fabric of historic cities and endangering their cultural heritage.