Socotra Island Military Takeover by UAE amid Climate Change Woes, Yemen

Socotra is threatened in 2018 by the war in mainland Yemen, but the UAE and Saudi Arabia are bringing "aid" and infrastructure, endangering its unique ecosystem and many endemic species.


Description

The Yemeni island of Socotra is the largest island of the Socotra Archipelago. The archipelago was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The highly isolated island is home to a large number of endemic species. Up to one third of its plant life is endemic. Traditional livelihoods of the local population, which numbers around 70,000, have been fishing, animal husbandry, and date cultivation. The takeover by the UAE started under the guise of humanitarian aid and reconstruction after cyclone Megh in 2015. The impoverished local population was in dire need of basic services. However, land and infrastructure were developed at a fast scale and pace, threatening the ecosystem and livelihoods on the island.

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Basic Data
NameSocotra Island Military Takeover by UAE amid Climate Change Woes, Yemen
CountryYemen, Rep.
ProvinceSocotra Governorate
SiteSocotra Island
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Military installations
Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific CommoditiesLand
Endemic species, UNESCO World Heritage
Tourism services
Ecosystem Services
Shrimps
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the geological isolation of the Socotra archipelago have created a unique and spectacular endemic flora. In 2018 it is getting involved in the war in Yemen, with increased military presence of the UAE and Saudi Arabia..
Project Area (in hectares)379,600
Level of Investment (in USD)1,600,000,000
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected Population70,000
Start Date03/2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesEmirates Red Crescent from United Arab Emirates - Agency resposible for recontstructing the airport and renovating schools after hurricane Megh in 2015, locals accuse it of being a cover to Emirati appropriation plans.
Rotana Jet from United Arab Emirates - Rotana Jet operates weekly commercial flights directly linking the UAE to Socotra, bypassing Aden's authority, hoping to turn Socotra into a tourism hotspot.
Rotana Jet from United Arab Emirates - Rotana Jet operates weekly commercial flights directly linking the UAE to Socotra, bypassing Aden's authority, hoping to turn Socotra into a tourism hotspot.
Relevant government actorsYemeni local authorities

Emirati state officials
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGeneral Authority for Conservation of Historic Places

Socotra Environmental Agency
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Local tourism operators
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Most protests and statements to media outlets remain anonymous due to fear of retribution
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Development of AlternativesProtection by UNESCO for the preservation of environmental and cultural heritage.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Increased militarization
Sources and Materials
Links

A report on the soft colonisation of Scotra by The New Arab, published 17 May, 2017
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Press release on Saba Net: Yemen calls UNESCO to protect Socotra Island from dredging by occupying UAE forces, published on 7 May 2017
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A tourist article about the Island of Socotra, published on 8 November 2015
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A tourist article about the Island of Socotra, published on 8 November 2015
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A tourist article about the Island of Socotra, published on 8 November 2015
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An investigative report about Socotra and raging power struggle in the region, published 6 May 2018

Socotra: How a strategic island became part of a Gulf power struggle
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An investigative report about Socotra and raging power struggle in the region, published 6 May 2018

Socotra: How a strategic island became part of a Gulf power struggle
[click to view]

Article about the UAE takeover of Socorta, published 6 May 2018

Yemen: UAE Takeover of Socotra Island an Unjustified Violation of Sovereignty
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A propaganda piece and portal in the Emirati The National advertising Socotra and its redevelopment

Paradise regained: return to Socotra
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An Independent news report about the conflict in Socotra, published 2 May 2018

Socotra island: The Unesco-protected 'Jewel of Arabia' vanishing amid Yemen’s civil war
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Media Links

Some Twitter hashtags used by activists #Socotra_is_Yemeni
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Some Twitter hashtags used by activists #Socotra
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Some Twitter hashtags used by activists #SaveSocotra
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Video "Appeal to UNESCO and International Community"
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Investigative video report by BBC News:

Yemen's island 'jewel' under threat -

The island of Socotra has so far escaped largely unscathed as civil war rages on mainland Yemen, but the foreign powers bringing aid and infrastructure to the impoverished region could threaten its unique ecosystem.
[click to view]

Other Documents

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Meta Information
Last update12/08/2018
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