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May 20, 2024
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Saudi Arabia Targets Sustainability in Major Environmental Push

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is on a transformative journey toward environmental sustainability, a multi-stage process that aligns with the goals of Vision 2030 and entails regional and global initiatives focused on preserving natural resources, combating climate change, and improving the quality of life for current and future generations.

This transformation was enabled by supportive regulations and legislation. In 2016, a significant shift occurred: the Ministry of Agriculture was transformed into the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

Several key achievements have laid the groundwork for the country’s environmental progress. The National Environment Strategy served as a roadmap for environmental development, guiding the Kingdom’s efforts.

The Prince Sultan Institute for Environmental, Water and Desert Research supported scientific research in environmental fields. The Research Fund for Energy and Environment further strengthened this commitment by promoting innovation in sustainable energy and environmental protection.

The Kingdom also undertook a $1.1 billion post-Gulf War environmental reconstruction project to repair war-related damage to the environment.

To ensure effective and sustainable implementation of environmental initiatives, the Kingdom established the Environment Fund and the Special Forces for Environmental Security, as well as five specialized centers: the National Center for Meteorology, the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification, the National Center for Environmental Compliance, the National Center for Wildlife, and the National Center for Waste Management.

Saudi Arabia is a leader in the global green movement through two key initiatives. The Saudi Green Initiative aims to plant 10 billion trees, rehabilitate degraded lands, and increase protected areas.

The Middle East Green Initiative is a collaborative effort that addresses regional environmental challenges. These initiatives promote the green economy, combat climate change, and create a more sustainable future for the region.

Vision 2030 calls for transforming Saudi cities into green and smart spaces, promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents. By taking these comprehensive steps, the country is asserting its leadership in environmental sustainability, to the benefit of its citizens and the wider region.

The National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification is making significant strides toward achieving the Saudi Green Initiative goals. It set seven key targets focused on revitalizing vegetation on lands under its purview.

The center plans to revitalize 300,000 hectares of degraded forests by replanting valleys and heavily logged areas with 60 million local trees.

Another key target is the rehabilitation of eight million hectares of pastureland in 26 locations in the Kingdom.

Planting 10 million trees in national parks is another crucial aspect of the plan. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions by four million tons, combat desertification, restore biodiversity, and provide nature-based solutions for carbon capture and climate-change mitigation.

The center also plans to collaborate with the royal reserves to plant seven million native trees. The aim is to reduce carbon emissions by over two million tons. Encouraging private sector participation is another key target. The goal is to plant and protect 40 million trees in private sector areas over 10 years, contributing to reducing carbon emissions by 16 million tons.

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