Saudi heritage showcased at Janadriya fest wows dignitaries

The two-week Janadriya festival, which opened Wednesday, has impressed foreign guests and diplomats attending the opening ceremony. (SPA)
Updated 03 February 2017
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Saudi heritage showcased at Janadriya fest wows dignitaries

RIYADH: The 31st edition of the two-week Janadriya festival, which opened Wednesday, has impressed foreign guests and diplomats attending the opening ceremony.
Bahraini King Hamad, who attended the inaugural function of the national festival for heritage and culture along with King Salman and foreign dignitaries from friendly countries, said Janadriya sets an example to be followed at the cultural level in the Gulf and Arab regions.
King Hamad expressed his pleasure at attending the festival, in which hundreds of foreign thinkers, poets and writers meet their Saudi counterparts and enrich the cultural and literary arenas.
He also praised the diverse intellectual and cultural activities expressing Saudi history, prosperity, and Arab Gulf civil identity.
Events and activities include folklore arts, operetta and camel races. The festival is organized by the Ministry of National Guard and named after the heritage village on the outskirts of Riyadh, where it is held annually to celebrate symbols of Saudi identity.
Egypt is the guest-of-honor country this year. Its Culture Minister Hilmi Al-Nimnim, who is leading the Egyptian delegation at the festival, said this reflects the depth of relations between the two countries.
He expressed his pleasure at attending as guest of honor, and applauded the successful continuation of the festival year after year.
Chinese Ambassador Li Huaxin, whose country was a previous guest of honor, said: “I am really pleased to attend this important festival with my family, which gave us a clearer picture of the Kingdom’s developments in all fields. It is indeed a portrayal of the Kingdom’s rich heritage and cultural.”
Belgian Ambassador Geert Criel said: “I was honored to attend the opening ceremony of the Janadriya festival in the presence of King Salman.”
The festival “is a wonderful celebration of the rich heritage and impressive achievements of the Kingdom,” the envoy added. “I very much look forward to visiting the various pavilions, including the one of Egypt.”
Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed said: “It is a grand heritage and cultural show with a beautiful setting. The opening ceremony was absolutely fascinating because of the elaborate arrangements made to entertain all groups of people.”
Pakistani Ambassador Manzoor Ul Haq said: “It is fascinating to see the rich history and cultural heritage of the Kingdom. One of the main attractions was the grand camel race.”
The envoy added that Pakistan, with its own rich history and culture, looks forward to further strengthening cultural cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
“Culture and sports are a good medium to promote friendship and harmony between nations of the world,” he said.
Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim said it was a comprehensive cultural event showcasing rapid developments in the Kingdom.
“We are happy that this annual heritage and culture festival provides a good platform for foreign diplomats to share the Kingdom’s experiences,” he added.
Norwegian Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen said: “Visiting the Janadriya festival is an interesting expedition, besides being a good experience, since it is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”


National Center for Performance Measurement vision aims to track achievements, boost transparency in national projects

Updated 1 min 18 sec ago
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National Center for Performance Measurement vision aims to track achievements, boost transparency in national projects

RIYADH: One of the major reform projects of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is Adaa — the National Center for Performance Measurement.
Adaa is tasked with performance measurement and enablement of government entities. The enablement involves providing tools, frameworks and educational support which enables better measurement and development.
The performance-monitoring agency was established in 2016. Husameddin AlMadani is the director general of Adaa, which has the aim of introducing a culture of transparency and performance assessment into Saudi Arabia’s public sector.
Adaa was created prior to the roll-out of Vision 2030 as a recommendation from the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA).
“His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saw the necessity of knowing where we stand before embarking on any grand vision in order to assess our progress,” AlMadani said.
“In planning how the center can start on a successful note we prepared for two main challenges we had to tackle; the establishment of a performance culture within government entities and improving the quality of data provided. The establishment of a performance culture was the first step we addressed and considered our initial investment that would automatically support addressing our second challenge,” he said.
Adaa has worked with world-renowned institutions to educate public entities and increase their awareness and capabilities regarding performance measurement and to spread the culture of performance measurement. Adaa has performance ambassador teams placed within each of the government entities it works with.
AlMadani said that the past two years had been extremely positive in overcoming challenges.
“We find the language completely changed; entities speak in targets they achieved, gaps they have closed. The focus is on performance numbers and KPIs. They are also focused on the quality of data they produce and are starting to invest in the quality of their data structure. We have great success stories where entities invested heavily in their data structure. One ministry was able to reach 99 percent data validation. Even the process of producing the reports for entities describing their progress and achieving their targets has become purely quantitative.”
Adaa’s mandate directly relates to Vision 2030’s third pillar; To achieve an ambitious nation, one that is effectively governed through transparency by reporting on progress. This is achieved through engaging citizens, residents and beneficiaries of government services in the process of improving services provided, AlMadani said.
“It is on outcome-based key performance indicators: Measuring the progress toward Vision 2030’s approved targets and objectives; execution level data; collecting data on milestone achievements of Vision 2030 realization projects and initiatives; service-level data; and measuring and collecting data on beneficiaries’ satisfaction with government services.
Finding qualified professionals specialized in performance measurement that can meet the scope and scale requirement was a challenge for Adaa. However, Adaa developed their own build, operate and transfer (BOT) model which proved effective where existing employees looked for potential candidates that went through rigorous training, workshops and eventual hands-on job experience under continuous evaluation for transfer.
“This proved to be a strong capability building engine we are proud of,” AlMadani said.
The result so far: Four quarters of performance reports have been published up to date, Adaa has trained about 5,000 public sector employees, and sent 16 government executives to the Harvard Kennedy School.
“We launched our International Performance Hub IPH at Davos in 2018 and launched Beneficiary Experience tools (BEX) last May, where we started measuring 21 beneficiary journeys in eight different sectors: Housing, health, education, labor, trade, transport, legal, and Hajj and umrah. For example, in the BEX Hajj assessment Adaa assessed 30 services covered by 16 government entities over three main cities: Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah.”
Adaa is aiming to set the bar high and fundamentally enhance performance.
“Our aim is to be a world-class center for government performance, innovative in embracing the latest technologies and providing intelligent, accurate and timely data. Adaa will drive excellence in performance, comprehensively be capable of capturing relevant data and accurately measuring it. It will be a true enabler in building human capacity to enhance performance and build government leaders who are citizen centered in their approach giving citizens a voice and a stake in the future development of their Kingdom,” AlMadani said.