Saudi crown prince meets with MPs and religious leaders

1 / 2
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with British Chancellor Philip Hammond and CEOs of major British companies. (SPA)
2 / 2
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby greets Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a private meeting at Lambeth Palace in London on Mar 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 10 March 2018
0

Saudi crown prince meets with MPs and religious leaders

LONDON: In a packed schedule, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met political and religious leaders yesterday on the second full day of his landmark visit to Britain.
Following on from his first day, in which he had lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and met with Prime Minister Theresa May, the crown prince met with MPs and ministers as business leaders gathered from the two countries in the capital.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion of millions of Christians globally, received the crown prince at Lambeth Palace in central London, where the two talked for an hour.
“The crown prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” a statement from Lambeth Palace said.
He also extended an invitation to the Archbishop to visit Saudi Arabia, senior sources at both the Saudi Embassy in the United Kingdom and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Arab News.
Earlier this week, Crown Prince Mohammed met Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Cairo’s largest cathedral, and invited Egypt’s Christians to visit Saudi Arabia.
He has said in interviews that he wants to return Saudi Arabia to “moderate Islam” that is open to the world and tolerant of other faiths.
Crown Prince Mohammed and the Archbishop viewed a selection of early texts from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, including fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, which are thought to be among the world’s oldest, Reuters reported.
“The Archbishop shared his concern about limits placed on Christian worship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and highlighted the importance for leaders of all faiths to support freedom of religion or belief, drawing on the experience of the UK,” the statement said.
Welby also “voiced his distress” at the humanitarian situation in Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi militias overthrew the internationally recognized government in 2014 sparking the conflict.
Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition supporting forces loyal to the president against the militias and their allies.
On Wednesday night, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “Iran is playing a destructive and dangerous role in Yemen and destabilizing the region.”
Speaking at a news conference with the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir he said there had been “a British-Saudi agreement to control shipping lines in preparation for the opening of Yemeni ports.”
Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia agreed with Britain “on the need to deter Iran and stop its support for terrorism.”
“We support the transitional process and the political dialogue in Yemen,” he added, stressing that “the war there was imposed on us.”
He pointed out that “the Houthis have rebuffed all attempts to reach a political solution in Yemen.”
The Saudi foreign minister affirmed the Kingdom’s continued humanitarian assistance to Yemen after the war.
Yesterday, the crown prince also met with Philip Hammond the treasury secretary and they discussed ways to improve economic cooperation between the two countries as well as opportunities that may arise from the implementation of the Vision 2030 plan to move the Saudi economy away from oil.
He also held talks with MPs from all parties and the heads heads of parliamentary committees for the armed forces, foreign affairs and intelligence.


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

Adaa is tasked with monitoring performance of government entities. (Supplied)
Updated 6 min 40 sec ago
0

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

  • 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

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.