KSA’s first national review of sustainable goals

Updated 15 July 2018
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KSA’s first national review of sustainable goals

  • Saudi Arabia’s initiatives to enable the full participation of women in society include the national observatory of women’s participation in economic, social and environmental development
  • Saudi Arabia instituted the largest number of business reforms among countries in the Middle East and North Africa region

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is presenting its first voluntary national review of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the UN headquarters in New York.
The Ministry of Economy and Planning is leading the Saudi delegation at the UN forum on sustainable development. The ministerial meeting of the forum, whose theme is “Transformation toward sustainable and resilient societies,” is from July 16 to July 18. Saudi Vision 2030 is a roadmap toward a future based on three pillars: A a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. Many of the vision’s initiatives are geared toward SDGs.

Community development
Saudi Arabia has upgraded its welfare system, including social protection programs, financial assistance, child care, retirement pensions, elderly care and women’s welfare.
Saudi Arabia’s initiatives to enable the full participation of women in society include the national observatory of women’s participation in economic, social and environmental development. Other contributions to women’s advancement include the launch of a digital portal for female job seekers, the Al-Nahda Women’s Charitable Society program to help working women to commute (Wusool), and a daycare program to assist working women (Qurra).

King Khalid Foundation
KKF was the first nonprofit body to conduct research on women issues through a nationwide survey of 10,000 households. The results informed proposals on how best to tackle issues.

Economic transformation
To scale up diversification, raise the skills of the Saudi workforce and exploit the Kingdom’s natural resources, the government has increased investment in telecommunications, e-government, water, wastewater and energy. It is continuing to develop the country’s infrastructure, including expansion of the railway system and the introduction of a light rail transit project with metro lines and a community bus network in the Kingdom’s major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah.
According to a recent World Bank report, Saudi Arabia instituted the largest number of business reforms among countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. In addition to hosting millions of Hajj and Umrah visitors, Saudi Arabia is promoting the country as a tourist destination, including easing visa restrictions.

Environmental protection
Saudi Arabia has invested in advanced waste-disposal systems and integrated recycling projects as well as fighting desertification and reducing pollution. It is addressing water scarcity through conservation, desalination and reuse of treated wastewater.
It is active in promoting green building technologies and ensuring the protection and sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystems and increasing the number of nature reserves. The government is building clean energy facilities. King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy has been created, and a national renewable energy program has been launched to promote participation of local and international companies in renewable energy projects.
Humanitarian relief Saudi Arabia is the world’s fourth-largest aid donor. Through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Saudi Arabia has given more than $1.543 billion to Yemen in the past three years. KSRelief implemented 260 projects that targeted food security, refugees, control of cholera, water and wastewater, and support to the Central Bank of Yemen.

The Social Charity Fund
In 2016, SCF allocated $139.81 million for scholarship programs, in addition to $30.51 million earmarked for training and employment programs.


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.