King returns home after Asia tour

King returns home after Asia tour
King Salman is welcomed on his arrival in Riyadh on Saturday. (SPA)
Updated 19 March 2017

King returns home after Asia tour

King returns home after Asia tour

BEIJING: King Salman arrived in Riyadh on Saturday after a successful visit to China, Saudi Press Agency reported.
King Salman’s visit to China this week, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, resulted in the two leaders discussing bilateral relations and the prospect of developing a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
The two sides have identical stances on different regional and international issues, which makes cooperation easy to come about.
King Salman also met with Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang and with the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Dejiang for discussions during which the two sides expressed satisfaction with the significant pace of progress registered by their relations, particularly after President Xi’s visit to the Kingdom in January 2016. The two countries during the visit agreed that the High-level Joint Committee will constitute an important framework to boost friendly ties, deepen cooperation in all fields, expand horizons of cooperation in the political, security, military, economic, investment, health, education and mining fields, and increase cooperation in the priority fields. Those areas include economy, industrial projects, e-government, infrastructure, advanced technology and space. Other areas include and mutual investment in all sectors, including oil, renewable energy, electricity and peaceful use of atomic energy in a way that raise the level of strategic partnership between the two countries.
Several agreements were signed between the two countries, which will enhance the institutional framework for relations and ensure that both countries’ interests are served.
The two sides agreed on the need to continue and intensify mutual visits at leadership and other official level and to exchange views on issues of common interest.
China stressed its support for all Kingdom policies that work to maintain stability in the region and for the positive role it plays in regional and international affairs.
Saudi Arabia stressed again its belief in the One China policy.
Both sides expressed commitment to the “Doha Declaration” issued at the China-Arab Cooperation Forum last May, which stressed the principles of respect for sovereign states party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to choose the ways of settling disputes.
China supports the Kingdom’s efforts to achieve “Vision 2030” and is keen to be a partner that helps the Kingdom diversify its economy.
The Kingdom stressed its readiness to be a partner in building the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century” and supports China’s hosting of the “One Belt, One Road” Forum for international cooperation.
The Kingdom pledged to supply with oil the growing Chinese market and both sides stressed the importance of the stability of the oil market for the global economy.
The two agreed to strengthen international economic cooperation and develop international trade within the G-20 framework and of financial and international institutions, among which the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and to exert efforts, in collaboration with the Gulf Cooperation Council, to accelerate the establishment of the Chinese-GCC free trade zone.
Both China and Saudi Arabia condemned extremism and terrorism in all their forms and manifestations, stressing that terrorism is not practiced by any one race or religion and that they will cooperate in fighting these scourges.
China expressed appreciation for the steps taken by the Kingdom by establishing the Islamic Military Alliance to Combat Terrorism.
The two countries vowed to promote cultural exchange at official and popular levels, and encourage communication and cooperation in the fields of education, health, science, technology, tourism and media.
The two sides stressed the importance of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause based on the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
They also stressed the importance of finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, on the basis of the Geneva Declaration and the UN Security Council resolutions 2254 and 2268, as well as of providing humanitarian and relief assistance to Syrian refugees and displaced people.
Both stressed the importance of maintaining the unity of Yemen and achieving security and stability in this country where a political solution has to be found based on the Gulf initiative, the output of the national dialogue conference and Security Council Resolution 2216, reaffirming their support for the legitimate authority in Yemen.
The two sides expressed concern about the situation in Libya and hope that the national reconciliation government will be able to restore security and stability, and maintain the territorial integrity of the country, and support for the Iraqi government’s fight against the terrorist organization Daesh, stressing the importance of preserving Iraq’s unity, stability and independence.


Saudi minister attends swearing-in ceremony of Djibouti’s president

Saudi minister attends swearing-in ceremony of Djibouti’s president
Updated 15 min 30 sec ago

Saudi minister attends swearing-in ceremony of Djibouti’s president

Saudi minister attends swearing-in ceremony of Djibouti’s president

DJIBOUTI: Ahmed Abdul Aziz Kattan, Saudi minister of state for African affairs, has attended on behalf of King Salman the swearing-in ceremony of Ismail Omar Guelleh after he was reelected for a new term as president of Djibouti.

Kattan conveyed to the elected president the congratulations and wishes of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for more progress and prosperity.


Who’s Who: Alanoud Abdullah Al-Showaier, GM at Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

Who’s Who: Alanoud Abdullah Al-Showaier, GM at Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
Updated 23 min 18 sec ago

Who’s Who: Alanoud Abdullah Al-Showaier, GM at Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

Who’s Who: Alanoud Abdullah Al-Showaier, GM at Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

Alanoud Abdullah Al-Showaier has been the general manager of knowledge and digital content at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology since January 2021.

The knowledge and digital content department seeks to achieve the key objectives of Vision 2030 through eliminating digital illiteracy and building an integrated ecosystem for disseminating digital knowledge and enhancing technical content.

Prior to her new role, Al-Showaier served as the director of production and marketing communication programs at Saudi Customs from July 2019 to December 2020.

Before she joined the government sector, Al-Showaier worked for more than six years in the private sector, from 2013 until 2019. She spent one year at Al-Tayyar Travel Group as a PR and marketing specialist. After that, she worked for five years in communication and marketing agencies as an account and project director and key adviser to the CEO.

Al-Showaier has a track record of leading and overseeing brands of all sectors from private to government and semi-government for more than nine years. She also worked for more than 25 clients in several sectors.

She has been a member of the digital media committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry since October 2020, and a member of the arbitration committee at Pioneer Marketing Award since November 2019.

She was an invited speaker on the Misk Media Forum in 2019 as well as the Second Summit on Women’s Enablement in the Technology Sector.

Al-Showaier was chosen for the Women Leaders 2030 program and graduated from the Leading for Results Programme offered by INSEAD Executive Education.

She received her bachelor’s degree in economics from King Saud University in Riyadh in 2010 and holds a diploma in digital marketing from the DM3 Institute.


Organic waste offers Saudi Arabia a plentiful and sustainable resource

Clockwise from left: Sanitation workers collect litter during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah; piles of plastic bottles before they are recycled; circular fields, part of the green oasis of Wadi Al-Dawasir. (AFP/File Photos)
Clockwise from left: Sanitation workers collect litter during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah; piles of plastic bottles before they are recycled; circular fields, part of the green oasis of Wadi Al-Dawasir. (AFP/File Photos)
Updated 39 min 38 sec ago

Organic waste offers Saudi Arabia a plentiful and sustainable resource

Clockwise from left: Sanitation workers collect litter during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah; piles of plastic bottles before they are recycled; circular fields, part of the green oasis of Wadi Al-Dawasir. (AFP/File Photos)
  • Most of the 15 million tons of garbage generated every year ends up in giant landfills
  • With recycling incentives, discarded plastics could be reused in housing, roads and even artwork

RIYADH: Once upon a time, mankind produced a small amount of waste. Food was not packaged, fruit and vegetable peelings were fed to animals and the dung from horses and camels was used for fertilizer or dried and burned for heating. Most of what came from the earth went directly back into the earth with little or no harm to the environment.

Today, we live in a consumer age in which multitudes of products are purchased and the ensuing trash disposed of with little or no regard for its detrimental impact. Many single-use goods are manufactured and distributed at considerable expense, only to be momentarily used and then thrown away forever.

Saudi Arabia produces no less than 15 million tons of garbage per year — most of which ends up in giant landfills, full of dangerous toxins that seep deep into the ground.

Fortunately, there are now signs of a sea change, both in the Kingdom and around the world. An emerging concept known as “the circular economy” holds that any form of solid waste can be the raw material for a new and more valuable resource.

This is a contemporary answer to alchemy — the medieval quest to turn base matter into gold.

The circular economy involves both upcycling (the process of transforming waste materials into products of greater value) and downcycling (whereby discarded material is used to create something of lower quality and functionality).

Plastic is an obvious starting point. Heralded as a miracle substance almost a century ago, it became ubiquitous in our groceries, clothing, cars and electronic devices.

That initial enthusiasm for plastic has gradually led to a sober realization that it takes up to 500 years to decompose — presenting an environmental calamity that we witness daily on streets littered with plastic bags, cups, bottles and straws.

But did you know that some 50 percent of the plastic waste in Saudi Arabia is collected for recycling?

Plastic bottles before they are recycled. (AFP/File Photo)

Once cleaned and processed, this used plastic can be transformed into pellets, which in turn are melted down to form anything from household tiles to benches to roadside curbs. Japan is the leader in this respect, now recycling almost 90 percent of its plastic waste.

In fact, it is normal in Japan for households to have over half a dozen different containers for various kinds of trash, to ease sorting for recycling purposes.

India’s Kerala Highway Research Institute has developed a recycled, plastic-derived road-surfacing material that is more durable than conventional tarmac and able to withstand the heavy monsoon rains.

Household waste can also produce the energy needed to heat homes and charge electric cars of the future.

As organic matter (that is, anything from apple cores to onion skins) decomposes, it produces methane gas — a source of energy. Other solid waste — for example, cardboard and wood — can be incinerated, again to provide energy.

These processes are collectively known as “waste-to-energy” (WtE). Methods also exist for the filtration of the resulting fumes, reducing carbon output from WtE to almost zero.

A sanitation worker collects litter during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah on August 22, 2018. (AFP/File Photo)

A 2017 study by King Saud University’s Department of Engineering Sciences concluded that Jeddah alone has the potential to produce 180 megawatts (MW) of electricity from garbage incineration and another 87.3 MW from garbage-sourced synthetic gas (syngas).

Another study by Dr. Abdul-Sattar Nizami, assistant professor at the Centre of Excellence in Environmental Studies at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz University, estimates that 3 terawatt-hours per year could be generated if all of Saudi Arabia’s food waste was utilized in syngas plants.

Sewage is another valuable resource, in two ways. First, just like household waste, sewage produces methane, which can be harnessed to produce energy. Second, sewage water can be treated and reused for irrigation and industrial purposes.

The potential gasification of solid waste and sewage is especially pertinent to Saudi Arabia, which derives a large proportion of its freshwater from desalinated seawater, every drop of which is precious.

RECYLING IN SAUDI ARABIA

* 15m - Tonnes of garbage produced by KSA per year.

* 50% - Plastic waste collected for recycling.

* 3TW-hours - Energy potential from food waste per year.

The Saudi government has already realized this and is taking proactive steps to generate at least half of its energy requirements from renewables by 2030. “Waste to energy” will no doubt play a role in this new paradigm.

In the city of Marselisborg in Denmark, sewage-derived methane now generates over 150 percent of the electricity needed to run its water-treatment plant. The surplus power is used to pump drinking water to homes and offices.

Much of Saudi Arabia’s sewage is filtered and repurposed, presenting an opportunity to produce cheap and abundant energy.

A similar philosophy can be applied to land use. Areas currently dismissed as wasteland can be reimagined as beautiful public spaces.

A partial view of the Sharaan Nature Reserve near AlUla in northwestern Saudi Arabia. (AFP/File Photo)

King Salman is a pioneer in this regard. Up until his tenure as governor of Riyadh Province, Wadi Hanifah, the dry riverbed that winds down the western edge of Riyadh, was an unsightly dumping ground for garbage and industrial effluent.

Working with an international team of landscapers, botanists and water-management experts, King Salman transformed the wadi into the exquisite meandering parkland it is today, with its thousands of trees, lush wetlands and charming picnic spots.

Another example of wasteland regeneration is the Highline of Manhattan — an elevated rail track that was abandoned after the Port of New York was largely shut down in the 1960s.

Instead of being demolished at great trouble and expense, this rusty eyesore was turned into a lovely green walkway through the concrete jungle and is today a major tourist attraction.

And just as wastelands can be repurposed to create attractive new spaces, many artists are using discarded materials to create stunning sculptures, while making powerful statements about our abuse of the planet.

The Milan-based artist Maria Cristina Finucci used two tons of plastic bottle caps and thousands of red-net food bags, placed inside recycled plastic containers, to spell out the word “HELP.”

One critic described this work as “a cry from humanity ... to curb the environmental disaster of the pollution of the seas.”

A McDonald’s table covered with trash. (Supplied)

In a similar vein, two Singaporean artists, Von Wong and Joshua Goh, created a work called “Plastikophobia” — an immersive art installation made from 18,000 discarded plastic cups, to raise awareness about single-use plastic pollution.

After decades of short-termism and willful denial of environmental destruction, all-encompassing smart waste-management policies are still in their infancy. The know-how and technology exist. They just need to be put into practice.

The Kingdom is already striking out in the right direction. Its Saudi Green Initiative, launched in March, calls for regional cooperation to tackle environmental challenges, boost the use of renewables and eliminate more than 130 million tons of carbon emissions.

The Middle East Green Initiative likewise sets out to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent across the region.

There are also plans to plant 10 billion trees in the Kingdom and restore 40 million hectares of degraded land, while across the wider region there are plans for 50 billion trees and the restoration of 200 million hectares of degraded land.

Much will depend upon enlightenment and imagination at a societal and individual level. Do we continue to regard our world as a supposedly infinite source of material for our consumption and as a dumping ground for the resulting junk, or do we aim for a cleaner, more sustainable circular economy?

Young people, in particular, are increasingly concerned for the future of their planet and are highly motivated to protect it. This awakening is already beginning to translate into government policy, in Saudi Arabia and around the world. 


Saudi, Egyptian, Kuwaiti foreign ministers call for immediate ceasefire in Palestinian territories

Saudi, Egyptian, Kuwaiti foreign ministers call for immediate ceasefire in Palestinian territories
Updated 15 May 2021

Saudi, Egyptian, Kuwaiti foreign ministers call for immediate ceasefire in Palestinian territories

Saudi, Egyptian, Kuwaiti foreign ministers call for immediate ceasefire in Palestinian territories
  • Prince Faisal and Sameh Shoukry discussed developments in the Palestinian territories
  • They renewed their demand for the international community to confront aggressive Israeli practices

RIYADH: The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Egypt called for an immediate ceasefire in Palestinian territories on Saturday.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Sameh Shoukry discussed developments in the Palestinian territories as part of continuous coordination between the Kingdom and Egypt.

They renewed their demand for the international community to confront aggressive Israeli practices against the Palestinian people.

The foreign ministers highlighted the importance of working to resume peace efforts in a manner that guarantees all legitimate Palestinian rights.

Prince Faisal also received a telephone call from his Kuwait counterpart during which the two officials discussed the escalation in violence in the region.

Prince Faisal and Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah discussed the Palestinian cause, developments in the region and bilateral relations.


Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 15 May 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 416,759
  • A total of 7,147 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 13 deaths from COVID-19 and 837 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 290 were recorded in Riyadh, 240 in Makkah, 97 in the the Eastern Province, 59 in Asir, 55 in Madinah, 28 in Jazan, 15 in Najran, 10 in Hail, eight in Al-Baha, five in Al-Jouf, and one in Tabuk.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 416,759 after 1,012 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,147 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 11.3 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.