Souq Okaz visitors are introduced to Saudi wildlife

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Camel riders stage a spectacular performance at the Souk Okaz Festival in Taif. SPA
Updated 02 July 2018

Souq Okaz visitors are introduced to Saudi wildlife

  • The number of ostriches has grown inside reserves, owing to the improved environmental and climatic conditions as well as the management of wild ostrich groups
  • The Arabian leopard, the most common wildcat species still spread in mountainous areas, was also featured alongside several endangered Accipitriformes

JEDDAH: The Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) has offered visitors to the 12th Souq Okaz festival the opportunity to be introduced to the Kingdom’s diverse wildlife and the resettlement of endangered species in reserves.
SWA has turned an area of the festival’s grounds into a mini-reserve for the Arabian oryx, which can survive the driest climates and most arid regions in the Arabian peninsula, explaining how it can be saved from extinction using the captive-reproduction method before resettling the species in its natural habitat.
The Arabian oryx featured at Souq Okaz can adapt well to hot climates found in deserts, semi-deserts, dry-grass plains and meadows, and areas of rocky slopes.
The white, wide-eyed animal is considered a bovid and a desert antelope.
In the mini-reserve, there is also an ostrich. The number of ostriches has grown inside reserves, owing to the improved environmental and climatic conditions as well as the management of wild ostrich groups.
Through photos and documentary films, SWA has also introduced the festival’s visitors to other animal species it seeks to save, including the houbara bustard, which lives in open arid areas. Overhunting causes the species’ declining number and the worsening of its natural habitat is due to overgrazing and agricultural development.
The Arabian leopard, the most common wildcat species still spread in mountainous areas, was also featured alongside several endangered Accipitriformes.
SWA has provided its corner’s visitors with information on the first studies conducted in several reserves through monitoring vegetation, which has grown steadily, encouraging SWA to move forward with its resettlement program, in addition to providing information on protecting animals inside reserves by surrounding them with fences to monitor their adaptation before releasing them into the wild.
SWA’s participation in this year’s Souq Okaz festival is in line with the recently issued royal order to establish a council of royal reserves as part of King Salman’s keenness to preserve the natural environment, vegetation, and wildlife, to promote ecotourism, limit hunting and overgrazing, to prevent forest erosion, and to ensure the enjoyment of natural reserves based on the regulations governing them.


G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

Updated 23 February 2020

G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

  • G20 will continue to take joint action to strengthen international co-operation and frameworks
  • Finance ministers agree measures to tackle global problems, coronavirus

RIYADH: The meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors ended in Saudi Arabia with a determination to tackle pressing global concerns such as geopolitical and trade confrontations, as well as the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak.
The official communique — hammered out among the G20 policy-makers gathered in Riyadh over two days of discussions — said that global economic growth was expected to pick up “modestly” this year and next, on signs of improving financial conditions and some signs of easing trade tensions.
“However, global economic growth remains slow, and downside risks to the outlook persist, inching those arising from geopolitical and remaining trade tensions, and policy uncertainty. We will enhance global risk monitoring, including the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We stand ready to take further action to address those risks,” the communique said.

On so-called “trade wars” between the US and China — which was not represented at the Riyadh meeting because of the outbreak — the communiqué said: “We will continue to take joint action to strengthen international co-operation and frameworks, and also reaffirm our commitments on exchange rates.”
There was general agreement by the ministers on measures on infrastructure investment, technology development, and plans to boost domestic capital markets across the world, especially in emerging and developing countries.
But a note of caution was also sounded in several areas.The G20 finance ministers said that “we are facing a global landscape that is being rapidly transformed by economic, social, environmental, technological and demographic changes.”
Apart from that mention of the environment, there was little attention given to the contentious issue of climate change. Towards the end of the communique, the ministers and governors said: “The financial stability board (of the G20) is examining the financial stability implications of climate change.”
The finance ministers’ gathering is the first formal event in preparation for the summit of world leaders that will take place in Saudi Arabia in November, with the three key aims of empowering people, safeguarding the planet and shaping new frontiers in technology and innovation.
The international taxation system was an area of focus at the finance ministers meeting, with some countries threatening a controversial digital tax. The communique said that “we continue to support tax capacity building in developing countries,” and called on all countries to sign multilateral agreements on tax matters. “We remain committed to the full, timely and consistent implementation of the agreed financial reforms,” it added.
Other big themes of the financial G20 meeting included inclusion of youth and women in the financial process. “We support the emphasis on digital financial inclusion of under-served groups, especially youth, women and small businesses,” the communique said.
There was also strong support for the work of the global Financial Action Task Force in combating money laundering and terrorism finance. “We reiterate our strong commitment to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of these threats,” the G20 ministers said, also backing measures to tackle the financing of nuclear proliferation. “We ask the FATF to remain vigilant with respect to emerging financial technologies that may allow for new methods of illicit financing,” it added.