Saudi Forum: UN must assist Arab sustainability projects

An aerial view of Abha city, one out of the 13 major cities in each region in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 July 2019

Saudi Forum: UN must assist Arab sustainability projects

  • SDGs not possible to achieve without the ownership and engagement of civil society, says Faisal Al-Fadl

JEDDAH: The founder of the Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF), Faisal Al-Fadl, has delivered a statement to the UN arguing that Arab countries are at risk of failing to meet their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Al-Fadl said that “UN agencies in the Middle East are not up to speed with civil society movements supported by Arab countries according to their internal reports as far as awareness and applications of SDGs are concerned.” 

The address was delivered at an important meeting of the Economic and Social Council of the UN  (ECOSOC) in New York. SGBF is one of the few established Saudi Arabian NGOs in consultative status with the UN.

Al-Fadl told Arab News: “The UN’s agencies in the Arab world must keep up with repeated changes in cooperating with civil society organizations. Arab governments have shown an increase in cooperative assignments with civil society, especially since 2014. This growth of collaboration has been especially clear since 2015, when the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were approved and endorsed by 193 countries, including Saudi Arabia.




Faisal Al-Fadl

“This is counterproductive practice from the UN’s international agencies. Since the SGBF is an NGO joining major groups and other stakeholders, we advised the global community that there should be major restructuring of how UN agencies do business in the Arab World according to the purpose of advancement and achieving SDGs, if we ought to succeed in the 2030 agenda.”

Al-Fadl said that it was not possible for the SDGs to be achieved without the ownership and engagement of civil society.

“Our governments in the Arab region have been doing a great job of adopting the principles, yet we are asking for more, and time is running out, so everything will be possible. It is so important that both the public and private sectors engage in the process of redirecting, utilizing and improving their building capacity and knowledge to move forward.”

Al-Fadl said that he was grateful to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for all their support and allowing the position of a Saudi nongovernmental establishment to exist.

FASTFACT

The 13 major cities in each region in Saudi Arabia: Makkah, Madinah, Tabuk, Buraydah, Najran, Arar, Jazan, Al-Baha, Abha, Riyadh, Dammam, Sakaka and Hail.

“Without the encouragement of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the support of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, being here at the UN and delivering this statement would not be possible.”

 The SGBF was first initiated in 2010 and established in 2014. In 2017, the foundation became the first professional association body from Saudi Arabia in consultative status with the UN.

 “It was only in 2017 that ECOSOC recognized SGBF and this says a great deal about how the vision is executed by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has been supporting everyone, everything and everywhere for Saudi civil society to join a global movement supporting the SDGs.” 

In his statement, Al-Fadl mentioned the importance of humanitarian, environmental, and economic needs to take advantage of the performance index by recording and documenting buildings, neighborhoods and cities. 

“Green sustainable development is achieved through strategic and applied policies to improve the ‘quality of life’ of visitors, residents, and citizens concerning the 13 major cities in each region in Saudi Arabia. The public will develop professional businesses and investment in the region for the safety and health of the environment.”


Saudi investment chiefs host students from one of world’s top business schools

Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi investment chiefs host students from one of world’s top business schools

  • The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) hosted business major students from Harvard Business School (HBS) for a conference held at the capital’s King Abdullah Financial District

Riyadh: Saudi mega projects and regional and global investment opportunities were outlined to students from one of the world’s top business schools at a seminar in Riyadh.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) hosted business major students from Harvard Business School (HBS) for a conference held at the capital’s King Abdullah Financial District.

As well as being introduced to the PIF, the visitors were briefed about ongoing mega projects, along with potential future investment plans both locally and throughout the world.

During their Saudi trip, some of the students took the chance to see for themselves evidence of the reforms taking place in the Kingdom by visiting Riyadh, Jeddah, and AlUla and exploring the Red Sea coast by car.

The PIF hosted the students as part of its aim of providing exposure to the broadest possible portfolio of businesses and careers while striving to be an employer of choice for top talents domestically and globally.

The fund continues to focus its commitment and dedication in providing a learning culture that promotes partnerships and training with world-class learning institutions, by actively incentivizing professional development and certifications.

HBS is an example of PIF efforts to build relationships with highly recognized learning organizations, and links in with its prestigious graduate development program to attract and develop top Saudi talent.

The study/work development program is delivered in partnership with some of the world’s top educational institutions, offering only 80 seats per application cycle. In 2019, only a fraction of the 12,000 applicants were accepted, and the PIF has attracted several Saudi HBS graduates as part of its human capital.

It is hoped that the visit to Saudi Arabia will encourage some of the HBS students to carry out their own research on the Kingdom to benefit sectors and resources such as the geology of Saudi deserts, Red Sea oceanography, and the sociology of its citizens.

By getting a close-up insight into the Kingdom it is also envisaged that students will return to the country as tourists, investors or for employment.