UN lauds Saudi efforts to combat desertification

Ibrahim Thiaw (left), executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, meeting with Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley, during his visit to Saudi Arabia early this month. (Twitter)
Updated 10 November 2019

UN lauds Saudi efforts to combat desertification

  • Thiaw stressed the need to transfer the Kingdom’s successful experiences and achievements to other countries with similar environmental conditions

RIYADH: The executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification commended the advanced and successful efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in the rehabilitation of vegetation in a number of locations.
Ibrahim Thiaw pointed out that the rehabilitation of vegetation in dry land areas faces significant challenges due to climatic and natural conditions.
This came during a meeting with the undersecretary of the ministry, Dr. Osama Fakiha.
The meeting discussed cooperation in combating desertification, land degradation and habitat loss. It also considered preparations for the environment at the G20 meetings, in addition to a visual presentation on the National Center for Plant Cover Development and Combating Desertification.
Thiaw stressed the need to transfer the Kingdom’s successful experiences and achievements to other countries with similar environmental conditions. He hailed the work done in Al-Zulfi and Al-Ghat parks.
Thiaw also met with officials in the water and agriculture sectors. He was briefed on the plans for rural development programs, and the rehabilitation of terraces in the southwestern areas.


Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.