Science, arts key to bringing nations together: Saudi culture minister

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud addressing the 40th UNESCO General Conference in Paris on Nov. 14, 2019. (SPA)
Updated 16 November 2019

Science, arts key to bringing nations together: Saudi culture minister

  • Building bridges of understanding helps create a more solid world, Prince Badr bin Abdullah tells UN conference

RIYADH: Science, culture, and arts are key pillars to promoting dialogue and communication among nations, Saudi Arabia’s culture minister told a UN meeting on Friday.

Addressing the 40th UNESCO General Conference, in Paris, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud said the success and prosperity of future generations relied on the strength of cultural links between countries.

Heading the Kingdom’s delegation in France, the prince told the gathering that under the guidance of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman his country regarded culture in general as one of the most important foundations of human development.

He pointed out that building bridges of understanding between societies helped to create a more solid world where people of different cultures became interdependent, and he noted the Kingdom’s push for joint action within UNESCO.

“Culture and arts in the Kingdom are among the pillars of the National Transformational Program of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and its objective to building a vibrant society, prosperous economy, and ambitious nation,” added Prince Badr.

The minister told delegates that through Vision 2030 the Kingdom was heading “with confident steps” toward a better future and that the reform plan’s effects had “started to positively impact several sectors including education, culture, and arts.”

He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s determination to continue promoting joint action at UNESCO to achieve the goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which were in line with the Kingdom’s own objectives.

“As part of its responsible position as a founding state, the Kingdom had made a big contribution to the UNESCO 1984 budget, and had allocated $25 million (SR93.7 million) to fund UNESCO’s strategic heritage programs and its actions related to protecting heritage through the signing of the letter of intent last July.”

In his speech, Prince Badr said the Kingdom believed that educating and rehabilitating young people formed the basis of any process of building, developing, and promoting culture in societies, coupled with nurturing them with human values.




Prince Badr bin Abdullah said that through Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia was taking confident steps. (SPA)

“This we emphasize on in our work, through a more developed system that is open to different cultures; for this contributes to strengthening social ties and opens wide the doors for peace among nations.

“In Saudi Arabia, we have sought to achieve this, in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals, as part of our strong belief in the importance of partnerships between the nonprofit sector with other sectors, which we consider as a key partner in development,” he added.

The establishment of the National Center for the Development of the Nonprofit Sector aimed to activate and expand the role of culture-sector organizations, particularly in developmental fields, the minister said.

He noted the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s comprehensive plan to boost societal contribution in developing culture and heritage “in order to open the opportunity for the whole world to have an in-depth outlook onto the treasures of humanity’s civilizations and its secrets that have formed societies, and have contributed in this cultural richness that we are proud of, in our country and worldwide.”

Prince Badr stressed the importance of youth and its huge potential in helping to translate the aspirations and hopes of societies and said the Kingdom had launched numerous initiatives to support their creativity and involvement in constructing their country’s future.

Saudi Arabia was keen to back the plans and activities of UNESCO’s Executive Strategy for Youth 2014-2021, he added, noting that artificial intelligence was at the core of future development.

In March 2020, the Kingdom will host the Global Artificial Intelligence Summit, which the prince said was “an annual global forum for exchanging expertise between various local and international actors and companies in the field of data and artificial intelligence, for the benefit of all mankind.”

Prince Badr concluded by encouraging member states to transform their visions into reality. “We are getting prepared, and we intend to elaborate the objectives of this organization for everybody’s benefit, and cooperate hand in hand for a better world.”


Saudi labor minister urges Kingdom to increase economic role of charity sector

Updated 24 January 2020

Saudi labor minister urges Kingdom to increase economic role of charity sector

  • Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi said: “Our effort is to increase the share of the non-profit sector in GDP”

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia needed to increase the contribution of the non-profit sector to the Kingdom’s economic and social development, the country’s labor minister told business conference delegates on Thursday.

Moderating a session on the subject during the final day of the Riyadh Economic Forum (REF), Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi said: “Our effort is to increase the share of the non-profit sector in GDP.”

Describing the non-profit sector as the third pillar of sustainable economic development, the minister pointed out that in developed countries its average contribution toward GDP had reached 6 percent.

Referring to a REF study on the sector, he noted that it was only during the last decade that the Kingdom had come to realize its important role in economic development, social participation, job creation, and promoting the culture of teamwork.

“The non-profit sector contributes to Saudi Arabia’s GDP by one percent and our effort is to increase the share,” Al-Rajhi told the session’s attendees.

Presenting the REF study, Yousef bin Othman Al-Huzeim, secretary-general of Al-Anoud Charitable Foundation, said: “This sector, together with its substantial developmental roles, has become a criterion for the overall progress of nations and a yardstick of their civilization and humanitarian activity rather than a mere indicator of individuals’ income.”

He added that the sector had a key part to play in helping to realize the Saudi Vision 2030 goal of achieving sustainable development through diversification, and that the aim was to raise its level of contribution to the country’s GDP from 1 percent to 5 percent by 2030.

The study stressed the need to transform the sector from a mere initiative into an institutional entity concerned with social investment and integration, in cooperation with the public and private sectors.

Among its key findings, the study highlighted the requirement to increase the awareness of sector employees and supervising agencies about the development needs of society.

A lack of detailed information on the non-profit sector in the Kingdom was also having a negative effect on the extent of its contribution to economic and social development, the study found.

The media too had failed to give enough coverage to the sector and rules and regulations often stood in the way of any expansion in individual and community partnerships through charities and trusts.

Princess Nouf bint Mohammed Al-Saud, CEO of the King Khalid Foundation (KKF), said women were the most important enablers of the non-profit sector.

Currently, the most prominent development was the system of NGOs and philanthropic associations, and the stimulation of the sector to implement good governance, she added.

The princess urged the lifting of restrictions on money transfers to the non-profit sector and tax exemptions on charities and donations.

The KKF had issued a number of regulations to help the non-profit sector, she said, but there was still a need for the creation of more executive programs in order to realize Vision 2030 goals.

Rajaa bin Manahi Al-Marzouqi, a professor of economics at Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies, in Riyadh, said: “If we look at any economy, it consists of three important sectors, which are the government, private, and non-profit sectors. There is a need to develop the non-profit sector in such a way that it sustains in the long run and contributes to socio-economic development.”