Protection of lives, economy from pandemic blues ‘top KSA priority’

Protection of lives, economy from pandemic blues ‘top KSA priority’
A virtual ‘family photo’ of G20 heads of state was displayed on Friday on the walls of the historic Salwa Palace in Diriyah at a cultural dinner for journalists, guests and envoys. Individual photos of the G20 leaders were joined together with King Salman at the center. The ‘family photo’ is an annual tradition that highlights member states’ commitment to work together via a series of agreements signed by the leaders. The dinner was hosted by the G20 Saudi Secretariat. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 November 2020

Protection of lives, economy from pandemic blues ‘top KSA priority’

Protection of lives, economy from pandemic blues ‘top KSA priority’
  • Saudi Arabia is determined to work with global partners to beat COVID-19, says foreign minister

RIYADH: The protection of lives and the economy from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic tops Saudi Arabia’s priority list, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Friday.

The G20 Summit in Riyadh comes under exceptional circumstances, and the Kingdom has “faced the challenges of the pandemic with determination, and competence,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency as saying.

The Kingdom, Prince Farhan said, seeks to push policy solutions to address the epidemic, “and to work with international partners and organizations to achieve these solutions.”

Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, said joint efforts by the G20 to fight the disease had proved that through collaboration the world could overcome the health crisis.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Joint efforts by the G20 to fight the disease proved that through collaboration the world could overcome the health crisis, said Al-Jubeir.
  • Saudi Arabia has injected $500 million — $200 million of which is for international and regional organizations’ vaccine and drug development.

Speaking at the International Media Center for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Riyadh,  he pointed out that nations had rallied together with a village-like mentality to combat the outbreak.

He noted that the G20 had provided billions of dollars to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19, and added: “The lessons learned from this are that by working together, we can develop a vaccine faster and more effectively. We can develop protocols for how to deal with this pandemic.”

His comments came during a roundtable discussion — attended by UAE Minister of State, Reem Al-Hashimi — on how the G20 had reconnected the world.

Al-Hashimi said the pandemic had shown how much nations depended on each other. “The global challenges are not going to be solved by one nation no matter how strong. And any fragility in one part of the world is going to have a ripple effect everywhere else,” she added.

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Al-Hashimi said the challenge that 2020 has brought was very well-handled by the Kingdom “that was able to bring everybody together in such difficult and extraordinary circumstances.”

Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Saudi minister of commerce and acting media minister,  said due to the pandemic the 2020 summit had become a meeting representing all nations.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, said: “The Kingdom has been proactive and supported global efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine and will be one of the first countries to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Speaking during a session titled “G20 Saudi Leadership: Challenges and Achievements,” Al-Rabeeah said: “Saudi Arabia has injected $500 million — $200 million of which is for international and regional organizations’ vaccine and drug development.”

“The G20 have injected $21 billion with the hope that people will not suffer from the pandemic.”

 


Saudi mayor honors British expat for 27 years of beach cleaning

Updated 04 December 2020

Saudi mayor honors British expat for 27 years of beach cleaning

Saudi mayor honors British expat for 27 years of beach cleaning
  • Expat Neil Walker has been cleaning the beaches in the area for 27 years
  • He has spotted a lot of debris left behind by other bathers

RIYADH: It was a visit to a Saudi beach that prompted a British expat to spend his day off cleaning the area – he continued his efforts for 27 years – now Neil Walker is being rewarded for his efforts.

The Brit had gone to a beach south of Half Moon Bay in Alkhobar when he discovered a vast amount of debris that was both washed up by the sea, or left behind by other visitors and decided to clean the area.

Now, after more than a quarter of a century, as Walker prepares to return home to Britain, he has been rewarded for his environmental work by the mayor of the Easter province, Fahd Al-Jubair.

Neil Walker — who  is returning to the UK after more than a quarter-century in Saudi Arabia — ‘is deeply humbled to be recognized for his cleanup drive’. (Supplied)

“For the last 27 years I have been visiting a stretch of beach in that area on my day off to spend the day on a potentially lovely beach looking out on the glorious Arabian Gulf,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it was marred by litter and manmade rubbish, either brought in by the tides or dumped by previous visitors. So I took it upon myself to clean the beach before settling down and then in the late afternoon to extend my cleaning activities to either side of my camping spot.”

The diverse ecosystem of the Arabian Gulf supports a range of coastal and marine life, including mangroves, sea grass, coral reefs – as well as a variety of creatures including dolphins, turtles and a rich variety of fish.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Eastern Province Mayor Fahd Al-Jubair presented Neil Walker with his certificate.
  • The mayor thanked Walker for his service to the Kingdom’s environment.
  • Walker is returning to the UK after more than a quarter-century in Saudi Arabia.
  • Eastern Province municipality has previously recognized the efforts of 200 Filipinos over the years for helping to clean the beaches and to promote awareness among other residents.
  • It has launched a number of initiatives intended to involve the public in keeping public areas free of waste.

The rapid industrialization of the area has introduced many environmental challenges that require human intervention, the fishing industry has also caused problems with discarded nets and traps that wild life get trapped in..

There have been numerous global campaigns encouraging people to pick up litter on beaches to help preserve the environment, ranging from arranged group clean ups to something as simple as encouraging each visitor to beaches to pick up three pieces of rubbish and place them in the bins provided.

Neil Walker has inspired creative environmental initiatives in Alkhobar. (Supplied)

“Although I have seen a slight improvement, a lot still needs to be done and hopefully the publicity I have received will be of value to this end,” Walker said.

“As I see it, the problem is that the majority of the public are unaware and are used to having other people cleaning up for them, they automatically think that it is somebody else’s responsibility. This needs to change,” Walker said, adding that he was deeply humbled and honored to be recognized for his limited contribution in cleaning up the beaches.

“A few years ago, I assume there was a change in management in the municipality, resulting in a new logo and cleaning crew, which has led to a greatly improved street cleaning and public area routine and the introduction of many waste bins, which are now being used by the public,” he continued.

Neil Walker has inspired creative environmental initiatives in Alkhobar. (Supplied)

Eastern Province Mayor Fahd Al-Jubair presented Walker — who is returning to the UK after more than a quarter-century in Saudi Arabia — with his certificate and thanked him for his service to the Kingdom’s environment.

“We hope this message gets across to residents of the Eastern Province. We are keen to honor all efforts to protect the environment and to recognize creative initiatives aimed at preserving the environment whether from Saudi nationals or expatriate residents,” Al-Jubair told Arab News, urging all members of the public to work together to protect the environment.

Eastern Province municipality has previously recognized the efforts of 200 Filipinos over the years for helping to clean the beaches and to promote awareness among other residents.

Like several other municipalities nationwide, it has launched a number of initiatives intended to involve the public in keeping public areas free of waste in order to better preserve the environment.