UN officials following Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives ‘with great interest’

UN officials following Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives ‘with great interest’
Saudi Arabia's Green Initiative includes planting 10 billion trees in the Kingdom. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 31 March 2021

UN officials following Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives ‘with great interest’

UN officials following Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives ‘with great interest’
  • Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives aim to reduce carbon emissions in the region by 60 percent
  • UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said they look forward to hearing more about the projects

NEW YORK: The UN is following “with great interest” the Kingdom’s Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives, which call for regional cooperation to tackle the environmental challenges facing Saudi Arabia and the wider region.

Unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday, the initiatives include a number of ambitious projects designed to reduce carbon emissions in the region by 60 percent. This will be achieved mainly through the use of clean hydrocarbon technologies and the planting of 50 billion trees, including 10 billion in the Kingdom. Claimed to be the world’s largest afforestation project, it will also help to revive millions of hectares of deteriorated land.

In addition, the initiatives aim to preserve marine and coastal environments, increase the proportion of natural reserves and protected land, improve the regulation of oil production, accelerate the transition to clean energy and boost the amount of energy generated by renewables.

The Saudi initiatives stress the importance of partnerships between neighboring countries in efforts to address environmental challenges and improve the quality of life for people in the region.

“We’re following with great interest the efforts made by countries like Saudi Arabia to step up their climate ambitions,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“We very much look forward to hearing more from the Kingdom and other G20 members on April 22 at the meeting being organized by the US, and which will be the next milestone.”

This meeting is a Leaders’ Climate Summit that will take place on Earth Day, which is also the fifth anniversary of the day the Paris Agreement on climate change was opened for signature.

The UN believes 2021 is shaping up to be a pivotal, make-or-break year in the climate crisis. In a recent interview with Arab News, Marcel Alers, the head of energy at the UN Development Program (UNDP), said that the UN Climate Change Conference in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November might be the last chance for the political will to tackle the issue to emerge convincingly and translate into real action.

He highlighted Saudi Arabia as a country that is already taking the lead on climate change. As a nation that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming because of its hot climate, the Kingdom finds itself caught in a vicious circle, Alers said: as climate change raises temperatures, there is a greater demand for electricity to power air conditioning systems, which requires more fossil fuel to be burned, which increases carbon emissions and speeds up global warming.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia are looking to the future, Alers said, and repositioning the country as a pioneer in the adoption of new technologies.

“The Saudis could be the leaders for the energy revolution of tomorrow,” he added.

As he launched the green initiatives on Saturday, Prince Mohammed said: “As a leading global oil producer, we are fully aware of our responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis, and that just as we played a leading role in stabilizing energy markets during the oil and gas era, we will work to lead the coming green era.”

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All the registrations and certificates you need to visit Saudi Arabia

Saudi nationals scan their documents at a digital-Immigration gate at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 16, 2021. (REUTERS)
Saudi nationals scan their documents at a digital-Immigration gate at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 16, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 sec ago

All the registrations and certificates you need to visit Saudi Arabia

Saudi nationals scan their documents at a digital-Immigration gate at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 16, 2021. (REUTERS)
  • Visitors face queues and quarantine for failing to match Saudi requirements

RIYADH: There are certain travel requirements that Saudis, expats and tourists need for entering Saudi Arabia.

The main requirement is a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) negative test certificate, issued from a verified laboratory no more than 72 hours before departure to the Kingdom.

Travelers will also need vaccination certificates from Tawakkalna, and registration on the Muqeem and Quddum platforms.

Upon arrival, all travelers will have their temperature checked and they should be registered as immune from COVID-19.

FASTFACT

Quddum allows visitors to register and update their COVID-19-related health data at least 72 hours before arrival.

Immunity for non-Saudi citizens and non-residents as a fully vaccinated person over 12 with a booster dose from vaccines certified by the Kingdom and the World Health Organization, such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna, or one dose of Johnson and Johnson’s inoculation.

An airport official checking temperature of a passenger at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.

All guests have to submit proof of their vaccination via the Quddum platform, which has been launched to facilitate entry procedures.

Quddum allows visitors to register and update their COVID-19-related health data at least 72 hours before arrival.

Immunity for Saudi citizens is defined by their status on the Tawakkalna App, whereas for expats it requires full vaccination, provided that any doses received outside the Kingdom are registered via the Ministry of Health Platform through https://eservices.moh.gov.sa/CoronaVaccineRegistration

Speaking to Arab News about his travel experience, Jennesse John, who works at the King Saud University, said: “I have returned from Kerala, India to Saudi Arabia along with my family recently. It went very smoothly since we had two doses of the vaccine in Saudi Arabia before we traveled on vacation.”

He added: “All we did was follow Saudi Arabia’s travel regulations closely.”

Hanouf Albalawi, in Riyadh, told Arab News: “My colleague made a mistake, and it was that she did not register in Muqeem before visiting the Kingdom. She said she didn’t know she had to.

“When she arrived in Saudi Arabia, she had to create a new Tawakkalna, and she only had one week to stay, so the issue she faced was that her status in the Tawakkalna app did not change for her entire stay, which was five days.

“She couldn’t visit any of the places she had in mind. We contacted Tawakkalna customer service to ask if there is anything we can do to make this process faster, but unfortunately, there was no other way.”

Faiz Al-Najdi, an engineer in Riyadh, told Arab News: “I recently returned from vacation with my wife from my home city Karachi, Pakistan. At Riyadh, airport departure processes went smoothly. I had to show them copies of PCR, vaccination details, copies of Tawakkalna and Sehaty. However, upon arrival in Karachi it was a mess.

“They demanded to see the vaccination details online on Tawakkalna, but it was not working; we failed to open it. Many people like us suffered because of this issue. I had a long argument with them as to why they were demanding to see it online when I was showing them the photocopies of the vaccination details from Tawakkalna. I told them we had traveled from Riyadh, where authorities had checked and allowed us to travel, then they were satisfied. This left them with no answer but let us proceed,” he said.

“Upon arrival at Riyadh airport, things were ok. The official at the immigration desk was polite. She checked the PCR and Tawakkalna papers. I had those ready with me, and she stamped our passports and let us go,” he added.

Ayman Hassan, an Egyptian expat working in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Many of my friends and colleagues recently returned from Egypt. The procedures at the airport, they said, went very smoothly. They didn’t take too much time since they had already taken the two vaccine doses in Saudi Arabia before traveling on their vacations. All they had to do was to carefully follow travel guidelines: Negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report, vaccination certificates from Tawakkalna, and Muqeem registration.”

 


Thai prime minister visits Saudi Arabia’s historic Al-Turaif neighborhood

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visits the historic Al-Turaif neighborhood. (SPA)
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visits the historic Al-Turaif neighborhood. (SPA)
Updated 4 min 55 sec ago

Thai prime minister visits Saudi Arabia’s historic Al-Turaif neighborhood

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visits the historic Al-Turaif neighborhood. (SPA)
  • He met separately with minister of human resources and social development and chairman of ACWA Power

RIYADH: Thailand’s Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Prayut Chan-o-cha visited the historic Al-Turaif neighborhood on Tuesday, during his official visit to Saudi Arabia. 
He was received by Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb, and the CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority Jerry Inzerillo, state-run SPA news agency reported.
He toured the neighborhood, accompanied by Minister of Commerce and Acting Minister of Information Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, and was briefed on Salwa Palace, the Diriyah Museum, the Horse Museum, and the historical models contained in the visitor center. He also watched a presentation of the history of the Saudi state.
The historic Al-Turaif neighborhood is the nucleus of the Kingdom’s founding and its landmarks and urban heritage represent the emergence of the first Saudi state.
Meanwhile, the premier met separately with Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi and Chairman of ACWA Power Mohammed Abunayyan.
During the meetings, they discussed ways to “enhance relations between the two countries, and the best mechanisms to support and push them to broader horizons,” SPA reported.


Saudi-Egyptian naval training begins 

Saudi-Egyptian naval training begins 
Updated 25 January 2022

Saudi-Egyptian naval training begins 

Saudi-Egyptian naval training begins 
  • The Morgan-17 exercises aim to enhance joint cooperation between the navies of both countries
  • The ongoing Tabul-5 exercises in the Kingdom involve Saudi and Egyptian special forces, infantry, armored vehicles and various specialized weapons

CAIRO: Joint training between the Saudi and Egyptian navies has begun and will last for several days.

The Morgan-17 exercises include “many theoretical lectures and training conferences, as well as implementing many practical activities, including the implementation of several tactical shootings by the naval special forces of both sides with various small arms, as well as the implementation of surface-to-surface artillery firing on a target, carrying out surface-to-air shooting at an air target, and executing sailing formations,” said Egyptian Army spokesman Ghareeb Abdel Hafez.

Morgan-17 “aims to enhance joint cooperation between the navies of both countries, unify the operational concepts between the two sides in the methods of carrying out naval tasks against various threats, and train crews of naval units on the tasks of various naval wars and special forces tasks, which contributes to raising the combat efficiency of the navies of both countries,” he added.

The ongoing Tabuk-5 exercises in the Kingdom involve Saudi and Egyptian special forces, infantry, armored vehicles and various specialized weapons.


Saudi Arabia reports 4,541 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 4,541 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
Updated 25 January 2022

Saudi Arabia reports 4,541 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 4,541 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 611,342
  • A total of 8,924 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 4,541 new infections on Tuesday.

Of the new cases, 1,523 were recorded in Riyadh, 603 in Jeddah, 175 in Madinah, 149 in Hofuf, 148 in Dammam, and 101 in Makkah. Several other cities recorded less than one hundred new cases each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 611,342 after 5,212 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,924 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 55.7 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi cabinet of ministers meets in person for first time in two years

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman chairs a weekly Council of Ministers meeting in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman chairs a weekly Council of Ministers meeting in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 25 January 2022

Saudi cabinet of ministers meets in person for first time in two years

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman chairs a weekly Council of Ministers meeting in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The Cabinet reiterated its condemnation of Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE
  • It also discussed the outcomes of the South Korean president's recent visit to the Kingdom

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday chaired a Cabinet meeting at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.
The Council of Ministers was briefed on the written message that the king received from South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit regarding bilateral relations and ways to support and develop them at all levels.
It reviewed the outcomes of meetings and talks that the Kingdom held with a number of countries. 
These meetings were aimed at supporting ties, and bilateral and multilateral cooperation in a way that would take relations to new horizons, enhance joint coordination toward international issues, and contribute to the consolidation of security, stability, prosperity, and development in the region and the world.
The council discussed the results of the visit by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Saudi Arabia and the talks he had with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during which the two sides reviewed and discussed bilateral relations, ways to support and enhance them. They also discussed regional and international developments and the efforts made in this regard. The council was also briefed on the various field agreements that were reached during the visit.


Acting Media Minister Majed Al-Qasabi told the official Saudi Press Agency that the council discussed developments in various arenas and reiterated the Kingdom’s rejection and condemnation of the attacks launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia on civilians and vital installations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as its attacks on international navigation routes in the Red Sea aimed at destabilizing the region’s security and stability.
The minister added that the council stressed the urgent need for international action, especially by the UN Security Council, to put an end to this aggressive behavior in a manner that preserved international peace and security.
He said the Cabinet touched on what representatives from Western and Gulf Arab countries had concluded after their meeting in Riyadh where they discussed joint efforts to support the stability and prosperity of Sudan.
The Council of Ministers approved draft agreements with Pakistan on prisoner transfer, combating crime, and a memorandum of understanding on combating drug trafficking. It also authorized the minister of interior, or his representative, to negotiate with other countries regarding cooperation against similar crimes.
It commissioned the tourism minister to discuss with Jamaica a draft memorandum of understanding in the field of tourism. 


A cooperation agreement between the Saudi Ministry of Tourism and the World Tourism Organization to develop human capabilities through e-learning was also approved.
The council also approved an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for cooperation in the field of direct investment promotion, and a draft declaration of intent between the Saudi Ministry of Finance and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. It authorized the Kingdom’s minister of finance, or his representative, to negotiate with the British side in this regard.
The council authorized the chairman of the board of directors at the Saudi Food and Drug Authority to discuss a draft memorandum of cooperation between the Kingdom and Malaysia in the field of mutual recognition of halal certificates for local products.
It approved employee appointments and promotions in several ministries and state agencies.
The in-person appearance of the king at the meeting reflects how Saudi Arabia is returning to normal life despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It also coincides with the return of millions of students to schools.