JEDDAH: Following the announcement of the Saudi Green Initiative in March, representatives of the Saudi and UK governments took part in a third online discussion of climate-related issues, titled “Communicating on Environmental Issues: What are the Most Effective Channels and Narratives in Saudi Arabia?”
The event, hosted on Wednesday by the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and the British Embassy in Riyadh, was the second of two webinars focusing on the communication of environmental issues, as part of the #TogetherForOurPlanet initiative.
Panelists stressed the need to adopt a holistic approach to engage with audiences on issues relating to climate change in Saudi Arabia. They concluded that with such a diverse population, and a wide range of cultures and languages, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. However, given that more than 50 per cent of the population is between the ages of 25 and 54, this demographic can be the driving force for change, they said. The role of the media was also highlighted.
“The media has a significant and necessary role in terms of developing environmental awareness among individuals and societies,” said Fahad Agran, president of the Saudi Press Agency. “In recent decades, the media’s considerable influence in raising awareness and encouraging a lifestyle that preserves natural resources has emerged. This led to the emergence of ‘the environmental media,’ which aims to highlight environmental issues, shed light on climate change problems and their effects, and raise awareness of their dangers.”
Majdah Mohammed Aburas, founder and chairman of the Saudi Environment Society, spoke about the role of non-governmental organizations and women in raising awareness of climate issues. Pollution does not result from technical and technological progress alone, she pointed out, but from all human activities that do not take into consideration environmental protection requirements.
Noor Nugali, assistant editor-in-chief of Arab News, spoke about the effect Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives will have on future generations.
“As a leading global oil producer, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is furthering its ambitions in combating climate change,” she said, adding that the country is increasingly turning its attention to sustainability as it becomes more conscious of climate change and environmental issues.
The UK’s Deputy Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Richard Oppenheim said: “Climate change is real and affects all of us. We need to build awareness and work together to take action to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change by reducing our carbon emissions, and adapt using the latest technologies.
“The UK is looking forward to hosting the UN’s climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow this November. The recent announcement by the Crown Prince on the Saudi Green Initiative is encouraging. We look forward to working with Saudi Arabia to realize the vision of a greener future.”
COP26, the UN’s 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, will bring together world leaders, delegates, climate experts and negotiators to agree on coordinated action to tackle climate change.