The environment is about more than just our surroundings; it is an intricate and interconnected system on which the lives of all living beings depend.
That is why it is one of the main pillars of the UN sustainable development goals.
The discourse on climate and environmental sustainability started in 1987, when a group of 22 countries, including Saudi Arabia represented by Dr. Saleh Alathel, drafted “Our Common Future” — a report that introduced the definition of sustainable development.
The 1987 Brundtland Commission Report described sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
It paved the way to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where Saudi Arabia also participated with a large delegation of experts led by former Finance Minister Mohammed Ali Abaalkhail.
The Kingdom continues to remain committed to cooperate with the international community in its efforts to ensure sustainable development and climate protection.
Reiterating the Kingdom’s stance on this issue, King Salman told the Climate Summit on Earth Day on April 22: “The objective is sustainable development and to achieve this, there must be a comprehensive methodology that takes into account the different developmental circumstances that exist in the world.”
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 also lays great emphasis on economic and environmental sustainability. The Kingdom has consolidated its position as a leading country working for environmental solutions with the launch of several initiatives and giga-projects, such as the Saudi and the Middle East Green Initiatives, which will reduce carbon emissions to serve the planet and its inhabitants.
Elsewhere, the Kingdom’s NEOM project is a city that embodies sustainability throughout all of its sectors such as energy generation and waste management.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is a big supporter of ecotourism, recently announced, “The Line,” a city of 1 million residents that preserves 95 percent of the nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions.
The Kingdom has consolidated its position as a leading country working for environmental solutions with the launch of several initiatives and giga-projects.
Abeer S. Al Saud
The Saudi Green Initiative is a collection of huge projects, policies, strategies that aim to make the Kingdom and the rest of the world environmentally sustainable for future generations.
And as a major superpower in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia pioneered a regional initiative as an expansion and part of its Saudi Green Initiative called the Middle East Green Initiative. It is part of the Kingdom’s plans that were introduced to implement massive tree plantation and afforestation projects in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
Another project is the Middle East Riviera on the Red Sea, which aims to be a model in sustainable ecotourism as the main attraction for it is the environment.
The rapid industrialization that began in the 18th century catapulted civilization to new heights, wealth and abundance, which improved the quality of life and wellbeing of developed nations.
However, this massive development came at a cost as it required a heavy consumption of natural resources and led to several environmental issues.
As we transition from the “Information Age” to the “Conceptual Age,” there are many ways to use the skills of the current era in designing initiatives, programs, projects, products and services to preserve people, animal and plant species and our planet.
• Abeer S. Al-Saud is an Op-Ed writer for Arab News exploring development, peace and cultural topics. The views expressed in this piece are personal. Twitter: @_alsaud515