Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea
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Shusha Island is home to more than 300 species of coral and 1,000 species of fish, and the coral garden will provide a unique opportunity for research and development, attracting scientists, researchers and tourism lovers. (Supplied)
A picture shows coral reefs at the Obhor coast, 30 km north of the Red Sea city of Jeddah. (File/AFP)
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A picture shows coral reefs at the Obhor coast, 30 km north of the Red Sea city of Jeddah. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea
  • The Shusha Island Coral Park will become a global center to showcase innovations to protect and restore coral reefs
  • The project will cover 100 hectares on Shusha Island on the shores of the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Officials in Saudi Arabia have announced a joint project to establish the largest coral garden in the world at NEOM, the futuristic mega-city being built in the Kingdom’s northwest.
NEOM and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) said that the project that will cover 100 hectares on Shusha Island on the shores of the Red Sea.
The Shusha Island Coral Park will become a global center to showcase innovations to protect and restore coral reefs and accelerate conservation solutions, helping to reduce the effects of climate change, a statement issued by Saudi Press Agency said.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2025, making NEOM a world leader in restoring and developing coral reefs.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Shusha Island Coral Park will become a global center to showcase innovations to protect and restore coral reefs. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2025, making NEOM a world leader in restoring and developing coral reefs.

• The project will enable NEOM to be a new tourism icon and a futuristic destination with a global character, as Shusha island reflects NEOM’s bold ambition toward developing marine tourism based on innovation to protect and grow marine organisms in the Red Sea.

“We work within an integrated system to preserve the environment and all its components, and we seek to preserve coral reefs, in particular, and marine life, in general. This is one of the environmental goals that we are working to achieve, and our cooperation with KAUST shows the important dimension of these efforts,” NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said.

He added that the agreement with KAUST also aims to advance technologies and joint experiences, work to enhance the scientific community’s understanding of the way coral reefs adapt to climate change, and search for innovative solutions to preserve coral reefs in the Red Sea.
KAUST President Tony Chan said that the university is pioneering research in the Red Sea, and the promising project with NEOM is one of the largest technology transfer deals in the KAUST’s history, using innovations originating from the university.
“We look forward to working alongside NEOM to improve our lives through science and technology,” Chan said.
Shusha Island is home to more than 300 species of coral and 1,000 species of fish, and the coral garden will provide a unique opportunity for research and development, attracting scientists, researchers and tourism lovers who are interested in the environment, he added.
NEOM will use a technique incorporating Maritechture technology — developed by scientists from the Red Sea Research Center and the Coastal and Marine Resources Laboratory at KAUST — on the beach reefs first and then the coral gardens surrounding the island.
The project will enable NEOM to be a new tourism icon and a futuristic destination with a global character, as Shusha island reflects NEOM’s bold ambition toward developing marine tourism based on innovation to protect and grow marine organisms in the Red Sea.
In February, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a luxury Red Sea resort project called the “Coral Bloom” development, which has been designed by world-renowned British architectural firm Foster + Partners.
It will be built on Shourayrah Island, the main island of the Red Sea Project off the Kingdom’s west coast.
On Monday, the Kingdom’s Red Sea Development Company signed a research agreement with KAUST that will see the two organizations cooperate in fields such as marine environment sustainability, food security and energy conservation.


Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says

Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says
Updated 50 min 46 sec ago

Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says

Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says
  • In observance of Friday’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Al-Awwad said the Kingdom is making significant and constant efforts
  • Al-Awwad wants to criminalize and combat human trafficking through a set of actions and measures that ensure human dignity

RIYADH: Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, president of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and chairman of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, said Saudi Arabia is keen to protect and promote human rights.

Al-Awwad also wants to criminalize and combat human trafficking through a set of actions and measures that ensure human dignity and protect it from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

In observance of Friday’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Al-Awwad said the Kingdom is making significant and constant efforts to combat human trafficking through the establishment of the Saudi National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking.

The committee enacts regulations and legislation that ensure protecting victims and safeguarding their rights on a local and global level.

Not only did the Kingdom issue regulations and legislation to combat human trafficking, but it was also keen to make the necessary efforts to enforce them, Al-Awwad said.


Saudi MOH: More than 26mn people now vaccinated against coronavirus

Saudi MOH: More than 26mn people now vaccinated against coronavirus
Updated 31 min 38 sec ago

Saudi MOH: More than 26mn people now vaccinated against coronavirus

Saudi MOH: More than 26mn people now vaccinated against coronavirus
  • Authorities report 1,289 new coronavirus cases, 1,299 recoveries, 12 deaths

JEDDAH: More than 26 million people in Saudi Arabia have now received a coronavirus vaccine, including almost 1.5 million elderly people, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.

However, the ministry repeated its message that a second vaccine dose is necessary to achieve the highest levels of immunity, especially amid the emergence of the delta variant.

First dose ppointments are now available for those aged between 12 and 18 in all regions of the Kingdom, the ministry said.

People who have recovered from a coronavirus infection are now also able to complete two doses of the vaccine, with the possibility of receiving the first dose 10 days after the end of an infection.

The change was introduced following the release of medical studies that demonstrated the safety of the procedure.

The ministry said that the Kingdom’s nationwide vaccine rollout is moving forward as planned, and urged people to register to receive vaccines through the Sehhaty app.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Thursday reported 12 more coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the Kingdom’s death toll to 8,212.

There were 1,289 new cases, meaning that 523,397 people in the country have now contracted the disease. A total of 11,358 cases remain active, of which 1,395 are in critical condition.

Of the newly recorded cases, 260 were in the Makkah region, 253 in the Riyadh region, 220 in the Eastern Province and 63 in the Madinah region.

In addition, the ministry said that 1,299 patients recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 503,827.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 24,800,706 PCR tests, with 117,620 carried out in the past 24 hours.

Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Taakad (make sure) centers provide coronavirus testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to people with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.

Appointments for either service can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.


Saudi FM meets French president’s diplomatic adviser

Saudi FM meets French president’s diplomatic adviser
Updated 30 July 2021

Saudi FM meets French president’s diplomatic adviser

Saudi FM meets French president’s diplomatic adviser

PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Thursday with the French president’s top diplomatic adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed strong Saudi-French relations and bilateral diplomatic ties, and ways to enhance them to serve common interests.

They also discussed the most prominent developments in the regional and international arenas.

The meeting was attended by the Saudi ambassador to France, Fahd bin Maayouf Al-Ruwaily, and the director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, Abdulrahman Al-Daoud.


Who’s Who: Raed Albasseet, executive at the Red Sea Development Co., Amaala

Who’s Who: Raed Albasseet, executive at the Red Sea Development Co., Amaala
Updated 30 July 2021

Who’s Who: Raed Albasseet, executive at the Red Sea Development Co., Amaala

Who’s Who: Raed Albasseet, executive at the Red Sea Development Co., Amaala

Raed Albasseet has been head of the corporate environment and sustainability division of the Red Sea Development Co. (RSDC) and Amaala since April.

The RSDC and Amaala are among the Vision 2030 megaprojects established in Saudi Arabia to develop and promote new international luxury tourism destinations and diversify the Kingdom’s economy.

Albasseet’s role includes helping the firms meet ambitious sustainability goals in line with global performance standards while protecting important ecosystems.

He has been leading both companies in integrating pragmatic solutions to overcome complex environmental assessment and enhancement issues to satisfy UN sustainable development targets.

He became head of corporate environment and sustainability at the RSDC in May 2018 after having been Saudi Aramco’s international environmental policies and regulatory lead from 2016 to 2018, and its international environmental policies adviser and an environmental engineer between 2012 and 2016.

Albasseet also worked as head of pollution and environmental engineering at Aramco subsidiary Vela International Marine from 2011 to 2012, was a pollution and environmental engineer there between 2009 and 2011, and a maritime officer with the company from 2003 to 2007.

He gained a master’s degree in safety and environmental administration from the World Maritime University in Sweden, and a bachelor’s degree in merchant marine operations from Solent University, in the UK.


Saudi residents flocking to KAEC as their ‘summer go-to destination’

Saudi residents flocking to KAEC as their ‘summer go-to destination’
Updated 30 July 2021

Saudi residents flocking to KAEC as their ‘summer go-to destination’

Saudi residents flocking to KAEC as their ‘summer go-to destination’
  • King Abdullah Economic City offers beaches, golf, watersports, fishing and family-friendly activities
  • Located about an hour’s drive north of Jeddah, it has served as a mini-getaway for residents of the Kingdom for the past 16 years

JEDDAH: With the start of another school year just a month away, Saudi Arabia residents are flocking to their nearest tourist destinations as the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) offers some fun in the sun and more.

The city is about an hour’s drive north of Jeddah and since it was established nearly 16 years ago, it has served as a mini-getaway for residents of nearby Yanbu, Rabigh and Jeddah.

It has been a popular spot this summer as guests are visiting the city’s two hotels and other rentals after the Saudi Tourism Authority launched the Saudi Summer Program 2021 under the slogan “Our Summer, Your Mood.”

Since being announced and inaugurated in 2005 by the late King Abdullah, KAEC has featured projects and initiatives such as the Science and Research Complex, KAEC Media City, and Ethraa, The Smart City.

Jeddah resident Rahaf Meer, 27, a physical therapist, has frequented KAEC with her friends throughout the summer and has enjoyed some of the area’s facilities and fun-filled activities.

“Five of my friends and I rented bikes and rode across the area moving from one area to the next with ease as it was a break from driving,” she told Arab News. “It is comfortable and it gives us room to break away from our daily habits.”

Meer said she likes going to YAM Beach and has been amazed by the crisp, clear water off the shore.

“It is barely an hour’s drive from Jeddah, but you can see the difference in clarity,” she said. “Heading to KAEC is a safe idea as we do not plan on traveling abroad anytime soon. It is our summer go-to destination.”

Sharing Meer’s sentiment, Saleh Almuraished, another Jeddah resident, visited KAEC for the first time a few weeks ago and told Arab News that she is already planning to return.

“I loved the wide and open spaces of the city and everything seemed brand new (even though it has been around for 16 years),” Almuraished said. “The atmosphere and vibe was very nice. What was even better was the hospitality, from the hotel staff to beach lifeguards and more.”

Adhering to precautionary coronavirus (COVID-19) measures, Almuraished and her friends opted to go to Pure Beach in the Lagoon Zone because YAM Beach reached its quota.

“The crowds can be better handled especially since we have a few weeks to go,” Almuraished said. “Other than that, the weather was amazing. Even though it is still the middle of a hot summer, everything was extremely enjoyable.”

Located in the heart of KAEC is the world-class 18-hole championship golf course, Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, where amateurs and professionals alike can hit the links.

For those who are interested in watersport activities, the Bay La Sun Marina Yacht Club provides different activities such as diving and snorkeling. They also offer sport or line fishing for six hours a day as boats can hold up to 10 people.

KAEC is family-friendly as options for children are also available.