Saudi government signs up to 100m tree-planting scheme to tackle desertification

Saudi government signs up to 100m tree-planting scheme to tackle desertification
The Saudi government has committed to an ambitious scheme aimed at planting 100 million trees in the Kingdom to help tackle desertification. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 14 July 2021

Saudi government signs up to 100m tree-planting scheme to tackle desertification

Saudi government signs up to 100m tree-planting scheme to tackle desertification
  • Al-Abdulqader said the center was keen to work with partners in the government sector to plant trees

RIYADH: The Saudi government has committed to an ambitious scheme aimed at planting 100 million trees in the Kingdom to help tackle desertification.

As part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources and the National Center for the Development of Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification, the initiative will see the fast-tracking of the planting of 500,000 trees with renewable resources.

The two bodies will also cooperate on developing a long-term strategic plan to address the issue.

The MoU was inked in the presence of deputy minister for mining affairs, Khalid Al-Mudaifer, the ministry’s undersecretary for mining control, Ahmed Faqih, and center CEO, Dr. Khaled Al-Abdulqader.

Faqih said the agreement formed part of a framework of joint cooperation programs with a number of government agencies related to the environment, adding that the mining industry had invested in a range of initiatives and projects to ensure sustainable development.

He noted the common goals of both parties in relation to the MoU, and in collaborating on afforestation, the development, preservation, and sustainability of vegetation, restoring natural vegetation cover, combating desertification, and raising environmental awareness among all sections of society.

The work would also contribute to increasing the efficiency of optimal and sustainable utilization of renewable natural and water resources, and contribute toward achieving Vision 2030 targets, Faqih said.

Al-Abdulqader said the center was keen to work with partners in the government sector to plant trees and encourage investors in the mining industry to participate in afforestation campaigns and associated national projects.

Yamama Cement Co., one of the firms to obtain a mining license, recently signed a deal to plant 300,000 trees.

Meanwhile, the accelerated short-term cooperation track of the MoU will see the planting of 500,000 native trees using renewable water sources while rehabilitating and developing natural vegetation cover and supporting biodiversity.

The ministry would also be contributing to the activities of the annual Environment Week through environmental awareness initiatives.

Under the terms of the MoU’s long-term strategic cooperation agreement, ministry and center officials will set up a joint team to conduct studies at sites in the Kingdom targeted for afforestation to determine renewable water sources, the number of trees to be planted, costings, and timelines for achieving the scheme’s goals.


Experts take part in hackathon to provide technical solutions for charity work

Experts take part in hackathon to provide technical solutions for charity work
Updated 51 sec ago

Experts take part in hackathon to provide technical solutions for charity work

Experts take part in hackathon to provide technical solutions for charity work
  • The event was hosted by the Charitable Committee for Orphan Care Ensan and was aimed at developing charity work in modern ways
  • Prizes amounting to SR300,000 ($80,000) were awarded

RIYADH: Hundreds of experts took part in an innovation hackathon to provide technical solutions for charitable work.

The event was hosted by the Charitable Committee for Orphan Care Ensan and was aimed at developing charity work in modern ways, helping specialists and stakeholders to improve performance in ways that would be reflected in the quality of life for beneficiaries and the provision of services.

It sought to raise the efficiency of charity workers and improve their performance, harness technology to facilitate the lives of orphans, and develop technical solutions to raise financial revenues for charitable societies.

It also sought to develop knowledge management through the exchange of data and information, and employing modern technology in the work of charitable societies.

Another aim was to create solutions to help the government and private sectors to adopt and sponsor technical projects that could be supported in the charity sector to bridge any technology gaps.

The hackathon also sought to enhance the role of the semi-government and private sectors in the field of social responsibility.

Prizes amounting to SR300,000 ($80,000) were awarded and the winners were nominated by a committee consisting of 12 judges, 15 mentors in various technical fields, and specialists from the charity sector.

Team Arshad won first place and received a financial prize of SR120,000. Team “Liyabqa” came in second place, winning SR80,000. 

Team Mu’awan came in third place and received SR45,000, the “In Lans” team came fourth and received SR35,000, while team “Kafu” placed fifth and received SR20,000.


Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 23 October 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 43 new infections on Saturday.

Of the new cases, 13 were recorded in Riyadh, eight in Jeddah, two in Buraidah, two in Madinah, two in Makkah, and two in Dhahran. Several other cities recorded one new case each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 537,246 after 38 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,776 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 45 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Arabia welcomes UN Security Council's condemnation of Houthi attacks

Saudi Arabia welcomes UN Security Council's condemnation of Houthi attacks
Updated 23 October 2021

Saudi Arabia welcomes UN Security Council's condemnation of Houthi attacks

Saudi Arabia welcomes UN Security Council's condemnation of Houthi attacks
  • The state-run news agency said the condemnation represents the Security Council’s commitment to the crisis in Yemen

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia welcomed Saturday a statement by the UN Security Council condemning attacks by the Houthi militia against the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The state-run news agency said the condemnation represents the Security Council’s commitment to the crisis in Yemen and recognizes the importance of resolving this conflict politically.

This would contain the crisis’ negative repercussions caused by the Houthis’ rejection of calls for a ceasefire and the lack of positive engagement in political negotiations that would lead to the return of security and stability in Yemen, SPA said.

 

 


Saudi Green Initiative forum

Saudi Green Initiative forum
Updated 23 October 2021

Saudi Green Initiative forum

Saudi Green Initiative forum

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman opened the Saudi Green Initiative forum in Riyadh place on Saturday, announcing the Kingdom’s new “green” objectives.

The forum will discuss Saudi Arabia's environmental efforts with guests that include high-profile government leaders and international personalities.

"We announce in this Forum the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's roadmap for protecting the environment and confronting climate change. This annual forum will serve as a platform to launch our new environmental initiatives and monitor the impact of the previously announced ones," the Crown Prince said. 

"I am pleased to launch initiatives in the energy sector that will reduce carbon emissions by (278) million tons annually by 2030, thus voluntarily more than doubling the target announced, estimated at (130) million tons annually," he added.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also announced the Kingdom's accession to the Global Methane Pledge, "which aims to reduce methane emissions globally by 30 percent."

The Crown Prince also announced Saudi Arabia’s intention to join the Global Oceans Alliance, the Alliance to Eliminate Plastic Waste in Oceans and Beaches, the Sports for Climate Action Agreement, and to establish a global center for Sustainable Tourism, and a Non-Profit foundation to explore the seas and oceans.

"I look forward to the Middle East Green Initiative Summit, which we will host the day after tomorrow, with the aim of synergizing and coordinating efforts among the countries of the region to develop the plans necessary to reach the Middle East Green Initiative target," he concluded. 

12:54 p.m. KSA

Tony Chan, president of KAUST, calls for more partnerships, and collaboration between the public and private sectors to achieve environmental objectives.

 "We are working closely with NEOM to build one of its largest gardens," he said. 

12:41 p.m. KSA

Saudi Arabia has a big opportunity to be leader in the future of the ocean, said World OceanCouncil CEO Paul Holthus, adding that Aramco is one of the biggest ocean-related companies in world.

11:42 a.m. KSA 

 

Prince Charles says we have already seen great progress, which the Saudi and Middle East green initiatives will accelerate.

"We now have dangerously narrow window of opportunity to accelerate climate change action," Prince Charles said.

11:20 a.m. KSA 

Saudi environment minister says the Kingdom will use 50 million hectares for planting the 10 billion trees target under the Saudi Green Initiative.

 

 

The Crown Prince increased the percentage of protected land from 16 percent to 20 percent under the Saudi Green Initiative, the enviroment minister said. 

10:44 a.m. KSA

The UAE's Sultan Al-Jaber says the world is entering an oil supply crunch.

 

10:37 a.m. KSA

Executive secretary of UNFCCC says Kingdom targets are very powerful figures ahead of COP26.

 "It sends very powerful signal at the right moment," Patricia Espinosa said. 

10:25 a.m. KSA 

Saudi energy minister says the Kingdom’s youth will play a big role in the Saudi Green Initiative.

 "They are determined to make their own future," he told the forum. 
 

 


First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques

First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques
Updated 23 October 2021

First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques

First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques
  • Worshippers return to holy cities as restrictions eased

MAKKAH: After more than a year and a half, Muslims worldwide were delighted to see Friday prayers at the Two Holy mosques return to full capacity.

Considered the two holiest sites in Islam, painful images of the mosques devoid of worshippers due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 affected Muslims everywhere, but particularly citizens of Makkah and Madinah.

“It’s a blessing, to walk in the mosque’s pathways and you’re surrounded by people again,” said Abdullah Mahdi, a private-sector worker and longtime resident of the holy city. “Though masked still, it doesn’t really matter, the place is alive with movement and worshippers again.

“It’s truly a sight to behold and to see the Grand Mosque’s courtyard around the Kaaba filled with people on the first Friday after the easing of the restrictions is a sign that it’ll be alright, God-willing.”

Last Saturday, the Ministry of Interior announced the easing of restrictions across the Kingdom, including those affecting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, which are returning to full operations and capacity.

Deputy Secretary-General for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque Dr. Saad bin Mohammed Al-Muhaimid told Arab News that the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques had used all of their human and mechanical resources to implement the plan to return to full capacity.

FASTFACTS

• Last Saturday, the Ministry of Interior announced the easing of restrictions across the Kingdom, including those affecting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, which are returning to full operations and capacity.

• Those working at the Two Holy Mosques had been asked to abide by and enforce the directives issued by the authorities concerned with fighting the coronavirus pandemic to ensure everyone’s safety.

“They did so through an integrated plan of capabilities and services that were harnessed to preserve the safety of the Grand Mosque’s visitors and facilitate the performance of their rites in a spiritual, safe and reassuring atmosphere,” he said.

“Based on the directives of the president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, we have accelerated the pace of work and raised the level of readiness in an effort to provide the Grand Mosque’s visitors with better services and means of comfort.

“We have also doubled our efforts since we started implementing the plan to return to full capacity while achieving the highest-quality standards.”

The deputy secretary-general said that those working at the Two Holy Mosques had been asked to abide by and enforce the directives issued by the authorities concerned with fighting the coronavirus pandemic to ensure everyone’s safety.

The ministry and authorities stressed the importance of visitors adhering to the directives included in the Interior Ministry’s statement by wearing face masks at all times inside the Grand Mosque and booking their Umrah and prayer appointments through the official applications (Eatmarna and Tawakkalna).