Saudi envoy speaks of her pride in Kingdom’s athletes at Tokyo Olympics

Saudi envoy speaks of her pride in Kingdom’s athletes at Tokyo Olympics
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States Princess Reema bint Bandar at the Tokyo Olympics. (File/SPA)
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Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi envoy speaks of her pride in Kingdom’s athletes at Tokyo Olympics

Saudi envoy speaks of her pride in Kingdom’s athletes at Tokyo Olympics
  • Princess Reema attended the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US expressed her deep sense of pride in the Saudi athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m so very proud of all our athletes who are representing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Tokyo today,” said Princess Reema bint Bandar. She wished them well and added: “We’re just starting and it can only get better from here.”
She also spoke of the joy she feels seeing young Saudis overcome the challenges and make it to the Olympic Games.
“Each young man and woman brings their own unique experience to their sports,” she said. “And to see them make it all the way to the Olympics, despite the current challenges, brings me tremendous pride and joy.
“Our aim as a team in Tokyo is not just to compete for medals, but to compete with passion and dignity and to open the doors for young men and women to truly engage and participate in sports.”
Princess Reema added that the Kingdom’s leadership is keen to support the nation’s developing sports sector and to help athletes reach their full potential.
“We’ve been working hard to create the best environment to foster and grow local and regional talents and to adopt sports as a way of life in the Kingdom,” she added.


Saudi ambassador: Vision 2030 reforms bring India ‘immense opportunities’

Saudi ambassador: Vision 2030 reforms bring India ‘immense opportunities’
Updated 21 September 2021

Saudi ambassador: Vision 2030 reforms bring India ‘immense opportunities’

Saudi ambassador: Vision 2030 reforms bring India ‘immense opportunities’
  • Writing in The Indian Express newspaper, Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Sati praises relations
  • Says Indian investment in the Kingdom continues to grow

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic reform program has created “immense opportunities” for Indian companies, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to India said.

Writing in The Indian Express newspaper, Dr. Saud bin Mohammed Al-Sati said the number of Indian companies investing in the Kingdom had continued to grow.
“In our endeavor to achieve the Vision 2030 strategic goals, we have created immense opportunities and an attractive business environment for our strategic partners,” Al-Sati said. 

Vision 2030 aims to diversify the Saudi economy away from fossil fuels and increase non-oil revenue, including from foreign investment.

Al-Sati said that in 2020, 44 new licenses were issued for Indian investments and that Saudi Arabia had made investments worth $2.81 billion in areas including renewable energy, agriculture and health.

In the column to mark Saudi Arabia’s National Day on Thursday, Al-Sati praised relations with India.
“Our dynamic cultural, socio-economic, and political partnership is based on mutual respect and shared values and interests and shall continue to thrive for the interests of our two friendly people and the people of the region,” he said.

Al-Sati outlined the progress made by Vision 2030 since it was announced in April 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

He said the reforms had helped Saudi Arabia weather COVID-19 and that the Kingdom’s investment environment was returning to pre-pandemic levels.


Diriyah Gate Development Authority to deliver first phase assets early 2022

Diriyah Gate Development Authority to deliver first phase assets early 2022
Updated 21 September 2021

Diriyah Gate Development Authority to deliver first phase assets early 2022

Diriyah Gate Development Authority to deliver first phase assets early 2022
  • Exclusive interview with DGDA’s Group CEO part of Arab News coverage for Saudi National Day

RIYADH: Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), the entity tasked by the Saudi government to redevelop the ‘Birthplace of the Kingdom’ into a world class destination, has revealed it shall be completing and delivering its first phase assets by early 2022.

“Everybody get ready because early in the new year of 2022 we will deliver our first assets in this progressive rolling master plan,” Jerry Inzerillo, DGDA’s Group CEO told Arab News in an exclusive interview marking the newspaper’s special Saudi National Day coverage.

“This is a very exciting time, and we feel very privileged, very honoured to walk in the footsteps of such a great King and such a great Crown Prince,” he added.

Opening to the public in early 2022, the $50 billion giga project will contain some of the world’s most luxurious restaurants and hotels. All structures are built in traditional Najdi architecture style to preserve the kingdom’s rich heritage and the sentimental, historical value of the area. Diriyah is renowned globally for being home to the UNESCO listed -- and highly acclaimed -- At-Turaif District.

The first phase of the Diriyah Gate’s masterplan will revolve around Wadi Hanifah and Bujairi Terrace. Wadi Hanifah will contain many major parks and will undergo renovations to enhance the natural beauty of the area.

“A tremendous amount of the infrastructure will be done such as the planting of 22,000 trees, sidewalks and streetlamps too. Now you see people jogging, running, and on bicycles,” Inzerillo stated.

Inzerillo highlighted that each year DGDA will continuously add assets that will be open for the public to enjoy. Bujairi district will contain 18 new restaurants, of which several will be Michelin star listed, while others will offer delicious, local Saudi delicacies.

In line with the Kingdoms Vision 2030 of sustainability and enhancing quality of life, thousands of underground parking spaces will be built to accommodate all local and international visitors.

People will have the opportunity to explore Wadi Hanifah and Bujairi and enjoy the many walking trails, expanded picnic tables, and family gathering areas.

“We are seeing great enthusiasm from the international community on visiting the Kingdom. We were doing 55,000 visas a week prior to COVID thanks to the leadership of his Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb and the Ministry of Tourism,” Inzerillo stated.

Marking Saudi National Day, Arab News – in partnership with DGDA – produced a special souvenir edition of the newspaper which will be printed across the Kingdom and beyond. Arab News will also launch a digital, interactive Deep Dive called Diryiah: Past, Present and Future. The Deep Dive will contain multimedia files, interactive maps and timelines, as well as exclusive interviews and footage.

“Every National Day, Arab News aims to stand out by shedding light through its special coverage on different aspects of Saudi Arabia’s history, heritage, hopes and aspirations. This year, we are very proud of the outstanding work our team has done to finally tell the breath-taking story of the Kingdom’s birthplace” said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News.

“There is no doubt that Diriyah is a showpiece of what the kingdom’s Vision 2030 is all about: embracing the world and preserving our heritage at the same time. We invite everyone to check out our coverage to understand why there is only one Diriyah,” he concluded.

The Arab News Deep Dive Diryiah: Past, Present and Future is available in English, French and Japanese via www.arabnews.com/Diriyah

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Saudi air defenses destroy three Houthi drones headed towards Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses destroy three Houthi drones headed towards Khamis Mushait
Updated 21 September 2021

Saudi air defenses destroy three Houthi drones headed towards Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses destroy three Houthi drones headed towards Khamis Mushait

RIYADH: The Arab Coalition announced on Tuesday the successful interception and destruction of three bomb-laden drones launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen that were headed for Khamis Mushait in Saudi Arabia.  

The Coalition stated that it is taking measures to protect citizens and civilians in the area in accordance with international humanitarian law.


How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction

How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction
Updated 21 September 2021

How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction

How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction
  • At UNGA, Saudi Arabia will show it is a leader in the global campaign for energy sustainability
  • The Kingdom has a big environmental responsibility as a major player in global energy markets

DUBAI: Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the energy minister of Saudi Arabia, set out the Kingdom’s position on climate change loud and clear at the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh earlier this year.

“We are long believers in the Paris Agreement and are doing everything in our power to achieve it,” he said, before issuing a challenge to other countries to match the Kingdom’s ambition in the campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby mitigate global warming.

“Whatever we will do in the Kingdom will support emissions reduction, and we are doing it willingly because the economic benefits (from new energy technologies) are clear. We will enjoy being looked at as a reasonable and responsible international citizen because we will be doing more than most European countries by 2030 to combat climate change,” he said.

That message — Saudi Arabia will be a leader in the global campaign for energy sustainability — will be hammered home at the continuing 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where climate change and sustainability are bound to be key issues.

The UNGA meetings are an opportunity each year to monitor progress on the UN’s sustainable development goals, the set of 17 policy objectives put in place in 2015 as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all,” and intended for full implementation by 2030.

That time frame coincides with Saudi Arabia’s own Vision 2030 strategy, itself designed to transform the Kingdom and diversify its economy away from oil dependency. Sustainability is a vital part of the Vision 2030 plan.

The message will be driven home in New York, and next month in Glasgow when the COP26 summit takes crucial decisions on the next phase of implementation of the Paris Agreements.

Saudi Arabia’s position on climate change is long-standing and clear: The Kingdom shares the concern of the rest of the world that global warming presents a risk to humanity if allowed to go unchecked. Moreover, as a major player in global energy markets, Saudi Arabia has a big responsibility for protecting the planet.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman set out the Kingdom’s position on climate change loud and clear at the Future Investment Initiative forum earlier this year

But, precisely because of its role as a leading energy producer, the Saudi position is far more nuanced than some in Europe and North America who have turned against hydrocarbon fuels in any form.

One Saudi policy adviser told Arab News: “We reject the false choice between preserving the economy and protecting the environment. We view the rising global demand for energy products as an opportunity to re-imagine the future of energy globally, and through the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, we aim to pioneer this future.”

That thinking is behind many of the energy policy initiatives that have emerged from Riyadh over the past couple of years. Prince Abdulaziz has long been an enthusiast of sustainability and energy efficiency, and the drive toward a comprehensive policy on climate change has been given new impetus since he was appointed energy minister two years ago.

Central to the Kingdom’s strategy on climate change is the concept of the circular carbon economy (CCE) — a framework for tackling climate change while continuing to enjoy the benefits of economic growth driven by oil and gas, the most efficient and powerful energy sources mankind has ever developed.

CCE is based on the principles of the 4Rs — to reduce, reuse, recycle and ultimately remove harmful CO2 and other emissions from industrial processes and the atmosphere.

The Kingdom has a longstanding policy of aiming to reduce greenhouse gases through energy-efficiency programs that target travel, industry and construction. Saudi oil is already one of the “cleanest” crudes in the world, as measured by independent scientists.

Saudi Aramco also has a big R&D program in place to develop more energy-efficient motor engines. Hydrocarbon products are reused and recycled across the Kingdom’s industrial sector.

Saudi Arabia long ago ceased the practice of gas flaring, which is still common practice in many oil-producing countries.

One of the persistent features of the Kingdom’s energy policy has been to use hydrocarbons and their byproducts as non-fuel ingredients in the chemical and other manufacturing industry, and this trend has accelerated since the merger between Saudi Aramco and SABIC, the petrochemicals giant.

Most climate experts agree that it is the fourth R — remove — that is the most challenging, but also potentially the most effective in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change to the 1.5C global temperature increase the Paris Agreement requires by 2050.

Saudi Arabia has a headstart in technologies linked to carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), which aims to prevent CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere, either by reusing it in industrial processes such as building materials or storing it in secure “sinks” such as old oil reservoirs and other natural locations.

The Kingdom’s reliance on oil could soon become a thing of the past, with megaprojects such as NEOM being built on zero-carbon models. (AFP)

The Kingdom has also been funding R&D into direct air capture (DAC), which some climate scientists see as the long-term “silver bullet” in combating climate change. If CO2 can be successfully removed from the air on a global scale, that would go a long way to solving the problem of global warming.

However, until the technology is proven and widely available, there are other techniques that can be implemented to ameliorate airborne carbon. Again Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront with its Saudi Green Initiative, which envisions the planting of 10 billion trees in the Kingdom over the next two decades as part of a wider Middle East Green Initiative that will eventually see a total of 50 billion trees planted in the region.

When he launched the initiative earlier this year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 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.”

The other major plank of the Saudi Green Initiatives is a commitment to lift the proportion of renewables in the Kingdom’s domestic energy mix to 50 percent by 2030, replacing oil as an energy-generating fuel, with the balance to come from natural gas.

The Kingdom has already begun this program, with big wind and solar projects announced earlier this year to generate electricity from renewable sources.

The jewel in the crown of the Saudi sustainability strategy is the NEOM megacity under construction in the Kingdom’s northwest, which will have a zero-carbon footprint, with all its power and water needs satisfied by non-hydrocarbon sources, notably “green” hydrogen.

All the Saudi mega-projects of Vision 2030 also have sustainability at the heart of their plans.

Saudi Arabia is already a pioneer in developing hydrogen fuels, and last year exported the first shipment of “blue” ammonia — a much cleaner fuel that is a byproduct of the oil and gas industrial process — to Japan for use in that country’s electricity generation industry.

Saudi Aramco’s Shaybah oilfield. The company is one of the most profitable in the world. (Reuters)

An alliance with Germany was announced this year to study and develop hydrogen fuels, combining Saudi energy expertise with German engineering and technological prowess.

Nobody in New York — or Glasgow next month — is underestimating the scale of the climate challenge ahead, but Saudi Arabia has shown, and will continue to show, that a responsible approach to the problem can be adopted without totally abandoning the power and efficiency of hydrocarbons.

The Kingdom is winning allies in this challenge. At last year’s G20 summit of world leaders, the CCE framework promoted by Saudi Arabia was adopted unanimously as the preferred global methodology for combating global warming.


Saudi Digital Library offers week of free database access

 The digital library has a wide range of periodicals, tools and information bases. Twitter: (@SDL_sa)
The digital library has a wide range of periodicals, tools and information bases. Twitter: (@SDL_sa)
Updated 21 September 2021

Saudi Digital Library offers week of free database access

 The digital library has a wide range of periodicals, tools and information bases. Twitter: (@SDL_sa)
  • The Library won the best provider of information services and resources for higher and post-secondary education at the Global Exhibition for Education Supplies and Solutions GESS 2019

JEDDAH: The Saudi Digital Library at the Ministry of Education announced the launch of a week-long free access initiative at the Kingdom level for 16 databases that provide digital information sources.
The step is to mark the Kingdom’s 91st National Day on Sept. 23, and is in cooperation with a number of Arab and foreign publishing houses.
The databases will be available for free for a week from Sept. 19.
All beneficiaries of library’s services are invited to access the link through the Saudi Digital Library portal.
The digital library has helped reduce the burden on the budgets of universities and government and private sectors, and this amount of digital information sources has assisted Saudis and expats residing in the Kingdom.
Among the library’s most important initiatives are the scientific theses project, the scientific journals project, a digital library project for Arabic books and a knowledge library project for students of general education.
During the COVID-19 pandemic period, the Saudi Digital Library succeeded in launching a comprehensive and free access initiative to a number of digital databases, in cooperation with a number of Arab and foreign publishing houses.
The digital library has a wide range of periodicals, tools and information bases.
According to the latest statistics, the library contains 169 international and Arab databases covering various academic disciplines, including 450,000 digital books, 60,000 scientific journals, and 9 million papers of research and conference papers.
The Library also contains 5,224,410 university theses, 3,061,669 scientific reports, 7 million multimedia materials that include scientific images and films in various disciplines, and more than 12 million scientific materials in the information assets owned by the library.

The number of beneficiaries from this Informatics gathering exceeded 65 entities and more than 300 global publishers, accessing its services through the portal on the internet in both Arabic and English.

More than 1.6 million students and postgraduate researchers have benefited from the digital library services, as have 71,000 faculty members in 55 public and private universities and colleges, more than 180,000 on scholarships, as well as 20 government agencies and institutions.

The digital library has won several awards, including the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information “I know” award for outstanding projects in the Arab world in 2010, and the Knowledge Summit Award in its fifth session from the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Knowledge Foundation 2018 for its contribution to the transfer and dissemination of knowledge.

The Library also won the best provider of information services and resources for higher and post-secondary education at the Global Exhibition for Education Supplies and Solutions GESS 2019.

The free access initiative includes the Taylor & Francis database for millions of press articles, the Science Book Gateway database that provides reliable scholarly references in several fields and the Al-Manhal Database that provides access to thousands of digital publications from leading Arab universities, research centers and scientific communities.

Other databases in the library include ProQuest, Wiley, EBSCO, ACM, Springer Nature, Science Direct, IGI, Encyclopedia Britannica, OECD, the integrated Arabic database “Marefa,” CABI, AskZad and JOVE.

The Saudi Digital Library expressed its thanks and appreciation to the publishers who made the free service available in the Kingdom.