RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will seek involvement from the private sector and other organizations in the Kingdom to help plant 10 billion trees under the Saudi Green Initiative.
The Minister of Water, Environment, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadly told Arab News that the government cannot do it all alone, adding that the final budget and amount of funding available for the entire project is currently under review.
“All the private sector, non-governmental organizations, citizens, agricultural associations, environmental associations, companies, government companies, and the government as well, will participate in planting the trees” he told Arab News on the sideline of Saudi Green Initiative Forum in Riyadh.
“Planting 10 billion trees is one of the milestone initiatives here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Degradation is one of the major issues under focus in the Kingdom. By achieving the goal of planting 10 billion trees under the Saudi Green Initiative, 50 million hectares of Saudi Arabia will be rehabilitated and redeveloped.
The minister highlighted that 50 percent of the degraded land in the Kingdom will be rehabilitated to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and new land will be designated solely for the protection of wildlife.
“The Kingdom will plant 1 percent of the global tree plantation target,” he said.
As announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the private sector will have numerous investment opportunities and contributions along the way.
“Naturally speaking when it comes to planting 10 billion trees in the Kingdom with this kind of climate it is a great challenge, but I do believe we will be able to put this initiative into action through the use of renewable water, desalinated water, or treated water,” the minister emphasized.
The initiative will mainly focus on local and native plants that can endure the climate change or the drought along with the implementation of new technology that can research and limit the usage of water.
Speaking earlier in the day, the minister told the forum the government is planning to use 50 million hectares of land to plant the trees, as it aims to “provide a green cover to reduce the negative impact of climate change."
The minister also reiterated the Saudi crown prince’s commitment to the Kingdom’s environmental objectives.
He said the crown prince has increased the percentage of the Kingdom’s protected land from 16 percent to 20 percent.