Saudi, UN partnership to help promote sustainable development in Soudah

Located in the Asir region, the mountains of Soudah are home to the highest peak in Saudi Arabia, situated more than 3,000m above sea level. (Shutterstock)
Located in the Asir region, the mountains of Soudah are home to the highest peak in Saudi Arabia, situated more than 3,000m above sea level. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 November 2021

Saudi, UN partnership to help promote sustainable development in Soudah

Located in the Asir region, the mountains of Soudah are home to the highest peak in Saudi Arabia, situated more than 3,000m above sea level. (Shutterstock)
  • It will harvest knowledge to preserve heritage, culture, natural resources

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s southern Soudah mountains are getting a further boost to habitat protection while welcoming tourists and visitors with the signing of a new deal between Soudah Development Co. and the UN Mountain Partnership.

Located in the Asir region in the southwest of the Kingdom, the juniper-covered mountains of Soudah are home to the highest peak in Saudi Arabia, situated more than 3,000m above sea level.
Initiated in 2002, the UN Mountain Partnership, an alliance dedicated to protecting mountain environments around the world, aims to improve the life of the local mountain communities and preserve its ecosystems. It currently consists of more than 400 members spanning governments, companies and civil society groups.
Soudah Development Co. is the first company from the Kingdom and the Gulf region to join this partnership and will allow it to tap into an international wealth of knowledge and resources as it develops a regulatory framework to create a sustainable tourist destination.
“The membership will contribute to positioning Soudah on the international map by giving us access to prospective mountain developers and adventure tourism partners who will recognize how the entity is embracing the same development values and quality standards as major mountain destinations worldwide,” Husameddin Al-Madani, CEO of Soudah Development Co., told Arab News.
Joining this alliance is an important milestone for the company, which will put them a step closer to accomplishing their mission and development project.

HIGHLIGHT

This ambitious project will help promote sustainable development, preserve the environment of Soudah, protect wildlife and undertake a major reforestation program, which will remove more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

“This new and exciting membership will enable us to tap into the wealth and diversity of knowledge, information and expertise of mountain developers and organizations around the world and ensure we can benefit from initiatives and programs that reflect our ambitions here in the region from 3,015 meters above sea level,” Al-Madani said.
The area is currently a popular tourist destination among domestic travelers and adventure enthusiasts, offering activities for adventure seekers such as scenic hiking trails to paragliding over the valley, and a serene camping location to stargaze at night.
This ambitious project will help promote sustainable development, preserve the environment of Soudah, protect wildlife and undertake a major reforestation program, which will remove more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“Our membership underlines the Kingdom’s commitment to introducing Saudi’s unique and diverse nature and culture to the world. Additionally, the Kingdom is committed to the highest standards of environmental sustainability, having launched the Saudi Green initiative and Middle East Green initiative to set standards for environmental sustainability in all development projects across the Kingdom,” Al-Madani said.
In line with the strategy to protect the environment of Soudah, the company promises to enhance its commitment to wildlife conservation by having a monitoring program that will document the behavior of endangered animals.
Part of this initiative is a new partnership with the Beacon Development Company, a subsidiary of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
The agreement will focus on placing a series of hidden cameras in the area to monitor wildlife, which includes the striped hyena, the Arabian wolf, Arabian red fox, Indian crested porcupine and wild cats.
“In the context of Soudah’s unique location, enchanting environment and scenic landscapes, our membership with the Mountain Partnership is another positive step in the right direction that reflects the efforts to preserve nature and the environment in line with the efforts of Saudi Arabia,” Al-Madani said.


‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary

‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary
Updated 27 May 2022

‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary

‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary
  • Two senior US officials visited Saudi Arabia for talks this week

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said two senior US officials visited Saudi Arabia this week to “review engagement” on “energy security,” and not to ask for an increase in oil exports.

“Asking for oil is simply wrong. That’s the way that we see it and a misunderstanding of both the complexity of that issue as well as our multi-faceted discussions with the Saudis,” Jean-Pierre said on Thursday. 

The press secretary also said OPEC+ will make its own decision as it relates to oil and added, “We are in consultation with all relevant producers about market conditions including Saudi Arabia.”

 

Meeting senior Saudi officials in Riyadh were Brett McGurk, Biden’s top White House adviser on the Middle East, and Amos Hochstein, the State Department's energy envoy.

McGurk and Hochstein were in the region to follow up on conversations that include Iran’s destabilizing activities, and other regional issues, Jean-Pierre told reporters.


Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News

Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News
Updated 27 May 2022

Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News

Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News
  • Census 2022 will affect public services, goods made available to Kingdom’s residents, he says during interview in Davos
  • Saudi delegation of ministers shares knowledge and experience of past 7 years with top policymakers, investors, private sector, industry leaders

DAVOS: Surplus revenues from oil production will go into investing in “resilience,” the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim has said, referring to paying off debt, replenishing reserves, and accelerating transformational projects throughout the Kingdom.

“It’s ultimately going to help the private sector or help our investments that will open the door in front of the private sector to increase its activity,” he told Arab News at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

With a surplus of $15 billion, some of the Public Investment Fund’s owned and led projects will be given support so that they “are delivered either sooner or more effective,” he said.

Al-Ibrahim also noted the Kingdom’s census plans and urged all residents of Saudi Arabia to register.

“It’s very important, it will affect our planning and then it will affect the services and public goods that will be made available to all residents of the Kingdom, citizens, and expats,” he added.

The census had been set to launch in 2020 but was delayed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic and the strict lockdown measures introduced by the Saudi government to help stop the spread of the virus.

While the last census was in 2010, the minister was confident that technological advancements since then would ensure that the new data collected would be “sustainable.”

He said: “We don’t want to say in nine years from now, ‘this data is nine years old, and I can’t trust it.’ No, we did many more surveys, we did more projects, components that got you refreshed data.”

Al-Ibrahim was part of a delegation of seven Saudi ministers who participated in key forum events including panel discussions.

The delegation was headed by Minister of State Ibrahim Al-Assaf, and included Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha, and Assistant Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa Al-Saud.

“I think our ambition from this meeting as a delegation is to deepen our conversations into the agenda-setting process, and we’ve achieved this with what might be a smaller number of ministers. But in the number of engagements, the top-tier engagements, it’s probably one of the highest.

“It’s an opportunity for us to rub shoulders with policymakers, investors, private sector and industry leaders because we have a wealth of knowledge, we have a lot of lessons learned from the last seven years that we can share.

Al-Ibrahim added: “But also, we have so many challenges that we’re still tackling that we can partner up and everybody’s interested, everybody’s looking at it.”


Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation

Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation
Updated 27 May 2022

Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation

Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call on Thursday from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Kingdom’s official SPA news agency reported.
During the call, they reviewed the bilateral relations between the two countries, and discussed opportunities for joint cooperation in a number of fields.


Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health

Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health
Updated 27 May 2022

Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health

Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health
  • Al-Jalajel said that the Kingdom is one of the first countries that, during its leadership of the G20, initiated the extraordinary summit to combine efforts and contain the pandemic

GENEVA: Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel has praised the contributions made by the Kingdom to support global public health.

His remarks came during a speech he delivered at the 75th session of the World Health Organization General Assembly in Geneva, where he headed the Kingdom’s delegation.

Al-Jalajel said that the Kingdom is one of the first countries that, during its leadership of the G20, initiated the extraordinary summit to combine efforts and contain the pandemic, which resulted in unprecedented global cooperation.

Al-Jalajel noted that the Kingdom contributed to the establishment of the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools and COVAX Facility initiatives.

The Saudi minister further said that the total aid provided by the Kingdom through the initiatives and with direct support to developing countries amounted to approximately $770 million.

Al-Jalajel congratulated WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his reelection for a second five-year term and the renewal of the international community’s confidence in his leadership. 


No entry to Makkah without permit for expats

No entry to Makkah without permit for expats
Updated 27 May 2022

No entry to Makkah without permit for expats

No entry to Makkah without permit for expats
  • Measure will maintain order and security around holy sites, experts say

MAKKAH: The General Directorate of Public Security has required expatriates wishing to enter Makkah for Hajj to obtain a permit from authorities starting Thursday.

For expatriates to enter the holy city, one of the following documents is required: An entry permit to work in the holy sites issued by the competent authority, a residency permit (iqama) issued from Makkah, an Umrah permit or a Hajj permit.

Brig. Gen. Sami Al-Shuwairekh, the spokesman for Public Security, said that the measure was in line with the regulations for the Hajj pilgrimage for this year.

“As per these instructions, only expatriates who obtain a permit for entry to Makkah will be allowed into the holy city from Thursday. They can obtain permits from the competent authorities. All vehicles and residents that do not have the required documents will be turned back,” Al-Shuwairekh said.

Ahmed Saleh Al-Halabi, who specializes in Hajj and Umrah services, told Arab News that the changes are a result of years of monitoring entry to the holy sites. Practical measures can safely organize the entry of residents to Makkah, he said.

“This is in order to eradicate all sorts of infiltration of the holy sites, especially for residents who do not hold permits, and who are on vacation from their work and head to Makkah to work, or stay with their relatives and friends, and then infiltrate the holy sites to perform the pilgrimage. And as a result, they stay on sidewalks and sleep there which would impact the environment and the level of public cleanliness,” he added.

Dr. Othman Qazzaz, head of the media research and studies department at the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research, told Arab News that the Kingdom is also making efforts to improve logistics services during Hajj, aiming to host a successful pilgrimage season.