Campers in Saudi Arabia enjoy cool weather, host friends and families in nature

The National Center for Vegetation and Combating Desertification is working on long-term vegetation restoration, protection and rehabilitation of its sites, and the expansion of green spaces throughout the Kingdom. (Photos/Supplied)
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The National Center for Vegetation and Combating Desertification is working on long-term vegetation restoration, protection and rehabilitation of its sites, and the expansion of green spaces throughout the Kingdom. (Photos/Supplied)
Campers in Saudi Arabia enjoy cool weather, host friends and families in nature
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The National Center for Vegetation and Combating Desertification is working on long-term vegetation restoration, protection and rehabilitation of its sites, and the expansion of green spaces throughout the Kingdom. (Photos/Supplied)
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Updated 28 December 2021

Campers in Saudi Arabia enjoy cool weather, host friends and families in nature

The National Center for Vegetation and Combating Desertification is working on long-term vegetation restoration, protection and rehabilitation of its sites, and the expansion of green spaces throughout the Kingdom. (Photos/Supplied)
  • Camping permits come with pledge to preserve Saudi wilderness areas
  • New regulations for privacy of families

RIYADH: Camping weekends have long been a favorite winter pastime for Saudis, who erect their own tents or rent shelters in popular wilderness areas.

But this year the experience will be different, with campers requiring a special permit issued for the purpose of “preserving vegetation,” according to Abdul Rahman Al-Dakheel, a spokesman for the National Center for Vegetation and Combating Desertification.
The center last week announced the establishment of 63 sites in various parts of the Kingdom, with space for over 30,000 campsites for government agencies and individuals.
Al-Dakheel said that the declared camping sites were located in vegetation areas and national parks overseen by the center.
Suleiman Al-Tomi, like many of his peers, spends most winter weekends camping at his own campsite near his home town in northeastern Saudi Arabia, where he hosts his friends, and provides them with coffee, tea, and ginger milk.
Al-Tomi, a teacher, said that the winter environment motivates him to spend more time at the camp, where he and his friends take turns making a range of dishes, mainly lamb or camel meat and rice.

In the context of environmental conservation and pollution reduction, the Ministry of the Environment has set aside several centers to contribute to improving the quality of life for people in the Kingdom by preserving the environment through issuing strict regulations and laws. There is the body of environmental security forces which aims at protecting the environment and preventing wood cutting and pollution.

Fahd Turkestani, Chairman of the World Federation of Muslim Scouts’ environment committee

Salim Al-Shilaghi is keen to camp in the wilderness for several days. He praised the recently introduced procedures and controls for camping, which contribute to the regulation of camping sites and the arrangement of suitable free sites to ensure a clean environment for campers.
New regulations taken into consideration for the privacy of families, he added.
The center emphasized the importance of adhering to the controls required for camping in accordance with relevant regulations, the environment law, and the conservation and cleanliness of camping sites.
He urged people to show consideration and polite behavior while camping, and to ensure sites are left clean and well maintained.
The National Center for Vegetation and Combating Desertification is working on long-term vegetation restoration, protection and rehabilitation of its sites, and the expansion of green spaces throughout the Kingdom.
The center aims to protect plant diversity in natural environments and preserve resources while addressing environmental challenges.
Khaled Al-Saleem, founder of the Green Land Association in Al-Jouf and Al-Khafji, said that vegetation faces a number of challenges, including overgrazing, particularly during flowering periods. One of the most significant threats is random grazing.
Al-Saleem said that cattle eat seeds before they dry out and mature, so a system must be put in place to prevent grazing during shrub growing periods until the seeds are released.

HIGHLIGHT

The National Center for Vegetation and Combating Desertification last week announced the establishment of 63 sites in various parts of the Kingdom, with space for over 30,000 campsites for government agencies and individuals.

Strict regulations had a significant impact by reducing destruction of vegetation, he added.
Al-Saleem, who also owns Noura Environmental Plant Nurses in Al-Jouf, said that camping controls were one of the center’s most important pioneering actions to regulate previously unorganized and uncontrolled camping, making it free of charge to people who signed a conservation pledge regarding vegetation at the site and cleaning of the location.




The Green Land Association also recycles, with a focus on agricultural waste, which is turned into organic fertilizer.

The permit applicant was entitled to carry out planting with the approval of the management of the center of the region who would advise the applicant on suitable trees permitted by the Ministry of Environment. This would contribute significantly to the preservation and cleanliness of the grasslands, he said.
Al-Saleem said that he had witnessed abuse of the wilderness, with waste left behind by campers leaving the area.
“However, with this regulation, the coordinates of each site, the name of its owner, and his statement are taken, and if he leaves the place unclean, he will be fined.”
Al-Saleem said that the association he founded in Al-Jouf and Al-Khafji takes part in a range of environmental conservation activities, both awareness-raising and on the ground.
The association also recycles, with a focus on agricultural waste, which is turned into organic fertilizer. It also recycles tires, which are more dangerous to the environment, especially when burned, turning them into products that are quite different from what they were designed for, such as utensils or tables.
Students who take part in afforestation campaigns understand the importance of trees and their benefits to the environment.
Day by day, people’s awareness increases as they become involved in the preservation of the environment through a number of initiatives, including afforestation and cleaning. Some started to grow trees in the wilderness as part of a personal initiative, he said.
Fahd Turkestani, chairman of the World Federation of Muslim Scouts’ environment committee, said: “In the context of environmental conservation and pollution reduction, the Ministry of the Environment has set aside several centers to contribute to improving the quality of life for people in the Kingdom by preserving the environment through issuing strict regulations and laws. There is the body of environmental security forces which aims at protecting the environment and preventing wood cutting and pollution.”
He said that people in Saudi Arabia are more aware of environmental issues than they were a few years ago, and acknowledge the efforts of government agencies to achieve environmental protection on a variety of levels, including dealing with waste.
Schools and universities have initiatives to help students realize the importance of protecting the environment, he added.
Turkestani, a former associate professor of chemistry at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, said the Saudi government’s interest in environmental conservation had become a reality, particularly since the launch of the Green Saudi Initiative and the Green Middle East Initiative.
These significant environmental undertakings have encouraged global corporations to compete in environmental conservation, and the provision of services and products related to this vital issue, he added.
Turkestani said that demand for camping naturally increases during the mild Saudi winter.
He warned against burning firewood inside tents because of the risk to health from smoke and carbon dioxide inhalation, and highlighted the importance of ensuring fires were situated well away from vegetation areas.

 


Saudi National Parks Program will benefit environment, communities and tourism, organizers say

The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
Updated 22 January 2022

Saudi National Parks Program will benefit environment, communities and tourism, organizers say

The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
  • The program, launched this month, includes plans to establish 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s recently launched National Parks Program will benefit the environment and local communities, and provide a boost to sustainable tourism and by attracting local and foreign visitors, according to the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification.

The program, unveiled by the center this month, includes plans to establish and enhance 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures. It also includes the planting of 50 million trees as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.
Abdul Rahman Al-Dakhil, a spokesman for the center, said that the program will help to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification project and the Saudi Green Initiative.
He added that the center will promote and develop the parks program by supporting afforestation efforts and sustainable ecotourism initiatives, while helping to protect the environment in partnership with governmental organizations.
“The program will be implemented in phases, whereby the first phase will target 100 national parks and turn them into sustainable landmarks, followed by other phases and goals,” Al-Dakhil told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The program, unveiled by the center this month, includes plans to establish and enhance 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures. It also includes the planting of 50 million trees as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.

• Some areas of land allocated for the development of national parks have special historical, cultural, geological or archaeological significance. The project includes some of the most important sites in the Kingdom, including the Edge of the World, which is located northwest of Riyadh and was formed about 180 million years ago, and the ancient Muawiyah Dam, also known as Saysad Dam.

“Achieving tourism and environmental balance is one of the most important criteria while developing any park.”
The planting of more wild trees will be be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations.
Some areas of land allocated for the development of national parks have special historical, cultural, geological or archaeological significance. The project includes some of the most important sites in the Kingdom, including the Edge of the World, which is located northwest of Riyadh and was formed about 180 million years ago, and the ancient Muawiyah Dam, also known as Saysad Dam.
Abdulrahman Alsoqeer, chairman of the Environmental Green Horizons Society, said that the Kingdom is experiencing an environmental renaissance, focused on preserving vegetation and expanding afforestation efforts, that is attracting global attention. The National Parks Program is part of this green renaissance, he added.
“Allocating lands for national parks is an important primary step in protecting the vast areas of government lands that are scattered and untapped, and converting them into vast vegetation reserves,” Alsoqeer told Arab News.
He said that there are a number of benefits to establishing and maintaining national parks, including the restoration of vegetation cover that has deteriorated drastically in the recent decades. It can also improve the quality of life by reducing the intensity of dust storms, improving the climate, and enhancing the visual landscape with the addition of more greenery.
In addition, a number of products can be derived from the plants cultivated in the parks, including honey provided by bees that will thrive among the wild plants.
Local communities in the vicinity of the parks will also benefit from increased employment and investment opportunities, enhanced biodiversity, the protection of endangered plant and animal species, and the enhancement of ecotourism and recreation options.


Who’s Who: Nezar Bakhsh, founder and CEO of Quant Alpha in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah

Nezar Bakhsh. (Supplied)
Nezar Bakhsh. (Supplied)
Updated 17 sec ago

Who’s Who: Nezar Bakhsh, founder and CEO of Quant Alpha in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah

Nezar Bakhsh. (Supplied)

Nezar Bakhsh has been the founder and CEO of Quant Alpha, an artificial intelligence investing system in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah, since March 2020.
Bakhsh has experience in algorithmic trading and disruptive strategy which will assist him in managing the platform and its business operations effectively.
He holds a 100 percent share in Quant Alpha, and draws on a professional team of IT, data, and Al scientists to manage the platform’s development and business generation activities.
His responsibilities as CEO of Quant Alpha include communicating with shareholders, government entities, and the public, leading the development of the company’s short and long-term strategy, and creating and implementing the company’s vision and mission.
He also evaluates the work of other executive leaders within the company and maintains awareness of the competitive market landscape, expansion opportunities, industry developments, and other factors.
He works to ensure that the company maintains high social responsibility wherever it does business, and assesses risks to the company and ensures they are monitored and minimized.
He is also tasked with providing overall direction to the business and regularly evaluating the company’s overall success.
Prior to that, Bakhsh was the CEO of Estidama between June 2018 and March 2020, and the chief technology officer at Naissance Technologies from May 2017 to May 2018.
Bakhsh also worked as a robotics laboratory assistant at Florida’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University from August 2014 to May 2015.
He gained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2015 and his master’s degree, also in electrical engineering, from Penn State in 2017.


First phase to document the path of Prophet’s journey completed

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
Updated 22 January 2022

First phase to document the path of Prophet’s journey completed

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
  • The initiative is part of the preparations to inaugurate Jabal Thawr Cultural Center in Makkah, which seeks to enrich and broaden tourists’ experience

MAKKAH: The organizers of “Rihlat Muhajir” (An Emigrant Journey) have announced that the first phase of the initiative to document the path of the Prophet’s emigration has been completed.

The work with specialists and researchers in the Prophet’s biography is part of the preparations to inaugurate the Jabal Thawr Cultural Center in Makkah, which seeks to enrich and broaden tourists’ experience. This is the aim of Samaya Investment, a company specializing in cultural projects, including national museums, exhibitions, and activities.

Samaya CEO Fawaz Al-Merhej said the “Muhajir” initiative is documenting the path of the Prophet’s emigration using modern technology in aerial documentation and panoramic photography 360.

He said that in the first phase, which was launched on Dec. 20 last year, the team sought all the locations that were cited on the path of the Prophet’s emigration, starting from Cave Thawr on Mount Thawr in Makkah, passing through 40 stations all the way to Quba Mosque in Madinah.

He said the idea of documenting the route came up when they were considering how to present the story of the Prophet’s migration in the Jabal Thawr Cultural Center.

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. During the second stage the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones based on the locations’ coordinates.

The biggest challenges they faced, he said, were the bumpy roads, and the fact that some historical sites had their names changed over time.

A number of scholars specialized in Islamic history and the Prophet’s biography helped in this investigation, including Professor Mohammed bin Samil Al-Salami and Professor Saad bin Musa Al-Musa, of the Department of History and Islamic Civilization at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, and Professor Sulaiman bin Abdullah Al-Suwaiket and Professor Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Omari, of the Department of History and Civilization at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, who are also members of the scientific committee of the Atlas Biography of the Prophet. Professor Abdullah bin Mustafa Al-Shanqiti, specialized in the landmarks of Madinah and the Prophet’s Biography, also participated in some stages of the project.

 


Diriyah’s historic At-Turaif ‘a new lifestyle destination’ in Saudi Arabia

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Dalya Mousa shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 22 January 2022

Diriyah’s historic At-Turaif ‘a new lifestyle destination’ in Saudi Arabia

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
  • The historic district will offer world-class education to nurture the future cultural leaders of the Kingdom, including the opening of King Salman University, six academies and new public schools

RIYADH: A two-day Diriyah art forum is building links between Saudi cultural authorities as part of a broader plan to make the At-Turaif district a lifestyle and culture destination.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority, the body overseeing the development of the historic site, is taking part in the event.
Dalya Mousa, DGDA director of culture, spoke about new projects and developments set to take place in Diriyah, including At-Turaif district, the first capital of Saudi Arabia and an important political and historical site.
Speaking on the importance of At-Turaif — one of six heritage sites recognized by UNESCO in the Kingdom — Mousa told Arab News: “When we are talking about At-Turaif, we are talking about the first Saudi capital in the 18th century.

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“We are talking about the foundation of the Kingdom, with really diverse cultural landscapes and architecture that goes back 300 years. We aim to show the world how people used to live here and we will include museums, galleries and ancient palaces in the plans.”
The director also shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district.

Culture plays a vital role in our lives. It reflects our identity and shapes our future. Our mission is to create a best in class culture platform that connects Diriyah’s past with its present and future.

Dalya Mousa, DGDA director of culture

Mousa said: “Culture plays a vital role in our lives. It reflects our identity and shapes our future. Our mission is to create a best in class culture platform that connects Diriyah’s past with its present and future.
“When we talk about art and culture, it includes visual art, performances, commissions, collections, traditional arts and crafts, multimedia urban intervention and more,” she added.
“At-Turaif will have cultural museums, cultural academies, a cultural district and most importantly, art commissions across the master plan. We’re talking about digital libraries and archives, in-house expertise, capacity building, traditional arts and craft schools, and more.”
The historic district will also offer world-class education to nurture the future cultural leaders of the Kingdom, including the opening of King Salman University, six academies and new public schools.
Diriyah will also contain boutique hotels and resorts as part of its strategy to become a premium lifestyle destination where visitors can shop and dine in the presence of unique cultural history.
Mousa said that “working with and for the local community” will strengthen Diriyah’s creative ecosystem across cultural sectors in alignment with the Ministry of Culture’s plan to celebrate the town nationally, regionally and globally.
Launching Diriyah as the culture capital of the Middle East 2030, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority partnered with the Ministry of Culture and Diriyah Biennale Foundation on a series of multidisciplinary cultural programs to achieve that goal.


Saudi aid agency rolling out relief projects worldwide

KSrelief rolling out aid projects worldwide. (SPA)
KSrelief rolling out aid projects worldwide. (SPA)
Updated 23 January 2022

Saudi aid agency rolling out relief projects worldwide

KSrelief rolling out aid projects worldwide. (SPA)

AMMAN: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has rolled out aid projects in numerous countries.

Winter supplies, including 8,840 blankets and 4,420 winter family packs, were distributed in the governorates of Amman, Balqa, Karak, Tafileh, and Mafraq to needy Jordanian families and Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan.

This aid is part of a project implemented by the Kingdom to alleviate the suffering of disadvantaged families during winter and meet their basic needs.

Meanwhile, the prosthetic limbs and physical rehabilitation center in Seiyun, Yemen, has continued to provide medical services for Yemenis through the support of KSrelief.

FASTFACT

Since its inception in May 2015, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has implemented 1,814 projects worth more than $5.5 billion in 77 countries.

The center provided 1,433 services for 432 beneficiaries in one month, including the manufacturing, fitting and maintenance of prosthetic limbs for 169 patients, covering delivery, measurement and maintenance services.

It provided other treatments for 263 patients, including physical therapy and consultation sessions.

It comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts, represented by KSrelief, to improve the capacities of the health sector in Yemen.

In Afghanistan, KSrelief is distributing food and providing shelter to needy families as part of the Saudi relief airlift to support the Afghan people. It distributed nearly 19 tons of aid, which included 300 food baskets, 600 flour bags and 250 blankets in the Qala-e-Fathullah district of Kabul, helping 300 families.

The center has continued to distribute aid to those affected by the floods and to the neediest families in Sudan. It distributed more than 12 tons of food baskets in the Omdurman locality, benefiting 2,100 people.

Worldwide, KSrelief has implemented 1,814 projects worth more than $5.5 billion in 77 countries, carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners since the inception of the center in May 2015.

According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen, Palestine, with projects worth $368 million, Syria ($322 million) and Somalia ($209 million).