Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem

Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem
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Mangroves provide pastures for camels on islands in the Red Sea that give high-quality nutrition to camels in coastal locations during the winter. (Supplied)
Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem
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Mangroves provide pastures for camels on islands in the Red Sea that give high-quality nutrition to camels in coastal locations during the winter. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 January 2022

Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem

Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem
  • Authorities plan to plant 10 billion mangrove trees across the Kingdom as part of the Saudi Green Initiative

JEDDAH: As part of the Saudi Green Initiative, which was launched last year with the aim of tackling climate change, reducing carbon emissions and improving the environment, 10 billion mangrove trees will be planted across the Kingdom.

Mangroves, ancient coastal plants that grow partly submerged in salt water and thrive in warmer climates around the world, are considered a cornerstone of coastal environmental development and so have a key role to play in achieving the objectives of the initiative.

Ahmed Almansi, a coastal and marine environment consultant at the National Center for Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification, told Arab News that mangroves grow along the coasts of the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

“This provides an impetus for the center to cultivate more mangroves in these environments,” he added.

According to the center, two types of mangroves commonly grow on the Red Sea coast: Avicennia marina, commonly known as gray or white mangrove, and Rhizophora mucronata, also known as loop-root, red or Asiatic mangrove. They are highly sensitive to cold. 

“Mangroves grow in the form of scattered patches in the intertidal areas of the Red Sea coast and are lower in height in the northern regions,” the center said. “The reason for these differences in height may be the low temperatures that the bushes are exposed to in the northern part of the Red Sea in winter.”

The avicennia marina type of mangroves that grow in the Asir and Jazan regions are the largest found on the Saudi coast, the center said, and “the coastal areas and patches of the Red Sea that contain mangroves in the Kingdom cover an estimated area of about 35,500 hectares.”

There are a number of reasons why mangroves are considered so important to environmental and conservation efforts. They have the ability to absorb pollutants such as heavy metals and other toxic substances from water, which helps to protect seagrass and coral reefs.

FASTFACT

• The trees can protect coastal communities, provide shelter for wildlife, absorb pollution and help to combat climate change.

They also act as natural filters for sewage, preventing pollutants originating on land from reaching deep waters. And the trees help to mitigate the effects of climate change as they can absorb larger amounts of carbon from the atmosphere compared with other tropical trees.

Mangroves also form “green barriers” that serve as a first line of defense for coastal communities, protecting them from damage caused by storms and waves, preventing erosion and helping to stabilize beaches.

“These green barriers absorb at least 70 to 90 percent of wave energy generated by the winds,” said Almansi. “They are also able to reduce the intensity of tsunami waves by mitigating the catastrophic amount of wave energy associated with them, which helps reduce the loss of life and property damage.”

In addition, mangroves act as shelters and incubators for many species of fish, crustaceans and birds, providing them with a good source of nutrition. They provide nesting and resting locations for many types of resident and migratory birds, strong communities of which are considered a biological indicator of ecosystem quality. The National Center for Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification has identified 125 species that use mangrove habitats at some point in their life cycles.

Land-based animals also benefit from mangrove swamps. They provide pastures for camels on islands in the Red Sea, and provide high-quality nutrition for camels in coastal locations during the winter.

Despite their clear environmental benefits, mangroves are under threat globally from urbanization, encroachment, overgrazing, pollution, the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and the improper disposal of waste. The development of the tourism industry is another significant threat. But efforts are being made in Saudi Arabia to preserve and enhance this precious natural resource.

“The center is planting mangroves to rehabilitate these environments, using 60 cm long seedlings,” Almansi said, adding that nylon nets are used temporarily to protect the young plants, prevent seaweed and waves from damaging them, and encourage strong root growth and stability.


Saudi Arabia takes part in World Tourism Day 2022

There will be many unique and futuristic offerings in Saudi Arabia as the country continues to develop. (SPA)
There will be many unique and futuristic offerings in Saudi Arabia as the country continues to develop. (SPA)
Updated 19 sec ago

Saudi Arabia takes part in World Tourism Day 2022

There will be many unique and futuristic offerings in Saudi Arabia as the country continues to develop. (SPA)
  • The ministry aims to raise awareness of the importance of tourism in Saudi Arabia as an axis and a fundamental pillar of development within the objectives of Vision 2030

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Tourism is taking part in celebrations for World Tourism Day 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, on Sept. 27, to promote tourism as a key pillar of development.

The ministry aims to raise awareness of the importance of tourism in Saudi Arabia as an axis and a fundamental pillar of development within the objectives of Vision 2030.

Recognizing the importance of human capital development, the ministry launched the largest national strategy for capacity development and tourism competencies in the Kingdom, which aims to prepare qualified national cadres with the highest international standards.

The strategy also aims to empower entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium tourism establishments through a package of distinctive programs to bring about a qualitative leap that reflects the ambition of the tourism sector to enrich the experiences of tourists.

Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization, said: “This year, especially, we also recognize that we cannot go back to the old ways of working. The 2030 agenda for sustainable development remains our end goal.

“We must rethink tourism. As the world opens up again, we must learn the lessons of the past; through crisis, we have seen where we can build more resilience and deliver more fairness,” he added.

Furthermore, the Saudi ministry is paying attention to the tourism industry in the Kingdom in terms of its organization, development and promotion in a way that enhances the role of the sector and overcomes obstacles to its growth.

It is allowing registrations for the Tourism Pioneers Program, which provides training opportunities in 10 prestigious global universities and educational institutions specialized in the sector.

 


Saudi counter-extremism center works with Telegram to remove five million extremist posts in past two months

A general view shows the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology shortly before its inauguration in Riyadh. (AFP)
A general view shows the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology shortly before its inauguration in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 18 min 8 sec ago

Saudi counter-extremism center works with Telegram to remove five million extremist posts in past two months

A general view shows the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology shortly before its inauguration in Riyadh. (AFP)
  • Since the collaboration began in February, more than 7 million examples of extremist content have been removed from the instant messaging service

RIYADH: More than five million examples of extremist content were removed from instant messaging service Telegram in the space of just two months.

The Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, also known as Etidal, on Monday said that between July 17 and Sept. 13, its work with a task force from Telegram to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism resulted in the deletion of 5,269,078 items from the platform. They included 3,012,489 messages relating to Tahrir Al-Sham, a militant group involved in the Syrian civil war, 1,168,447 about Al-Qaeda, and 1,088,142 about Daesh.

Since the collaboration began on Feb. 21, Etidal said 7,146,016 examples of extremist content has been removed from Telegram to protect users from threats and damaging ideological influences. They include messages in Arabic that contained various types of media files, including PDFs, videos and audio recordings.

Mubarak Al-Aati, a Saudi writer and analyst. (Supplied)

Mubarak Al-Aati, a Saudi writer and political analyst, said that Etidal is showing that it is efficient and serious in its efforts to confront the rhetoric of extremism and the ideas of terrorism. He told Arab News that the organization’s work to combat the threats on the local, regional and global levels is well known, and its work with high-profile partners such as Telegram will help to reduce the extremist influence on social media and in other public online spaces.

“It will restrict the danger of such materials to society and make pertinent bodies address their responsibilities to preserve and maintain the security of society,” said Al-Aati.

Etidal is a global organization tasked with combating and rooting out examples of extremism, addressing them, and promoting a culture of tolerance and coexistence among peoples. It was established on May 21, 2017, during the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh with the aim of promoting, monitoring and analyzing a culture of intellectual moderation in collaboration with regional and international networks. Its headquarters are located in the Saudi capital.

Al-Aati said the center has enjoyed a number of successes so far in its work to tackle the menace of extremism and terrorism. He stressed the importance of the continuation of its painstaking efforts, along with the role of the wider international community in adopting a firm stance in opposition to states that support and sponsor terrorism and extremism and try to use extremist ideologies as a way to spread havoc and chaos.

 


UK PM thanks Saudi crown prince for role in release of British detainees

UK PM thanks Saudi crown prince for role in release of British detainees
Updated 21 min 14 sec ago

UK PM thanks Saudi crown prince for role in release of British detainees

UK PM thanks Saudi crown prince for role in release of British detainees
  • Liz Truss expressed her thanks during a phone call with Prince Mohammed during which he congratulated her on her new role

RIYADH: Britain’s prime minister thanked Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his role in securing the release of five British detainees held by Russia-backed forces in Ukraine last week, Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

Liz Truss expressed her thanks during a phone call with Prince Mohammed during which he congratulated her on her new role and wished her success.

The crown prince also said he looked forward to working with Truss for the benefit of the Kingdom and the UK.

Prince Mohammed also extended his condolences to the prime minister on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and congratulated King Charles III on his accession to the throne.

The two leaders also reviewed bilateral relations between their countries and ways to develop them within the framework of the Saudi-British Strategic Partnership Council.


European languages are the talk of Riyadh

European languages are the talk of Riyadh
Updated 26 September 2022

European languages are the talk of Riyadh

European languages are the talk of Riyadh
  • The EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, in partnership with the Riyadh Language Exchange, will host a European Night of Languages at the Hyatt Regency Riyadh on Wednesday
  • Participants at the event will have the chance to test their language skills with staff from several EU embassies and learn basic words and phrases in other languages

RIYADH: Saudi and EU partners have come together to mark the European Day of Languages and promote better communication and cultural understanding.

The EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, in partnership with the Riyadh Language Exchange, marked the day on Monday as it prepared to host a European Night of Languages on Wednesday.

Participants at the event at the Hyatt Regency Riyadh will have the chance to test their language skills with staff from several EU embassies, learn basic words and phrases in less common languages, and play games and quizzes.

Patrick Simonnet, the EU’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “Europe is known for its cultural and linguistic diversity. Almost two-thirds of Europeans are able to converse in one or more foreign languages. Language is what connects us as people and enables us to communicate and better understand one-another.

“It is encouraging to see that also more and more Saudis are interested in learning languages. There has never been a better time to learn a new language and reap the socioeconomic benefits that multilingualism has to offer, from global access to knowledge and education to better job opportunities and greater cultural understanding.”

Mohammed Matham, co-founder of the Riyadh Language Exchange, a Saudi non-profit organization, said he was pleased to partner with the EU for the event.

“Our efforts over the past four years to support the practice of languages and cultural exchange are bearing fruit,” he added.

“It is a great privilege to partner with the EU delegation to organize such an exceptional event.”

The European Day of Languages was also marked at the SEK International School and the German International School, both in Riyadh, where students participated in activities focused on language learning.

Alliance Francaise and the Goethe-Institut both offered a free beginners’ class in French and German respectively.

The annual celebration is organized by the European Commission and the Council of Europe to promote linguistic diversity and cultural heritage, reinforce cultural understanding, and encourage people of all ages to learn languages.


Saudi ambassador to Yemen meets UN special envoy in Riyadh

Saudi ambassador to Yemen meets UN special envoy in Riyadh
Updated 26 September 2022

Saudi ambassador to Yemen meets UN special envoy in Riyadh

Saudi ambassador to Yemen meets UN special envoy in Riyadh
  • Al-Jaber emphasized the Kingdom’s support for UN efforts to extend the truce in Yemen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber met with the UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg in Riyadh on Monday.

During the meeting, Al-Jaber emphasized the Kingdom’s support for UN efforts to extend the truce in Yemen to reach a complete ceasefire and a comprehensive political solution in the war-torn country.

The truce was first implemented on April 2 and is due for renewal on Oct. 2.

Earlier this month, Grundberg met with the head of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Al-Alimi in Riyadh where they discussed ongoing efforts to implement the truce and the importance of negotiating its extension and expansion.