King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve to plant 3.1 million trees in Saudi Arabia by 2027

King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve to plant 3.1 million trees in Saudi Arabia by 2027
A royal decree calls for royal reserves that are open to the public, but it forbids hunting, overgrazing, logging, and camping. (SPA/File)
Short Url
Updated 17 March 2022

King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve to plant 3.1 million trees in Saudi Arabia by 2027

King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve to plant 3.1 million trees in Saudi Arabia by 2027

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve recently announced its goal to plant 3.1 million trees by 2027.

“We will implement a part of it independently, while the second part will be implemented in partnership with the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification,” said reserve CEO Maher Al-Gothmi.

He said there were many projects to resettle wildlife in the reserve, in collaboration with the National Center for Wildlife, and there were also cleaning campaigns to remove waste from the reserve.

The reserve had five goals in mind, he added.

These were preserving and redeveloping wildlife, improving the visitor experience, engaging the private sector, achieving and regulating access to the reserve, and offering a variety of hospitality options.

“We are working in accordance with our strategy to increase the participation of the private sector in improving the experience of our visitors by offering environmentally friendly investment opportunities,” he told Arab News.

Al-Gothmi hoped to make the reserve a tourist attraction in the region.

“We are keen to have quick and real contributions to developing the visitors’ experience while maintaining the priority of protecting and developing wildlife.”




Eng. Maher Al Gothmi, CEO of the King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve. (Supplied)

The King Abdulaziz Reserve is linked administratively to the Royal Reserves Council, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority, which the Minister of Interior oversees, is in charge of supervising the reserve and working to develop it by approving the necessary regulations to achieve its goals.

This work is done in collaboration with various sectors, while also increasing private sector participation in implementing the authority's projects and achieving its goals.

Al-Gothmi said: “In terms of security, we are proud of the Special Forces for Environmental Security and their efforts to protect and develop wildlife in accordance with the regulations approved by the authority's board of directors. We collaborate with them to achieve the reserve's objectives.”

The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve is taking numerous steps to protect the region's environment.

“We are collaborating with the SFES, and we will soon launch a group of rangers who will support environmental security efforts, as well as educate and guide visitors. We focused on selecting them from the reserve's local community to contribute to the local community's involvement in protecting the wildlife in the reserve.”

A royal decree calls for royal reserves that are open to the public, but it forbids hunting, overgrazing, logging, and camping.

Al-Gothmi said the Saudi government supported the environmental cause and that the establishment of royal reserves, the SFES, and national environment centers were all part of this support.

He believed the Saudi leadership's goals of protecting and developing wildlife and revitalizing ecotourism could be achieved with coordinated efforts from government agencies, the private sector, and community awareness.


Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic
Updated 13 sec ago

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic
  • The pandemic put a halt to the Hajj for two years, leading to huge losses for some families who solely depended on the pilgrimage season to reap its financial rewards

MAKKAH: Residents of Makkah benefit financially during the Hajj as millions of people from all over the world converge on the holy city to perform the annual pilgrimage.  

But the pandemic put a halt to the Hajj for two years, leading to huge losses for some families who solely depended on the pilgrimage season to reap its financial rewards.  

Elaf Al-Mashaer, a local five-star hotel, is all set to welcome over 20,000 pilgrims this year, and the team has prepared the place to be as comfortable as possible to ensure a smooth stay for guests.

“We must know the number of guests who will stay in the hotel and their nationalities so that we can provide them with what they need,” hotel owner Abdulaziz Al-Sharbeeni told Arab News.

The 304-room establishment has several restaurants to cater to guests’ palates. “Each nationality has its own culture or a certain way of eating. We have Indian, Pakistani, East Asian, and Arabic restaurants.”

It has also made modifications and preparations to make the rooms and suites accessible to people with disabilities.

“Some pilgrims come alone, so we give them a room on request, while others come with their families, so we give them a suite,” Al-Sharbeeni said. “There is a target we must achieve during the Hajj season as a facility, and the most important seasons in the year to achieve these financial goals are the Ramadan and Hajj seasons.”

The Hajj season attracts a large and diverse crowd, and everyone who visits Makkah enjoys shopping for gifts. They also use taxis, hospitals, restaurants, and other services and amenities, providing locals with many economic opportunities.

“I sell gold in the local market, and Hajj season is considered our opportunity to reach the target. So I’m more than happy that Hajj is back because we miss the pilgrims and we love interacting with them and welcoming them,” said Ahmed Al-Suliman.

Al-Suliman said there were more opportunities for work during the Hajj as significant manpower was required to serve, manage, and help with the influx of pilgrims.

“The people of Makkah, in particular, want to take advantage of the Hajj season. Young and old are working this season, and even if someone sells a bottle of water for SR1 ($0.27), he will earn a lot of money. You can apply for seasonal field jobs through the website of the Ministry of Hajj and the official platforms.”


Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj

Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj
Updated 1 min 20 sec ago

Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj

Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj
  • Guests will be assigned incognito to help evaluate Hajj services according to a pre-studied scientific methodology

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched a performance initiative aimed at measuring pilgrims’ satisfaction at service provision during this year’s Hajj season.

Assistant deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, Hesham Saeed, signed a joint cooperation agreement with acting secretary-general of the coordination council, Dr. Abdullah Al-Muwaihi, in relation to the program.

Al-Muwaihi said the monitoring scheme would involve measuring quality-of-service performance and beneficiary satisfaction, while also including an incognito guest program, all designed to improve and enrich worshippers’ spiritual experience.

Under the incognito initiative, Saeed said a designated guest would, “serve as a pilgrim under mission, who lives the full experience of Hajj, starting from the country of the pilgrim, passing through the holy sites, and performing the rituals until they return to their country.

“The assigned incognito guest will be living all the details, seeing what contact points they pass through, and will give an evaluation according to a pre-studied scientific methodology regarding the measurement criteria,” he added.

 

 

 


A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022

A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022
Updated 13 min 3 sec ago

A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022

A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022
  • Pilgrims from outside the Kingdom must submit a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of their departure

JEDDAH: A million Muslims from around the world will perform the Hajj this year, in line with the quotas allocated to each country and following recommendations from the Saudi Ministry of Health.

The Hajj was limited to 60,000 vaccinated citizens and residents from the Kingdom in 2021 to contain the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of pilgrims and others.

But, following Saudi Arabia's successful implementation of precautionary measures for Hajj and Umrah seasons during the pandemic, pilgrim capacity has been raised to 1 million.

This year's Hajj is for people aged 65 and under who must comply with the requirement to complete a COVID-19 vaccination program.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah tweeted that pilgrims from outside the Kingdom must submit a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of their departure for Saudi Arabia.

It said the shots required for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia included one for meningitis for people who had not been vaccinated in the past five years. They are also required to get the flu vaccine. Local pilgrims must take these vaccinations at least 10 days before going to the Hajj.

Figures from the General Authority of Statistics showed that, during the pandemic's peak in 2020, the number of pilgrims plummeted to just 1,000. The decision to restrict capacity was based on risk assessment and public health and safety concerns.  

There were almost 2.5 million pilgrims at the Hajj in 2019, and 1.9 million were from overseas.

The highest number of local and foreign Hajj pilgrims in the past decade was in 2012 when nearly 3.2 million people performed the annual pilgrimage. The lowest was 1.9 million in 2016.


Arafat sermon to be translated into 14 languages

Arafat sermon to be translated into 14 languages
Updated 28 min 37 sec ago

Arafat sermon to be translated into 14 languages

Arafat sermon to be translated into 14 languages
  • 200m people globally expected to hear message of moderation, tolerance

MAKKAH: Live translation of the Arafat Day sermon, one of the most important events on the Islamic calendar, has been expanded to include 14 languages as Saudi Arabia’s leadership seeks to convey a message of moderation and tolerance to the widest possible audience.

Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said that the Kingdom’s leadership is offering unlimited support to the development of the Prophet’s Mosque and Grand Mosque’s services.

As the live translation of the Arafat sermon enters its fifth year, the project has been expanded to include 14 languages, he said.

A media tour of the live translation site at Al-Nimra Mosque on Thursday was followed by a media briefing for the project at the presidency’s headquarters.

During the meeting, Al-Sudais said that the leadership is keen to convey Islam’s message of moderation and tolerance to the world, using modern technology to serve pilgrims and visitors.

Live translation of the Arafat Day sermon is a wide-ranging project for the world, and particularly for visitors to the holy sites, enabling non-Arabic speakers to listen in their native language, he said.

At that same location, the Prophet Muhammad made his declaration of human rights, the teachings of Islam and women’s rights, and adherence by the Sunnah.

The translation benefitted 1 million people in its first year, 11 million in its second, 50 million in its third, 100 million in its fourth and will reach 200 million people around the world in 2022, he added.

He said that the sermon was initially translated into two languages. This was increased to five and, later, 10 languages.

The leadership later approved translations in English, French, Malay, Urdu, Persian, Russian, Chinese, Bengali, Turkish and Hausa, with Spanish, Indian, Swahili and Tamil added to the list this year.

Al-Sudais said that the Saudi leadership supervised the advancement of the international live translation project to satisfy people of faith, fairness and wisdom around the world, adding that the project takes a stand against violence, extremism and terrorism.

King Salman emphasizes the importance of caring for pilgrims, and Saudi Arabia will always take pride in pursuing this mission with the highest efficiency, Al-Sudais said.

With this year’s Hajj season the largest since the coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom will also ensure the well-being of pilgrims, allowing them to perform rituals with comfort and ease, he said.

Al-Sudais added that the translation project aims to convey a message of righteousness, justice, tolerance and moderate Islam to the world.

Along with human rights and the teachings of Islam, the Prophet affirmed the elimination of racism and sectarianism, he said.


Deal signed to reduce food waste in Saudi Arabia

Deal signed to reduce food waste in Saudi Arabia
Updated 38 min 12 sec ago

Deal signed to reduce food waste in Saudi Arabia

Deal signed to reduce food waste in Saudi Arabia
  • The “Negaderha” project by Savola plans to initiate campaigns targeting households in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The National Transformation Program, one of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiatives, recently signed an agreement with the Saudi Grains Organization and the Savola World Foundation to minimize food waste in the Kingdom.

The “Negaderha” project by Savola plans to initiate campaigns targeting households in the Kingdom as part of the deal.

The project has already distributed more than 1 million food containers to 143,000 households to combat food waste.

The NTP and SAGO plan to empower nonprofit organizations and ensure food security through making businesses more sustainable, encouraging volunteering, and limiting food waste.

The Savola World Foundation was established in 2019 under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development. It is a nonprofit organization focused on social development and preserving the environment.

The NTP was founded in 2016, and seeks to establish the infrastructure and conditions that will allow the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to implement the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

This will be done by reforming government operations, supporting digital transformation, promoting private sector development, forming economic partnerships, advancing social development, and ensuring the sustainability of key resources.