RIYADH: Marine environment experts from around the world recently gathered in Riyadh for a seminar to discuss ways to protect the future biodiversity of the Red Sea.
Saudi Deputy Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Mansour Al-Mushaiti on Wednesday opened the workshop, organized by the National Center for Wildlife, to coincide with UN World Oceans Day.
Delegates attending the conference, titled “The Role of Scientific Research and Cooperation with Relevant Authorities in Preserving the Environments of the Red Sea,” focused on 12 key subject areas concerned with ensuring the long-term viability of Red Sea ecosystems.
World Oceans Day, held annually on June 8, aims to raise global awareness about the impact of human activity on oceans, and this year’s theme was “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean.”
Addressing the workshop, Al-Mushaiti said humanity relied on having a healthy planet that could only exist with a thriving and sustainable marine environment.
“Oceans and seas are a source of food for millions of people, a source of mineral resources and energy for life on the planet, and a major economic resource on which more than 3 billion people depend for their livelihood,” he added.
The minister noted that studies and data had shown that human activity was depleting the oceans faster than they could be replenished, posing critical challenges that required immediate action.
Chief executive officer of the National Center for Wildlife, Mohammed Qurban, highlighted the importance of scientific research in helping to improve marine environments as a major source of food, water, and oxygen.
He said: “Given the importance of scientific research in advancing all aspects of life and finding solutions to urgent issues, the center organized this workshop in which a number of concerned parties have participated in order to achieve maximum benefit from the (12) working papers.”
Qurban pointed out that the center was involved in ongoing projects to rehabilitate and protect damaged marine environments while promoting the preservation of coastal areas.
He added that it was further developing and implementing plans to address threats to land and marine wildlife, and protect endangered species, with the overall goal of restoring the natural ecological balance of ecosystems.
In a recent tweet, Saudi Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, said: “Happy #UNWorldOceansDay #SaudiArabia strives for harmony between human and natural habitats via sustainable management of the world’s oceans, a critical element of the biosphere. @MEWA_KSA @NEOM @TheRedSeaGlobal.”