Officials behind a multibillion-dollar Saudi megaproject on Thursday took part in World Nature Conservation Day to highlight the importance of preserving the environment and natural resources.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority’s sustainability plan focuses on creating a thriving community in a desert environment with all its necessary infrastructure while protecting fragile ecosystems.
Observed annually on July 28, World Nature Conservation Day aims to raise awareness about environmental protection, conserving natural resources, and the impacts of climate change.
One of the DGDA’s key missions is to use the power of innovation to actively revitalize and regenerate historic Diriyah in harmony with nature, while also positively empowering the local community to embrace greener lifestyles.
The project is a key contributor to Saudi sustainability goals and is aligned with Vision 2030 and the Saudi Green Initiative.
While the impact of Vision 2030 will be felt across all regions and sectors of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s cities are expected to demonstrate improved environmental sustainability.
The authority recently achieved the US Green Building Council’s LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) for Cities Platinum precertification for the first phase of the Diriyah Gate development, recognizing its commitment to meeting the highest national and international standards in sustainability.
The Saudi Green Initiative, as a part of Vision 2030, brings together environmental protection, energy transformation, and sustainability programs to work toward three overarching targets to achieve the common goal of a green future, namely reducing emissions, greening Saudi Arabia, and protecting land and sea. The DGDA will contribute to all three targets of the Saudi Green Initiative.
Throughout the development, the priority will be to include native and drought-tolerant species within the landscaping, which will contribute to significant enhancement of the natural setting and ensure irrigation demand is reduced.
The authority has also prioritized the protection and rehabilitation of valuable natural resources, such as the wadis and escarpments within the project area. The careful revitalization and protection of wadis, desert landscapes, and escarpments are at the core of the scheme.
For example, the preservation of Wadi Hanifah’s historical date palm farms and the substantial planting of native species in the area will contribute to a greener Riyadh.
In addition, the Diriyah site contains cultural assets that highlight the Kingdom’s biodiversity and natural resources, contributing to the education of the community on the country’s conservation efforts.
Through the study and implementation of energy demand reduction and energy efficiency measures, the authority will contribute toward the reduction of carbon emissions and support national efforts to address the impacts of climate change.
At a community level, the DGDA aims to help residents understand the importance of nature preservation by hosting online educational resources, conducting workshops in schools, leading campaigns such as the Plant Your Land initiative, and developing a supervisory area planning framework to promote agricultural studies in universities.
Earlier this year, the authority encouraged the local community to adopt eco-friendly living practices through the 3-R approach of reduce, reuse, and recycle, while promoting the use of sustainable cloth tote bags and reusable water bottles instead of plastic bags and bottles.