SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Saudi Arabia’s plan to plant 10 billion trees in the Kingdom over the coming decades is receiving backing and assistance from international bodies and institutions, Ahmad Alanazi, the head of Saudi afforestation efforts, told Arab News.
The project is one of more than 60 initiatives that form part of the Saudi Green Initiative goals, announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year.
The crown prince said the Kingdom would also work with other Arab states on the world’s largest reforestation program as part of the Middle East Green Initiative to plant an additional 40 billion trees.
Speaking at the ongoing COP27 Summit and ahead of an SGI event that begins on Friday, Alanazi told Arab News that hundreds of experts are helping the Kingdom reach its goal.
“We have a study to set up for a master plan for the 10 billion trees that will, by the end of the study, contain all the requirements,” said Alanazi, general manager of the afforestation program at the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification.
“We have a consortium of local and international companies and also (Saudi) universities such as KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) and also King Faisal University. There are a lot of international companies within this project.
“Also, we have cooperation with international organizations … so we’re talking about more than 100 experts working with us and 10 entities that are helping us.”
According to the SGI targets, 10 billion trees would help rehabilitate 40 million hectares of Saudi land, restore vital ecological functions, improve air quality and reduce sandstorms. The Kingdom has already planted 8.4 million trees, according to government figures.