The Middle East cyber front line aiming to beat back AI-powered threats

The 2023 Global Cybersecurity Forum is set to take place in Riyadh in November, and will be held under the theme ‘Charting Shared Priorities in Cyberspace.’ (Supplied)
The 2023 Global Cybersecurity Forum is set to take place in Riyadh in November, and will be held under the theme ‘Charting Shared Priorities in Cyberspace.’ (Supplied)
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Updated 23 August 2023
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The Middle East cyber front line aiming to beat back AI-powered threats

The Middle East cyber front line aiming to beat back AI-powered threats
  • Companies in the region face a growing threat from phishing, hackers and email scams as they embrace new technologies

DUBAI: Technology has advanced at breakneck speed over the past decade, with many processes, from shopping and banking to energy production and shipping, moving online, saving both time and labor, while also improving accessibility.

However, all of these advances also bring a range of new threats, including those seeking to exploit outdated centralized cybersecurity controls, resulting in an increase in cyberattacks and online criminal activities.

As more of the global economy moves into cyberspace, addressing the international cybersecurity threat is expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.




Phishing, baiting and email hacking are common forms of gaining unauthorized access to information. (Shutterstock)

Middle East nations are no exception to this — and are perhaps especially vulnerable to cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as oil and gas fields, power plants, ports and airports, considering the region’s vital role in energy production.

A 2022 analysis by cybersecurity company Kaspersky showed that the Middle East was one of the top five regions in the world with the highest percentage of malware blocked in industrial control systems that year.

Two years earlier, IBM data showed that the average cost of a cyberattack on organizations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia was $6.53 million, about 69 percent higher than the global average.

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$105tr

As more of the global economy moves into cyberspace, addressing the international cybersecurity threat is expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

The second quarter of 2022 showed a 168 percent increase in the frequency of phishing attacks, hacking and online scams in Saudi Arabia compared with the previous quarter.

“It is true that there has been a surge in the frequency of cyberattacks targeting Saudi Arabia, but it is vital to stress that this is part of a broader global uptick in illicit activity in the digital space,” Ashraf Koheil, the Middle East, Africa and Turkiye regional director at cybersecurity firm Group-IB, told Arab News.

“Companies and organizations across all verticals and regions are having to respond to increased numbers of phishing attacks, ransomware attempts and scams.”




Mohamed Hashem,
KSA and Bahrain general manager, Kaspersky

According to Koheil, the roots of cybercriminal activity are often intertwined with socioeconomic factors.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a global economic powerhouse that is undergoing an incredibly rapid digital transformation that has created a wealth of jobs and opportunities,” he said.

“In this context, one would expect to see cybercriminals try to take advantage of this in their attempts to trick unwitting members of the public into interacting with phishing pages or scam websites in their attempts to achieve illicit financial gain.”

FASTFACTS

• IBM’s 2020 data showed that the average cost of a cyberattack on organizations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia was $6.53 million, about 69 percent higher than the global average.

• Generative AI models have lowered cost and difficulty of carrying out phishing attacks, which makes Arabic-speaking countries such as Saudi Arabia particularly susceptible.

Another driver is that the public’s use of e-commerce platforms has increased dramatically in Saudi Arabia over the past few years.

Safwan Akram, managed security services director for Saudi Arabia at cybersecurity provider Help AG, says that more consumers are carrying out the majority of their shopping online, with e-commerce revenues expected to show a compound annual growth rate of 13.5 percent between 2023-2027, according to data from ecommerceDB.

“This provides an attractive target for bad actors seeking to obtain information such as user credentials and banking account details,” he told Arab News.




Safwan Akram, Managed Security Services Director – Saudi Arabia, Help AG.

Moreover, the cost and difficulty of carrying out a phishing attack has gone down dramatically due to the emergence of generative artificial intelligence models, which makes Arabic-speaking countries such as Saudi Arabia particularly susceptible.

“Previously, attackers were limited in their ability to target the Kingdom’s residents with phishing emails, as many of the attackers did not know how to write in Arabic. However, with generative AI models, attackers can generate well-written, seemingly trustworthy phishing emails and messages in a variety of languages at the click of a button,” Akram said.

Saudi Arabia has been leading its digitization journey by prioritizing cybersecurity ... as the boundaries of digitization and technology expand, so does the cyberattack surface, because of new vulnerabilities.

Mohamed Hashem, KSA and Bahrain general manager, Kaspersky

Saudi Arabia is home to a thriving fintech community, with many new companies cropping up, regulated by the Saudi Central Bank.

“Many of these fintech companies are startups that may not have a mature cybersecurity system in place compared to established enterprises — leaving them vulnerable to attacks,” Akram said.

With that in mind, Gulf countries that are obvious targets for hackers from around the globe are working diligently with public-sector cybersecurity providers to protect their infrastructure.




Ashraf Koheil, Regional Sales Director META at Group-IB.

The cybersecurity market in the Middle East and Africa is projected to reach $36.2 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent over the next five years, according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets.

“Saudi Arabia has been leading its digitization journey by prioritizing cybersecurity,” Mohamed Hashem, general manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at Kaspersky, told Arab News.

This is reflected in the country’s formation of entities such as the Global Cybersecurity Forum Institute and the Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority, which are responsible for the development, implementation and supervision of security strategies.

Since their inception, these institutions have launched many cybersecurity initiatives, including the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity and National Academy of Cybersecurity.

This year, these initiatives helped the Kingdom to secure second place in the Global Cybersecurity Index in the World Competitiveness Yearbook, a ranking created by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development, or IMD.

Kaspersky’s latest reports also show a 1 percent decrease in phishing attacks in Saudi Arabia during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2022.

Hashem believes that the decrease may be a result of proactive steps taken by the Saudi government and organizations to implement strong cybersecurity measures and invest in the right technology to protect their systems and data from cyberthreats.

“However, it is notable that as the boundaries of digitization and technology expand, so does the cyberattack surface, because of new vulnerabilities,” he said.

These vulnerabilities are commonly exploited by cybercriminals, leading to increases in phishing attacks, hacking and online scams.

“Social engineering techniques that thrive on human emotions such as fear, greed, curiosity and excitement are commonly used by cybercriminals to manipulate people,” Hashem said.

He said that phishing, baiting, contact spamming and email hacking are common forms of social engineering techniques leveraged to deceive people and gain unauthorized access to information, identity theft and other personal information.

Phishing attacks involve an email, instant message or SMS message pretending to be from a trusted source asking for information, while baiting involves creating a trap to exploit an individual’s curiosity, commonly through a USB stick loaded with malware or an email offering exclusive deals through an attachment.

While there are sufficient resources and efforts made by regional governments and banks to increase the level of awareness around financial phishing attacks and online scams, gaps in education and awareness still exist.

“The fact that we see more and more of these phishing attacks suggests that they are effective and successful, which means that there is still more work that can be done when it comes to training and awareness,” Renze Jongman, an intelligence enablement manager at cyber defense firm Mandiant, told Arab News.

According to Mandiant’s “Global Perspectives on Threat Intelligence Report,” 44 percent of respondents reported that their organization had suffered a significant cyberattack in the past 12 months.

The report also showed that 98 percent of those surveyed believe that they needed to be faster at implementing changes based on available threat intelligence.

As with any other crime, hacking, phishing and online scams increase in frequency if they are successful, Jongman said.

He said that one of the main factors encouraging cybercrime is the existence of “cybercrime-as-a-service” networks — groups that operate professionally and at scale to facilitate the creation of online scam campaigns.

“Near-impunity or the ability to stay (near) anonymous on the Internet, the scale of the problem and the trans-national nature of cybercrime, make it a hard-to-investigate and hard-to-prosecute crime type,” Jongman said.

He said that cybercriminals operated knowing that there was only a very small chance that they would have to face the consequences of their actions.

Additionally, targeting specific companies or industries allows cybercriminals to zoom in on high-value targets, and espionage actors to collect classified and confidential information on very specific topics, Jongman said.

“After all, people looking for a new job will gladly talk about the work they have previously done,” he said.

However, by proactively monitoring threats such as these, companies can protect both their brand and their customers.

Companies that are most successful in protecting themselves against these threats use threat intelligence to detect and respond to these attacks when they occur.

As a result, these organizations arm themselves with the knowledge of what they are defending themselves against, which allows them to take preventative action.

“Simple things like checking red flags in an email, keeping an eye out for typos in an email or text, or using an antivirus, can be of great help,” said Hashem of Kaspersky. “Ignorance is not bliss when cybercrime overpowers your life online and offline.”

 


How Saudi Arabia’s hunting laws are protecting its wildlife

How Saudi Arabia’s hunting laws are protecting its wildlife
Updated 38 sec ago
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How Saudi Arabia’s hunting laws are protecting its wildlife

How Saudi Arabia’s hunting laws are protecting its wildlife
  • Saudi Arabia has strict laws regarding hunting, regulating bag limits and prohibiting some species from being hunted entirely
  • The Kingdom’s Special Forces for Environmental Security help enforce the country’s environmental regulations

RIYADH: Though far from the wild tundra of Alaska and the wide grasslands of South Africa, Saudi Arabia still offers hunters and falconers an engaging hunting experience. Hunting has been a popular activity in the country for many years, attracting both locals and tourists.

However, hunting can also have a severe negative impact on native wildlife. Overhunting in the past led to the serious decline of many species, from the Arabian leopard to the ibex and oryx.

In recent times, along with a multitude of other eco-friendly measures, the Kingdom has implemented strict rules and regulations governing animal hunting to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations and protect endangered species.

The Special Forces for Environmental Security agency is helping the Kingdom enforce wildlife-protection regulations. (SPA)


Hunting laws and regulations

In Saudi Arabia, individuals who wish to engage in hunting must first obtain necessary permits from the authorities. There are two main types of hunting permits available — recreational permits for personal use and commercial permits for hunting activities conducted for profit.

Certain hunting practices are strictly prohibited, such as using automatic weapons, hunting during breeding seasons, and targeting endangered species. Bag limits and size restrictions are also in place for different game species to prevent excessive hunting and maintain healthy population levels.

Furthermore, safety regulations, such as wearing appropriate hunting gear and practicing firearm safety, are enforced to protect both hunters and the surrounding environment.

Violators of these laws can expect fines and the confiscation of their hunting equipment, with hunting without a license using firearms costing rule-breakers $21,300. Poaching or hunting protected species can lead to substantial fines and even imprisonment.

 

The Special Forces for Environmental Security agency is helping the Kingdom enforce wildlife-protection regulations. (SPA)

Law enforcement and monitoring

These laws and regulations are enforced by Saudi Arabia’s Special Forces for Environmental Security, or SFES. Using modern technology and social media, SFES has enhanced its outreach, enabling it to intervene in illegal activities such as hunting, logging, and the sale of wild animals, thereby safeguarding the country’s rich biological diversity.

Patrol activities have been initiated across various provinces to ensure the adherence to conservation laws, reflecting a proactive approach to wildlife management. This month, the SFES announced the arrest of two Saudi citizens for hunting without licenses inside the King Salman Royal Natural Reserve.

The SFES also enforces the Kingdom’s other environmental laws, including illegal logging and grazing of livestock in prohibited areas.

DID YOUKNOW?

Prohibited for hunting at any time: Animals include Arabian leopards, hyenas, wolves, jackals, lynxes, sand cats, martens, and honey badgers. Gazelles include Arabian oryx, reem (sand) gazelle, mountain gazelle, and Nubian and Persian gazelles. Every type of indigenous bird.

The fine for unauthorized hunting in Saudi Arabia is SR10,000 ($2,666). The fine for harming living animals is from SR1,500 to SR200,000.

Hunting is permitted in places designated by the National Center for Wildlife and announced periodically.

Hunting pregnant females of wild animal species, as well as interfering with their nests, eggs, or habitats, is strictly prohibited.

Earlier this year, the NCW’s campaign #ProtectSaudiWildlife asked everyone to pledge to protect and conserve the rich biodiversity of Saudi Arabia.  

At the beginning of each wild hunting season, the center issues a list of the types of wild animal species permitted to be hunted during the wild hunting season, and the quantities during the license validity period.

Protected species and environmental havens 

Various types of animals are protected under special laws, including endangered species such as Arabian leopards, Arabian wolves, and the terrestrial birds known as houbara bustard. Through the implementation of hunting regulations, the country has witnessed the revival of populations of endangered species such as the famed Arabian oryx.

Abdulmajeed Al-Dhaban, executive vice president of operations at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve, praised the Kingdom’s strict hunting laws and highlighted the central role they play in the protection of the natural environment of the region.

The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve, established in 2018, is a more than 91,000 sq km eco-tourism reserve dedicated to protecting the more than 180 plant and 60 animal species living within its borders.

Fines for huntingprotected birds and animals

Arabian leopard SR40,000 ($10,664)

Arabian oryx SR70,000 ($18,662)

Arabian wolf SR80,000 ($21,328)

Arabian sand gazelle SR25,000 ($6,665)

Houbara bustard SR25,000 ($6,665)

Spiny-tailed lizard SR3,000 ($799)

 

The reserve is also governed by a comprehensive set of regulations covering beekeeping, entry and transit, grazing, visiting and camping, recreational activities, and sustainable fishing.

“By establishing these integrated guidelines, we aim to strike a careful balance between preserving the reserve’s delicate ecosystems and allowing controlled public access and use. Our goal is to safeguard the natural wonders of this protected area while also facilitating responsible enjoyment and appreciation by the local community and visitors,” Al-Dhaban told Arab News.

The reserve was used for a groundbreaking conservation program — the reintroduction of the Arabian oryx, which had been extinct in the wild since 1972. Since its establishment in 2021, the program has reintroduced hundreds of oryxes back into their natural habitat.

The Saudi Green Initiative Day reflects Saudi Arabia’s vision and dedication to fostering a culture of sustainability. (SPA)

Community engagement 

Saudi Arabia has also engaged in joint conservation projects with entities such as the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

However, those in the Kingdom dedicated to conservation stress the need for a community-based approach, with Saudi Arabia’s own citizens getting involved.

“At the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Reserve Development Authority, we’re deeply committed to cultivating environmental awareness and engaging the community in our initiatives,” Al-Dhaban said.

“Our goal is to contribute to sustainable development and environmental protection through a diverse array of beneficial projects. We firmly believe that empowering the community to participate in these efforts is key to making a lasting, positive impact.”

Abdulmajeed Al-Dhaban, executive vice president of operations at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve. (Supplied)

The authority’s main priority is to sustain the preservation for future generations through initiatives, projects, and events organized throughout the year with the participation of individuals from all age groups.

“The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Reserve Development Authority is keen to raise awareness among young people and children of the importance of preserving the purity of nature and promoting their sense of responsibility from a young age toward the environment, wildlife and innate organisms, the attack on which is contrary to religious values and human principles. A simplified awareness-raising content is provided that explains the importance of preserving wildlife and flora and the individual’s responsibility toward the environment,” Al-Dhaban said.

The King Khaled and Imam Abdulaziz bin Mohammed royal reserves have several tourist attractions, organized with local businesses, including stargazing, camping, safaris, hiking, and horse and camel riding. (IARDA PHOTO)

Throughout the year, the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Reserve Development Authority organizes numerous events such as the Zubaida Trail Winter Festival and celebrations of holidays such as Eid Al-Adha, all of which include many activities that integrate environmental awareness, education, and recreation for the whole family.

One of the authority’s most recent projects, launched in May in partnership with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification, is a tree-planting initiative with the participation of primary school students.

“This was not the first time that the reserve had organized afforestation and seedling farming initiatives with the participation of community volunteers, as the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Reserve has so far grown more than 600,000 trees,” Al-Dhaban said

Ecotourism

As Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry grows under the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, so too does the ecotourism trend in the country.

The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Reserve Development Authority supports productive families and entrepreneurs through interactive initiatives aimed at developing job skills, which in turn enable the protection of the natural environment, biodiversity, and environmental balance, the promotion and preservation of community heritage, and the revitalization of ecotourism.

Connecting with animals and their habitats is a vital aspect of fostering a deeper appreciation for nature and wildlife, promoting environmental conservation, and enhancing personal well-being through interaction with nature.

In Saudi Arabia, some preservation efforts have taken a unique approach by opening resorts within these habitats. Under the guidance of the Sustainable Tourism Global Center, announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the COP26 conference in 2021, Saudi firms aim to build high-end resorts and lodges to promote eco-friendly adventures and agritourism.

These resorts offer a blend of luxury accommodation and immersive wildlife experiences, allowing guests to appreciate the power and beauty of Saudi Arabia’s diverse natural environments — and hopefully, fostering a sense of care about their preservation for generations to come.

Rewilding Arabia
Return of the leopard is at the heart of plans to conserve and regenerate Saudi Arabia’s landscapes and wildlife
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Prince Majid Park blooms with entertainment, culture and fun for Jeddah Season

Characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. (Supplied)
Characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. (Supplied)
Updated 12 July 2024
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Prince Majid Park blooms with entertainment, culture and fun for Jeddah Season

Characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. (Supplied)
  • Little friend land is a paradise for young adventurers, where children can immerse themselves in a world of Lego, unleash their imagination with whiteboards and paper, and enjoy a variety of engaging activities

JEDDAH: The highly anticipated Jeddah Season 2024 has officially launched with the opening of Prince Majid Park, the season’s first free zone. The park, the largest in Jeddah, promises a wide range of entertainment for all ages, from exhilarating shows to captivating cultural experiences.

Visitors enter a whimsical world, beginning in flower land, where flower-themed characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. The centerpiece of the zone is a magnificent fountain, its cascading water dancing to music and creating a breathtaking visual spectacle.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

Next, art land offers a haven for budding artists and art enthusiasts, where children can unleash their creativity in workshops, crafting candles and engaging in various art projects. Skilled artists display their creativity and talent in dedicated booths, offering visitors the opportunity to have their portraits painted. Exhibitions by local artists provide a platform for artistic expression and cultural exchange.

“It’s incredibly enjoyable to share my art with the visitors,” said Mohammed Salim, an Egyptian artist, as he sketched a visitor’s portrait. “There are so many of us here, creating live drawings and paintings, either capturing the faces of the people who come by or working from images they bring us. It’s a wonderful way to showcase our talents and connect with people on a very personal level.”

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

Little friend land is a paradise for young adventurers, where children can immerse themselves in a world of Lego, unleash their imagination with whiteboards and paper, and enjoy a variety of engaging activities.

Likewise, festival land is a vibrant hub for shopping, dining and games, where visitors can browse through a selection of shops, indulge in culinary delights at the food court, and enjoy live musical performances at the mini-stage.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

The main stage at Prince Majid Park transforms into a hub of entertainment, hosting four shows daily, with performances ranging from dazzling circus acts with breathtaking acrobatics to electrifying DJ sets that will leave audiences in wonder. For those seeking a tranquil escape, wood land offers a labyrinth game and a lush green area.  

Adding to the festive atmosphere, parade shows burst on to the scene every half hour, creating a whirlwind of energy and excitement. Each show lasts 30 minutes, adding a vibrant layer to the park’s atmosphere. A show by stilt walkers, with participants dressed in colorful costumes, adds a touch of eccentricity with three daily shows.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

For those seeking a break from the festivities, the park offers a spacious play area with swings and slides, ensuring fun for children of all ages.

“I’ve never seen a park quite like Prince Majid Park,” said Najm Fatima, a local resident. “It’s a vibrant explosion of colors, laughter and entertainment. It’s a place where everyone can find something to enjoy, whether you’re an art enthusiast, a thrill-seeker, or just looking for a relaxing day out.”

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

Her friend, Sarah, said: “The kids are having a blast, especially with the stilt walkers and the Lego building area. It’s truly a place for families to make memories together.”

Mohammed Ali said that he had never seen children so enthralled by art as he watched a group of children excitedly sketching alongside him. “Their energy at Prince Majid Park is infectious, reminding us that art and performance can bring joy and wonder to people of all ages,” he said.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. This grand celebration of Jeddah Season 2024 promises a memorable experience, offering attractions that cater to all tastes and interests.

While entry to the park is free, visitors still need to book ticket online through the Saudi Events app.

 


4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off

4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off
Updated 12 July 2024
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4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off

4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off
  • Fahd Muftah: "the festival comprises 50 areas, 45 of which are dedicated to farmers and five to government agencies"

AL-BAHA: Jedaia Al-Qahtany, the assistant undersecretary for development affairs of Al-Baha, inaugurated on Friday the fourth edition of the Khayrat Al-Baha Festival at Al-Shafa Park under the patronage of Al-Baha Gov. Prince Hussam bin Saud.

Fahd Muftah, director of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s branch in Al-Baha, said the festival comprises 50 areas, 45 of which are dedicated to farmers and five to government agencies.

He said the five-day festival, along with various entertainment events, will organize workshops, seminars, and courses with the aim of developing farmers’ skills, marketing agricultural products, providing agricultural extension services, and raising awareness on topics pertaining to the field.

 


Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day

Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day
Updated 12 July 2024
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Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day

Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day
  • The Kingdom’s Conjoined Twins Program has treated around 139 sets of conjoined twins from countries around the world since its launch in 1990

WARSAW: The Saudi Embassy in Poland organized a cultural and educational event to celebrate the UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 of every year as World Conjoined Twins Day, an initiative by the Kingdom to raise awareness of these human conditions, celebrate achievements in the field of separation surgeries and introduce the Saudi Program for Conjoined Twins Separation.

The event was attended by Polish officials and parliamentarians, the Polish twins Daria and Olga Kolacz, the president and students of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Promoting Cultural and Educational Dialogue in Janikowo, Poland, and the city’s deputy mayor, as well as a number of media personnel and diplomats.

 

 


Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs

Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs
Updated 12 July 2024
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Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs

Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs
  • The event was held on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
  • Madinah achieved the gold level in the SDG Cities program, awarded by UN-Habitat

NEW YORK: The Madinah Region Development Authority took part in the “Quality of Life Initiative to Accelerate the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals”, an event organized by the Quality of Life Program — one of the initiatives under Saudi Vision 2030 — and the UN Human Settlements Program.
The event was held on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at UN headquarters in New York from July 8 to 18.
Participants included Nava Guerrero, the mayor of Queretaro, Mexico, and Abdulrahman bin Hassan Ibrahim, executive director of data and innovation at the MDRA.
He drew attention to Madinah’s efforts in localizing sustainable development goals and its selection as one of the first five cities in the global Quality of Life Index initiative. He also highlighted Saudi authorities’ efforts to localize sustainable development goals.
Madinah achieved the gold level in the SDG Cities program, awarded by UN-Habitat. This makes Madinah the first Saudi city, the first in the Arab world, and the third globally to receive this recognition.
UN-Habitat is a program that works for a better urban future by contributing to the development of socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements and ensuring adequate shelter for all.