Saudi Yoga Committee teams up with ministry for community wellness initiative

Saudi Yoga Committee teams up with ministry for community wellness initiative
Princess Mashael bint Faisal Al-Saud, left, and Huda bint Abdullah Al-Haidari, at the signing event. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 04 May 2024
Follow

Saudi Yoga Committee teams up with ministry for community wellness initiative

Saudi Yoga Committee teams up with ministry for community wellness initiative
  • As part of agreement between the committee and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, workers will be encouraged to integrate yoga into daily routines
  • Workers in ministry-run care centers and shelters will also get tools to help manage stress, improve focus, and enhance overall levels of physical and mental health

RIYADH: The Saudi Yoga Committee and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development on Saturday signed an agreement to collaborate on promoting the benefits of yoga in the community, with the aim of enhancing well-being and presenting the activity as a way to improve quality of life.
Under the agreement, officials said, employees will be encouraged to integrate yoga practices into their daily routines, and workers in ministry-run care centers and shelters will be provided with tools to help them manage stress, improve focus, and enhance overall levels of physical and mental health.
They added that the committee and the ministry are committed to creating harmonious and balanced workplaces that prioritize the holistic well-being of employees and people they work with, in line with the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 national development plan.
Princess Mishael bint Faisal, the vice chair of the Saudi Yoga Committee, and Huda Al-Haidari, director of the ministry’s social responsibility department in Riyadh region, took part in the signing ceremony for the agreement.
“It’s a very important step for creating equal opportunities for all segments of society and investing in youth human capital, which is considered as one of the goals of Vision 2023,” said Princess Mishael.
“The crown prince said that it is the largest wealth owned by the Kingdom, so investing in it is a renaissance for society and the realization of the vision.”
The collaboration will offer people the chance to participate in a variety of sports and therapeutic yoga techniques and help harness the benefits of sports science to serve society, she added.


Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old

Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old
Updated 22 June 2024
Follow

Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old

Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old
  • Located between the Sarawat and Tihamah mountains, the apiaries feature beautiful engineering with remarkable design specifications for honey production

TAIF: Maysan governorate, located in western Saudi Arabia's Sarawat mountain range, showcases stunning archaeological scenes of some of the most important and impressive environmental engineering formations. These include approximately 1,200 beehives that were a major source of daily sustenance for the early inhabitants of the place.

The apiaries in Maysan have become a primary source for the production and sale of Saudi honey, which is deeply embedded in the Kingdom’s culture and trade. These sites date back to ancient history, highlighting the community’s longstanding interest in honey in Maysan.

Abdul Wahab Al-Khudaidi, a history enthusiast, confirmed that the Al-Kharafi apiaries are situated between the Sarawat and Tihamah mountains and are believed to be over 1,000 years old.

The beehives of Maysan are paved with stones in intricate geometric patterns, spanning up to four levels. (SPA)

These apiaries feature beautiful engineering with remarkable design specifications for honey production. The structures are paved with stones in intricate geometric patterns, spanning up to four levels.

The site is difficult to access, requiring navigation through a designated path by an experienced individual. The honeycombs are reinforced with solid stones and columns to support the floors, which are constructed from large, closely positioned stones in balanced shapes.

Al-Khudaidi noted that the ancient beehives in the villages of Maysan and Bani Al-Harith, which are part of Makkah province, are intricately designed with multiple levels and floors nestled between steep, solid mountains.

The hives, dating back over 10 centuries, serve as evidence of the place’s authenticity and deep-rooted history. The famous mountains are a summer resort for visitors and locals, a historical legacy celebrated in their poems, and home to towering forts and castles that highlight the importance of the villages' history.

An ancient tower overlooks the Sarawat mountains in Maysan governorate of Makkah province. (SPA)

The structures testify to the rare profession practiced by the ancestors in beekeeping and honey extraction, producing various types of honey such as Acacia, Summer, and Seyal.

Al-Khudaidi pointed out that the initial apiaries were carefully located between mountain peaks to benefit from the diverse array of local aromatic plants.

These mountains host more than 50 species, including Rue, Basil, Marjoram, Lavender, among other wildflowers.
 


Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris

Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris
Updated 22 June 2024
Follow

Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris

Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris
  • The pavilion, organized by the General Authority for Military Industries, sought to welcome investors from all over the world

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia concluded its participation in the global defense and security exhibition Eurosatory 2024 in Paris on Friday, where officials sought to boost partnerships with France, the state news agency SPA reported.

The Saudi pavilion participating in the exhibition, which started on Monday, saw wide interaction and a large presence to view the latest achievements, products and developments of the military industries sector in the Kingdom, SPA reported.

The pavilion, organized by the General Authority for Military Industries, sought to welcome investors from all over the world looking to invest in the military industries sector, and the efforts made to develop research and innovation in the sector.

It also reviewed the most prominent policies, legislation and incentives in Saudi Arabia that contributed to stimulating the process of localization and empowerment of the sector, enhancing supply chains and investment opportunities, and the importance of concerted efforts to achieve the military industries sector strategy.

On the sidelines of Eurosatory 2024, the governor of GAMI, Ahmed Al-Ohali, took part in the activities of a Saudi-French Day, where he spoke about building industrial and defense partnerships between Saudi Arabia and France, while the deputy governor of the authority’s empowerment sector, Saleh Al-Aqili, touched on the regulatory framework and organization of local content policy in the Kingdom.

Several meetings were also held at the pavilion with other entities participating in the exhibition, where a number of initiatives and partnerships were instigated.

Many parties from the public and private sectors joined forces to showcase at the pavilion, including the Ministry of Investment, represented by the Invest in Saudi Arabia platform (Invest Saudi), the General Authority for Defense Development, and a number of Saudi national institutions and companies specializing in the field of military industries.

They included the Saudi Arabian Military Industries, Saudia Technic, Life Shield, Scopa, the Arabian International Company, the Saudi Leather Industries Company, the Al-Esnad Military Industries Group, KRMC, and the World Defense Show.

The Kingdom’s military industries are localizing and empowering the sector in “attracting qualitative investments that will effectively contribute to building a prosperous economy and a sustainable industry,” SPA reported.


Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity

Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity
Updated 22 June 2024
Follow

Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity

Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity
  • The Kingdom’s representative to the UN says this is particularly important given the role of cybersecurity in protecting vital national interests and security
  • He tells the UN Security Council the sector has developed rapidly and dynamically, and helped to advance the field domestically, regionally and globally

LONDON: The need for a safe and reliable cyberspace that can help enable growth and prosperity is more urgent than ever, Saudi Arabia said as it urged all nations to prioritize efforts to strengthen cybersecurity.

Abdulaziz Al-Wasel, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, said it was time for the international community to adopt a serious and practical approach, in collaboration with the UN, to unifying international efforts to combat threats. This is particularly important given the role cybersecurity plays in protecting the vital interests of countries and national security, he explained.

His comments came on Thursday during a UN Security Council debate about evolving cyberspace threats under the heading “maintenance of international peace and security,” the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

Al-Wasel highlighted the work and rapid progress of the Kingdom’s cybersecurity sector, which he said was established as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan for national development and diversification. The sector has developed rapidly and dynamically, he added, helping to advance the field domestically, regionally and globally.

The Kingdom began its transformative journey by developing a model for cybersecurity that is based on centralized governance and decentralized operability, he said, and falls under the responsibility of national authorities. The model is distinguished by its comprehensive framework for dealing with all aspects related to cybersecurity, whether legislative, security-focused, economic or developmental.

In 2017, Saudi authorities established the National Institute for Cybersecurity, and the Kingdom’s efforts in the field have resulted in several international achievements, one of the most most notable of which was earning second place globally, and first in the Arab world, the Middle East and Asia, in the International Telecommunication Union’s 2020 Global Cybersecurity Index.

And this week Saudi Arabia topped the global cybersecurity rankings in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2024, which is compiled by the World Competitiveness Center of the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. In the overall World Competitiveness Index for 2024, the country climbed to 16th place, having ranked 24th in 2022 and 17th last year.

Al-Wasel also noted the launch in 2020 of the Global Cybersecurity Forum in the Kingdom, an international platform that brings together decision-makers from around the world to discuss strategic issues related to cybersecurity. More than 120 countries attended the forum last year, during which the International Cybersecurity Forum Foundation was established, with its headquarters in Riyadh, to aid the enhancement of cybersecurity at an international level.

“The Kingdom is keen to unify regional efforts to cooperate in enhancing regional cybersecurity, which resulted in the establishment of a specialized ministerial committee for cybersecurity under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council, based on a proposal from the Kingdom,” Al-Wasel said.

Another proposal by the Kingdom led to the establishment in September last year of the Council of Arab Cybersecurity Ministers, under the aegis of the Arab League, with its general secretariat and executive offices in Riyadh.

The UN welcomed the work of the Kingdom in the sector and said: “Saudi Arabia also provides capacity-building exercises worldwide, with over 40 states and organizations participating in such training.”


How solar-powered desalination allows Saudi Arabia to produce potable water sustainably

How solar-powered desalination allows Saudi Arabia to produce potable water sustainably
Updated 22 June 2024
Follow

How solar-powered desalination allows Saudi Arabia to produce potable water sustainably

How solar-powered desalination allows Saudi Arabia to produce potable water sustainably
  • Desalination of seawater allows parched Gulf nations to access plentiful water for farming and human consumption
  • To cut emissions, the Kingdom is adopting renewable energy sources to power its filtration and treatment plants

RIYADH: In regions with limited rainfall, desalination is a practical means of sourcing plentiful water for farming and human consumption. However, the process of turning seawater into freshwater is notoriously energy intensive.

Indeed, desalination is a significant contributor to carbon emissions in the water-scarce Arabian Peninsula. That is why Saudi Arabia has been investing in green energy sources to power its desalination plants.

“Using renewable energies for desalination is crucial as it contributes to reducing the operation’s carbon footprint and water production costs,” Sultan Al-Rajhi, spokesperson for the Saudi Water Authority, told Arab News.

 

 

Due to the scarcity of freshwater resources in a region with a rapidly growing population, seawater desalination is essential to keep pace with demand, he added.

“Saudi Arabia depends on desalination of seawater due to the nature of the desert climate, in which the presence of surface water and natural rivers is rare,” Al-Rajhi said.

In fact, desalination accounts for about 75 percent of the Kingdom’s water supply.

“Therefore, investment is being made in desalination of seawater to meet the demand for population and economic growth witnessed in the Gulf region as a whole.”

Each year, the Kingdom requires an average of 5.5 billion cubic meters of freshwater. The need for water is especially high during the Hajj and Umrah seasons, when well over a million pilgrims arrive from around the world.

Home to more than 37 million people, the Kingdom is the world’s third-largest consumer of water per head of population. Agriculture alone accounts for around 84 percent of total water consumption.

An alfalfa farm in Riyadh region's Wadi Ad-Dawasir governorate. (Supplied)

Desalination is a complex process that involves removing salt and other impurities from seawater. Since the process requires a significant amount of energy, adopting renewables such as solar to power these facilities has become a top priority.

“To develop climate-resilient infrastructure for sustainable desalination, Saudi Arabia should prioritize innovative and renewable technologies,” Abdulaziz Daghestani, area sales director of water utilities and country director at Grundfos, told Arab News.

Grundfos is a Danish company that is working with regional states to provide innovative pumping solutions for water supply, wastewater management, heating and cooling, and industrial processes. 

According to Daghestani, integrating advanced monitoring systems can help optimize desalination operations and enhance efficiency.

“Using real-time data and analytics, we can improve water management practices and make timely adjustments to meet the varying increasing demand for human consumption and agriculture,” he said.

The Qatrah program, which means “droplet” in Arabic, was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture in 2020, and aims to reduce excess water usage by eliminating waste, and encouraging the conservation and reuse of existing freshwater.

Its objective is to lower daily per-capita water consumption from 263 liters to 150 liters by 2030. To do this, the ministry has created a unified framework, known as the National Water Strategy, for the country.

However, despite these efforts to improve the sustainability of water systems, desalination remains a crucial means of meeting water demand, making the adoption of clean energy sources and efficient production techniques a critical priority.

DID YOUKNOW?

• In 2023, Saudi Arabia had a desalination capacity of 13.2m cubic meters per day.

• 7 million cubic meters of desalinated water have been generated by the Al-Khafji plant.

• Desalination accounts for 60 percent of the urban water supply in Saudi Arabia.

• Agriculture makes up 84 percent of the Kingdom’s water needs.

Al-Khafji Desalination Plant, located in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, is the world’s largest solar-powered water desalination project, providing the region’s water requirements through an innovative and environmentally friendly approach.

The plant can generate up to 90,000 cubic meters of freshwater per day using innovative technology created by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. 

Its new Solar Saline Water Reverse Osmosis method uses a process known as ultra-filtration during the pre-treatment phase.

A view of the Ras al-Khair water desalination plant, owned by the Saudi government's Saline Water Conversion Corporation, along the Gulf coast in eastern Saudi Arabia. (AFP)

The method involves forcing seawater through a semipermeable membrane that only allows water molecules to pass, while blocking the salt and other contaminants. The resulting purified water is then collected for distribution.

Since its launch in 2018, more than 7 million cubic meters of freshwater produced by the plant have already been utilized.

“Using reverse osmosis technology is considered to have the lowest rates of carbon emissions as a result of the increase in energy efficiency through the development of this field in recent years,” said Al-Rajhi.

“The rate of carbon emissions per cubic meter in some desalination systems has been reduced to 91 percent compared with thermal desalination systems.”

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Solar is not the only source of renewable energy that can be adopted to power the desalination process.

“This is in addition to the prospective use of hydraulic turbines to convert the kinetic energy resulting from the flow of water into electricity to generate clean energy,” said Al-Rajhi.

This shift toward renewables not only addresses the high energy costs associated with desalination but also supports Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainable development. 

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, has praised the Kingdom’s water conservation agenda, which is part and parcel with its environmental mission, the Saudi Green Initiative.

A farm in Wadi bin Hashbal, Saudi Arabia, was recently recognized by the Guinness World Records as the largest sustainable farm in the world. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia is correct to prioritize “not over-extracting and being very wise around environmental management.”

“That is why we are quite impressed by the Saudi Green Initiative,” she told Arab News.

This transition to cleaner energy sources reflects a strategic decision to enhance the Kingdom’s energy efficiency and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, while simultaneously addressing the challenges posed by climate change.

Integrating renewable energy into desalination processes marks a significant step toward achieving a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious approach to water production.
 

 


The Saudi artist’s gallery celebrates unbounded imagination

Saudi artist Mohammed Abubshait. (AN photo by Loai El-Kelawy)
Saudi artist Mohammed Abubshait. (AN photo by Loai El-Kelawy)
Updated 21 June 2024
Follow

The Saudi artist’s gallery celebrates unbounded imagination

Saudi artist Mohammed Abubshait. (AN photo by Loai El-Kelawy)
  • Mohammed Abubshait’s ‘Living in Wonderland’ is a treasure trove of imaginative expression

RIYADH: Saudi artist Mohammed Abubshait has created a haven for other artists in Riyadh. His gallery, Living in Wonderland, is a treasure trove of imaginative artistic expression.

“Art has always been in my blood, and I believe it is in everyone’s blood. I used to mess around with my clothes, accessories, goods, cars, and whatever else. I don’t like the way things are,” Abubshait told Arab News.

After 10 years as an employee at an oil company, he chose to switch gears and pursue his passion for creating art out of various materials including metal, wood, and resin.  

“When COVID-19 hit, I decided work on my art and I ended up with 150 pieces … I decided to open a gallery in Riyadh to showcase them,” he explained. “It was kind of risky at the time because, as you see, this is not a typical art gallery. It’s different — a lot of pop art, street art and things that are a bit outside-of-the-box.”

The Living in Wonderland gallery is bursting with delightful and amazing things. Guests are immersed in a world of imagination where they can appreciate artistic expression and discover new perspectives. (AN photo by Loai El-Kelawy)

Abubshait opened Living in Wonderland in 2020. “Many of us have seen and grew up with ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ It’s an escape to another world — unrealistic, creative, no boundaries,” he said. “So, I thought it would fit the creative idea and concept that we’re looking for. (The gallery) takes you down the rabbit hole to another world.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• The gallery supports many local artists, work created in a variety of mediums, with a particular focus on modern and pop art.

• It also currently includes work by artists from Mali, Italy, the UK and the US. Prices range from SR2 (50 cents), to more than SR20,000.

The gallery supports — and sells the work of — many local artists, work created in a variety of mediums, with a particular focus on modern and pop art. It also currently includes work by artists from Mali, Italy, the UK and the US. Prices range from SR2 (50 cents), to more than SR20,000.

The Living in Wonderland gallery is bursting with delightful and amazing things. Guests are immersed in a world of imagination where they can appreciate artistic expression and discover new perspectives. (AN photo by Loai El-Kelawy)

“We’ve got something for everyone,” Abubshait said. “I believe we introduced something unique and different to the market.”

From paintings and sculptures to installations and interactive displays, the gallery features an eclectic mix of work that pushes boundaries, giving visitors an intriguing and thought-provoking experience.

The Living in Wonderland gallery is bursting with delightful and amazing things. Guests are immersed in a world of imagination where they can appreciate artistic expression and discover new perspectives. (AN photo by Loai El-Kelawy)

Abubshait is also known for incorporating currency — both real and virtual — into his work.

“The majority of my art features money in the background, whether Saudi riyals or American dollars,” he said. “And the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is one of my signature backgrounds. People ask me why I use money and I’m, like, ‘Well, we use money in our everyday lives.’ Everyone can manifest money.”

The Living in Wonderland gallery is bursting with delightful and amazing things. Guests are immersed in a world of imagination where they can appreciate artistic expression and discover new perspectives. (AN photo by Loai El-Kelawy)

The gallery also offers a variety of workshops including resin, rug tufting, and painting.

“If you haven’t been to Living in Wonderland yet, even if you’re not an art fan, you should come and socialize. People (often come here) to work. If you’re looking for a distinct feel, a different ambience, and something exciting, then you must visit,” Abubshait said.