In line with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious goal of protecting the environment in the Middle East region, combating climate change and addressing environmental challenges influenced by high temperatures, low rainfall, heavy dust waves and desertification, which have become economic threats to the region.
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, announced the launch of two initiatives, The Green Saudi Initiative and The Green Middle East Initiative, that will lead the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Middle East towards the protection of the planet and nature, also aiming to explicitly define a strategic plan with ambitious timelines that will contribute – to a large extent – to the achievement of the global goals set to combat climate change.
The announcement aims to demonstrate the initiation of efforts and measures alongside Middle Eastern countries, to present a detailed action plan including initiatives and means to achieve them by the end of this year; initiatives that also aim to improve public health and quality of life of citizens and residents of the region.
The concept of the Green Middle East Initiative
This is an initiative launched by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Middle East region that aims to coordinate efforts and keep pace with regional and international developments, through the implementation of a regional strategic plan that will significantly contribute to achieving global climate change goals through several measures, including:
- Rehabilitate 200 million hectares of degraded land in the Middle East region;
- Improving the efficiency of hydrocarbon technologies in the Middle East region, and removing carbon emissions by 60%; and
- Launching the world’s largest reforestation plan, which aims to plant 40 billion trees in the Middle East, or 5% of the global goal of planting one trillion trees, thereby achieving a 2.5% reduction in global carbon levels. These joint efforts will contribute to reducing carbon emissions by over 10% of global emissions.
Methodology of the Green Middle East Initiative
– It will be established in partnership with the GCC and sister countries of the Middle East, in collaboration with all countries and organizations that aspire to work jointly to achieve the goals of the Green Middle East Initiative.
-The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will also hold an annual summit, entitled “Green Middle East Initiative” with the participation of heads of state, representatives of ministries and experts in the field of environment, to discuss the details of the initiatives and methods of implementation.
The initiatives will be developed and implemented by the end of 2021, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will establish a non-profit organization to organize the summit and monitor progress in implementing the initiatives.
-The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fully recognizes the challenges facing the Middle East region, such as water scarcity, lack of financial and technical resources, and geographical disadvantage. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will therefore work in partnership with resource-poor countries to develop innovative solutions, develop mechanisms, share technologies and expertise, and help find financial solutions to reduce carbon emissions from oil production in the region.
Innovative solutions for irrigation include, but are not limited to, irrigation from treated water, cloud seeding and other resources, use of recycled water and rainfall, planting of specific trees that depend on irrigation for growth for only 3 years followed by continued growth through natural irrigation.
The annual summit will address the challenges that may be encountered in achieving the goals and objectives set forth in the initiatives and develop meaningful solutions.
A Strong Partnership
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense, made a telephone call with His Excellency President Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China.
During the call, the two Saudi Green Initiatives and the Green Middle East to address environmental challenges in the region were discussed, as well as the contribution of these two initiatives to achieving global climate change goals and their influential role in improving the quality of life in the region and the world.
His Highness the Crown Prince said that the Kingdom is working to organize an annual summit for the Green Middle East Initiative in the presence of leaders and officials in the environmental field, stressing that China will be a major partner in the initiative. For his part, the Chinese president expressed his country’s support for both initiatives, stressing the importance of their support by the international community.