Saudi Arabia has key role to play in tackling climate change, British-Saudi environment forum hears

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Updated 09 April 2021

Saudi Arabia has key role to play in tackling climate change, British-Saudi environment forum hears

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) and the British Embassy in Riyadh have this week hosted a series of virtual discussions on the environment.

The forums took place weeks after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced ambitious green initiatives for both the Kingdom and the Middle East.

“Climate change is a real problem that affects all of us,” UK deputy ambassador to Saudi Arabia Richard Oppenheim said during the third and final discussion held on Thursday. “We need to raise awareness about this issue and work together to take the necessary measures to reduce the harmful effects of climate change by reducing carbon emissions and using modern technologies.”

The UK-Saudi discussions have been held as part of the “Together For Our Planet” campaign run by the UK embassy.

The campaign aims to raise awareness leading up to the COP26 (26th session of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) being held in the UK in November.

The final event discussed the importance of media in spreading the environment message, women’s contributions to environmental awareness, and environmental issues to which the public is most responsive.

The other discussions covered recycling and the effects of discarded plastic and how to raise climate change awareness.

On Thursday, six speakers from the private, public, and media sectors led the group discussion.

They included: Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Braiki, associate professor of ecology and adviser to MEWA, Majda Mohammed Abu Rass, founder and chairwoman of the Saudi Environmental Society (SENS), Fahd Al-Aqran, director of the Saudi Press Agency, Noor Osama Nugali, assistant editor-in-chief of Arab News, Abdulrahman bin Sulaiman Al-Trairi, a writer and political analyst, and Saad Al-Qassim, founder of Jeddah Now .

Al-Braiki described the success of government initiatives like the “Let’s make it green campaign” launched by MEWA last year.

He said more than six million trees had already been planted in the Kingdom - well on the way to the campaign’s 10 million target. The new green initiative now aims to plant 10 billion trees in Saudi Arabia.

Abu Rass said public understanding of environmental matters played a big part in changing behavior.

“The problem of environmental pollution is closely related to patterns of behavior towards the environment and the lack of awareness about environmental issues,” she said.

“When a woman is aware of the importance of the resources the family uses, this will have a great impact on the environment.”

Al-Aqran said: “The media has a significant and necessary role in raising environmental awareness among individuals and societies.”

Nugali said Saudi Arabia had an important role to play in tackling climate change.

“As a leading global oil producer, Saudi Arabia is furthering its ambitions to combat climate change,” she said. “The Saudi Green Initiative, announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was received by everyone with a warm welcome and enthusiasm. We look forward to a brighter and greener future.”

Saudi, Omani officials discuss economic zones ties

Updated 24 June 2021

Saudi, Omani officials discuss economic zones ties

JEDDAH: The secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority (ECZA), Nabil Khoja, met on Tuesday in Riyadh the undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion of Oman, Asila Al-Samsamiya, to discuss special economic zones between the two nations.

They covered cooperation and integration opportunities the zones would offer, with Khoja touching on the ECZA’s role as the organizational umbrella that ensures the alignment of the special economic zones project with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and national strategies.

He stressed that the meeting with Al-Samsamiya comes within the framework of strengthening international cooperation via special economic zones and seeking to build strategic partnerships.

Khoja noted that the ECZA has expertise in supervising, regulating and controlling economic cities and special zones, which can be shared between the Kingdom and Oman. He added that this will contribute to achieving the goals of the two countries, and to enhance the vital role that the ECZA can play in realizing the objectives of Vision 2030.

This meeting followed an extended session between the ECZA’s team, headed by the vice secretary-general for Special Economic Zones, Wassim Khashoggi, and the deputy chairperson of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones in Oman, Ahmed Al-Deeb. 

The two parties discussed providing support for Omani efforts to attract Saudi investment for special economic zones and free zones projects in the Sultanate.

They also covered the possibility of establishing a Saudi industrial zone in Oman, which the Saudi side would develop, operate and manage, and build roads to transport goods between the Saudi and Omani special economic zones.


Who’s Who: Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel, director general at the Saudi Institute of Public Administration

Updated 23 June 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel, director general at the Saudi Institute of Public Administration

Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel has been the director general of the women’s branch of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in the Eastern Province since 2015.

As part of the IPA’s role in helping public servants, especially those with disabilities in workplaces, the branch recently delivered a three-day, text-processing training program designed for the region’s female public employees with hearing difficulties.

Al-Ageel received a bachelor’s degree in translation from King Saud University (KSU) in 2003. Seven years later, she obtained a master’s degree in applied linguistics (TESOL) from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. In 2016, she was granted a doctorate in global, urban and social studies from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

In 2005, Al-Ageel joined the IPA, where she served as a faculty staff member in the English language department at the Riyadh women’s branch for nearly 10 years before she was appointed head of the women’s branch in the Eastern Province.

Al-Ageel’s doctoral thesis focused on the behavior of Saudi women in contemporary Arabic-speaking situations. The research she presented for the degree investigated Saudi pidgin Arabic that has emerged as a result of Saudi people interacting with foreign workers, especially Asians.

In 2018, the IPA published an Arabic version of Jason W. Osborne’s “Best Practices in Logistic Regression” translated by Al-Ageel. She has also translated and reviewed a number of scientific papers in different fields, and has led consultation teams in training needs assessment, human resource and organizational structures.

She is also active in increasing awareness about corporate social responsibility and sustainable development goals.

Saudi Arabia will judge new Iran president Raisi by ‘reality on the ground’ — FM

Updated 23 June 2021

Saudi Arabia will judge new Iran president Raisi by ‘reality on the ground’ — FM

  • Prince Faisal says ‘very concerned’ about unanswered questions on Iran’s nuclear program
  • Austrian foreign minister: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia are unacceptable

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will judge Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi’s government by “the reality on the ground,” the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
“From our perspective, foreign policy in Iran is in any case run by the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and therefore we base our interactions and our approach to Iran on the reality on the ground, and that is what we will judge the new government on, regardless of who is in charge,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan told a news conference with his Austrian counterpart during his official visit to the capital, Vienna.
He said he was “very concerned” about unanswered questions on Iran’s nuclear program, an apparent reference to the UN nuclear watchdog seeking explanations on the origin of uranium particles found at undeclared sites in Iran.

Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies continue to pressure Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is entirely peaceful, and its ballistic missiles. US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nucleaar weapons program that it halted in 2003.
Raisi, a hard-line judge who secured an expected election victory on Saturday, said on Monday he wanted to improve ties with Gulf Arab neighbors.

Biden administration officials are insisting that the election of Raisi won’t affect prospects for reviving the faltering 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. But there are already signs that their goal of locking in a deal just got tougher, according to The Associated Press.

Optimism that a deal was imminent faded as the latest talks ended on Sunday without tangible indications of significant progress.

Raisi is likely to raise Iran’s demands for sanctions relief in return for Iranian compliance with the deal, as he himself is already subject to US human rights penalties.


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

“I don’t envy the Biden team,” said Karim Sadjapour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who has advised multiple US administrations on Iran. “I think the administration now has a heightened sense of
urgency to revise the deal before Raisi and a new hard-line team is inaugurated.”

Meanwhile, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg condemned the continuous Houthi attacks on civilians in Saudi Arabia, describing such assaults as “unacceptable.”

Prince Faisal said the Houthi militia has regularly rejected initiatives for a complete cease-fire, and have always resorted to escalate the situation.

Farhan said Saudi Arabia and Austria shared a “similar vision” regarding the region’s stability, while Schallenberg said his country supports developments taking place in across Saudi Arabia in several areas.

Prince Faisal met for talks with Schallenberg at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the two sides discussed opportunities for joint cooperation, developing bilateral relations, and ways to develop them in various fields, especially in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
They also discussed ways to enhance joint coordination to serve the interests of the two countries, and the most prominent regional and international developments.
(With Reuters)

Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies continue to pressure Iran over its ballistic missiles and the nuclear program, which Tehran says is entirely peaceful.

US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons program that it halted in 2003.

Who’s Who: Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya, director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts

Updated 22 June 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya, director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts

Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya has been appointed director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts.

Al-Yahya will be responsible for managing the institute, implementing its strategic directions and developing traditional arts in line with the institute’s vision.

She is one of the top academics in the field of art and design, having worked as a faculty member at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University.

She also worked as a consultant, and was a member of advisory committees at the university and other organizations.

Al-Yahya obtained a master’s degree in art education and a Ph.D. in educational technology, as well as a Ph.D. in educational policies and leadership at the University of Northern Colorado, US.

She has authored research papers in various fields and participated in several scientific conferences.

The institute will launch its first training courses in September aimed at enriching traditional arts, training specialized national cadres, raising the level of public awareness, and preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts is one the initiatives of the Quality of Life Program, part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

The Ministry of Culture aims to develop the local cultural sector through education and knowledge. The institute will provide advanced educational programs to prepare young Saudis to help the Kingdom develop its cultural sector along modern lines.

Who’s Who: Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, new president of International Association of Public Transport

Updated 21 June 2021

Who’s Who: Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, new president of International Association of Public Transport

Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail was recently appointed president of UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, a global network that brings together all public transport modes.

The association gives 1,600 member companies access to 18,000 transport bodies in 99 countries. It is a champion of sustainable urban mobility.

Al-Hogail is the first Arab to be appointed association president and the second from a non-European country in UITP’s 135-year history. His appointment is testimony to Saudi Arabia’s increasing competency in the public transport sector.

Al-Hogail has been the CEO of the Saudi Public Transport Co. (SAPTCO) since 2006. He is also chairman of Saudi Emirates Educational Transport Co.

During his long association with SAPTCO, Al-Hogail has contributed to the development of the public transport sector and is playing a key role in helping the Kingdom achieve Vision 2030 goals related to the transport sector.

He gained a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at King Saud University in Riyadh, and also has completed training courses in management, leadership, planning and strategy.

Al-Hogail is a member of several national and international companies and associations, such as the Arab Union for Land Transport, the Saudi Bahraini Transport Co., Saudi-French Business Council, Saudi-Indian Business Council, Saudi-Bahraini Business Council, the National Council for Tourism, and the Arab Management Association.

He has won many awards, including the distinguished member award of the Arab Land Transport Union.