Saudi deputy environment minister says desertification among ‘most pressing environmental challenges of our time’

Saudi Arabia will host COP 16 in December. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 19 June 2024
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Saudi deputy environment minister says desertification among ‘most pressing environmental challenges of our time’

  • Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of driving global efforts to combat land degradation and drought
  • The 30th Desertification and Drought Day was hosted by Germany and concluded this week

RIYADH: Desertification and drought are among the most pressing environmental challenges faced by the world, Saudi Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Osama Faqeeha has said.

In a statement marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the minister said land degradation affected up to 40 percent of the world’s land area, resulting in the annual loss of 100 million hectares of healthy land, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Emphasizing the Kingdom’s commitment to sustainable land management, Faqeeha said: “Desertification, land degradation and drought are among the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. This year’s 30th anniversary of the UNCCD coincides with COP16, which is expected to be a pivotal moment for land restoration and sustainable management. Together, we can turn the tide and restore our land. Our future depends on our ability to manage our land sustainably.”

He added that land degradation meant the world lost an area of healthy land equivalent to four football fields every second.

“Healthy land is essential for our future. Let’s unite for sustainable land management,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of driving global efforts to combat land degradation and drought. Programs such as the Saudi Green Initiative and various land restoration projects were highlighted as models for sustainable development.

The minister said the initiatives not only contributed to environmental sustainability, but also aimed to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for communities.

The 30th Desertification and Drought Day was hosted by Germany and concluded this week.

UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “This year, we focus on sharing the wisdom of our ancestors with future generations. More than a billion young people under the age of 25 in developing countries depend on land and natural resources. They are key to transforming their communities and driving innovation in sustainable land management”.

Key highlights of the event included a presentation of the new cohort of UNCCD Land Heroes and the unveiling of the UNCCD Youth Engagement Strategy and the Land Youth Negotiators Program.

These initiatives empower young people to transform land management practices and engage in policy-making processes, especially ahead of the upcoming UNCCD COP16 negotiations which will take place in Riyadh from Dec. 2 to 13.


Saudi Arabia welcomes statement on agreement between Yemeni parties to lift economic sanctions

Yemen’s government and Houthis agreed to increase the frequency of Yemenia’s flights from Sanaa to Jordan from 1 to 3 a day.
Updated 11 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia welcomes statement on agreement between Yemeni parties to lift economic sanctions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia welcomed on Wednesday a statement issued by the UN’s special envoy for Yemen about an agreement between the country’s internationally recognized government and the Houthis to 

lift economic sanctions.

Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, said on Tuesday that both parties agreed to ease economic hostilities by canceling their most recent actions taken against banks in areas the other controls and pledged to halt all such measures in the future.

They also agreed to increase the frequency of national carrier Yemenia’s flights from Sanaa to Jordan from one to three a day and to introduce daily flights from the capital to Cairo and India. In addition, the two sides will hold discussions about administrative, technological and budgetary issues related to the airline.

The Kingdom affirmed its continued support for Yemen, its government, and people, and its keenness to encourage efforts to reduce escalation and maintain calm.

The Kingdom hopes the agreement will contribute to dialogue between the Yemeni parties under the auspices of the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen to discuss all economic and humanitarian issues in order to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis within the framework of the road map to support the peace process in Yemen.


Camel culture comes to life at Jeddah Season 

Updated 18 min 4 sec ago
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Camel culture comes to life at Jeddah Season 

  • Special pavilion highlights camels’ economic, cultural significance in Saudi society
  • Through illuminated murals and interactive touch screens, visitors are invited to delve into history

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Culture is bringing the “Year of the Camel” to life at Jeddah Season 2024 with a dedicated pavilion offering visitors an immersive experience of these iconic animals.

From life-size camel sculptures to interactive displays, the pavilion in City Walk, one of the Jeddah Season zones, showcases the camel’s enduring significance in society, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Through illuminated murals and interactive touch screens, visitors are invited to delve into history and understand why 2024 was designated as the “Year of the Camel.”

These displays offer insights into the objectives behind honoring camels, and are provided in Arabic and English to provide access for a global audience.

The pavilion provides historical inscriptions dedicated to the animal, and the vast camel-related vocabulary in the Arabic language, the SPA stated.

One of the highlights of the pavilion is audio of camel sounds, each with its own name. These hold special significance in the daily lives of those who have long cherished the companionship of these remarkable animals.

The displays showcase the economic importance of camels, their role in ensuring food security, and the unique capabilities that have cemented their place in Saudi Arabia culture.


Design program for architects wraps up in Riyadh

Updated 24 July 2024
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Design program for architects wraps up in Riyadh

  • A presentation showcased the journey of the participants during the program and highlighted the activities they took part in
  • Commission CEO Sumayah Al-Solaiman delivered a speech highlighting the commission’s “unwavering commitment” to investing in the development of Saudi architects and designers

RIYADH: The Architecture and Design Commission concluded the first Design Leadership Program with a ceremony in Riyadh attended by architecture and design experts, as well as program participants.

A presentation showcased the journey of the participants during the program and highlighted the activities they took part in, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

Commission CEO Sumayah Al-Solaiman delivered a speech highlighting the commission’s “unwavering commitment” to investing in the development of Saudi architects and designers.

Improving the skills of Saudis in the industry will allow them to become influential leaders, she added.

The developer of the Creative Leadership Course at the Future London Academy, Matt Hexemer, said in a speech that the Saudi program is a “pioneering initiative” that nurtures the Kingdom’s talents and fosters creativity.

Dialogue sessions were held at the ceremony, led by prominent speakers including Sarah Fayad, strategy and urban design senior manager at The Line in NEOM; and Ali Al-Shuaibi, president and founder of BEEAH Planners, Architects and Engineers Co.

The commission launched the program in May to cultivate the leadership skills of architects and designers, bolster their capacity to lead projects, and foster an environment that promotes collaboration in the local architecture and design community.


Saudi foreign deputy minister receives representatives of UN Syria envoy

Updated 24 July 2024
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Saudi foreign deputy minister receives representatives of UN Syria envoy

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Saud Al-Sati received in Riyadh on Wednesday representatives from the office of the UN special envoy for Syria.

Al-Sati discussed the latest developments in Syria in a meeting with Chief Political Affairs Officer Robert Dunn and Political Affairs Officer Marwa Fouad, the ministry said on its official account on X.


More than 12 million liters of water pumped into Yemen by KSrelief

Updated 24 July 2024
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More than 12 million liters of water pumped into Yemen by KSrelief

RIYADH: A water supply and environmental sanitation project in Yemen by Saudi aid agency KSrelief has continued to improve conditions for those living there.

From June 19-25, some 1,033,550 liters of drinking water and 10,849,000 liters of non-drinking water were provided in Hajjah. The project group worked in the Midi, Haradh, Hayran and Abs districts, as well as As-Ashour camp in the Razih area of Saada.

There were 38 trips to remove waste from displaced people’s camps, while in Saada 70,000 each of drinking and non-drinking water were pumped through, to the benefit of 30,100 people.

KSRelief pumps over 12 million liters of water into Yemen as part of water and sanitation project. (SPA)

KSrelief also launched a volunteer medical project for ear, nose, and throat surgeries and tumor removal in Mukalla, in the province of Hadhramaut.

The initiative, which started on July 20 for one week, involves 22 volunteers from various medical specialties. To date, the medical team has successfully performed 60 specialized surgeries.

Meanwhile, in Sudan, KSrelief concluded its project for urological surgeries in Port Sudan. The week-long scheme involved 11 volunteers with 119 successful specialized surgeries being carried out. 

KSrelief concluded the voluntary medical project for urological surgeries in Port Sudan. (SPA)