RIYADH: The international exhibition and forum on reforestation technologies kicks off in Riyadh on Sunday under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It is organized by the National Center for the Development of Plant Cover and the Fight Against Desertification and is held at the International Convention and Exhibition Center in Riyadh, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.
Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, said the National Environment Strategy is a roadmap to achieve the aspirations of the Saudi Vision 2030 regarding the protection and environmental development.
He highlighted the Crown Prince’s efforts to promote green cover locally, regionally and internationally through ambitious plans, including the Saudi Green Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative, the Global Initiative on land degradation and the International Coral Reef Initiative.
The last two initiatives were included in the declaration of environment ministers during the Saudi Presidency of the G20 in 2020.
Last October, the Crown Prince announced two initiatives worth SR39 billion ($10.39 billion) to combat climate change, to which Saudi Arabia will contribute about 15% of the total cost.
The Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative aim to plant 10 billion trees.
Nearly 150 different activities will be offered at the International Reforestation Technology Expo and Forum, with participation from international and local agencies, government, the commercial sector and non-profit environmental groups.
Around 90 experts in environmental, climate, sustainability and investment issues from around 20 countries and global organizations will also attend.
There will be 19 dialogue sessions, workshops, over 50 scientific papers and approximately 80 exhibitors showcasing their products, ideas and innovations.
These represent the most recent technological successes in the fight against desertification and the minimization of its impact, the development and protection of vegetation cover, as well as the most recent advances in experimentation, research and scientific studies.
The exhibition covers topics such as nurseries, seeds, reforestation and technologies, land rehabilitation and desertification, irrigation technologies, forest management and development, water sources and technologies , environmental solutions in plant carbon storage, pest control and agricultural waste management.
The National Center for the Development of Plant Cover and the Fight against Desertification works to protect and control sites of plant cover throughout the Kingdom, to rehabilitate degraded ones, to detect encroachments, to fight against deforestation and overseeing the management and investment of pastures, forests and national parks, which promotes sustainable environmental development and contributes to the achievement of the goals of the Saudi Green Initiative.
Experts told Arab News that these investments are essential to achieve global goals of protecting the environment, controlling climate change and mitigating the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
Dr. Amal Aldaej, advisor for international relations and strategic partnership, said the Saudi Green Initiative was seen as the biggest initiative to accelerate the Kingdom’s path to a healthy, clean and green future.
“The initiative will also help reduce carbon emissions and sandstorms, combat desertification and land degradation, as well as lower temperatures (it) will also help restore degraded ecosystems across the country and enhance natural capital,” she said.
She added that the Saudi Green Initiative would connect communities to high-level policy and technical and financial assistance that would have great social and economic impact.
She stressed that regional alliances would play a crucial role in addressing the challenges of climate change and global warming. Through regional alliances and joint efforts to address climate change, adaptation and mitigation could play a vital role in investing and ensuring sustainability.
Aldaej stressed that there is a close link between climate change and sustainable development through regional alliances. Poor and developing countries, especially the least developed countries, would be among the hardest hit and least able to cope with the anticipated shocks to their social, economic and natural systems that would lead to transboundary climate problems.
“The problems of climate change and global warming can affect countries in the region and can also affect other regions. Sustainable goals can only be achieved through regional alliances by investing and ensuring sustainability through joint efforts.
Environmental activist Talal S. Al-Rasheed stressed “the importance of activating the role of community organizations” to achieve this.
Al-Rasheed, a consultant with Gulf Energy for Environmental Consultations, said the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative have highlighted the importance of land conservation and the Kingdom’s leadership position in contributing to the global goals.
Saudi Arabia faces many environmental problems, including high temperatures of 52 degrees Celsius in parts of the country and a lack of rain, which threatens water security and increases sandstorms and their harmful economic impact. .
Al-Rasheed said the ministry is prioritizing community involvement in growing local plants to raise environmental awareness.