Saudi Arabia reveals global plan for sustainable green development

Crown Prince establishes the Green Initiative Foundation as a non-profit organisation

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the Middle East Green Initiative summit on Monday, held in Riyadh in the presence of international and regional leaders.

He launched a global initiative on Monday that will contribute to clean fuel solutions that will affect the lives of more than 750 million people.

It came after the kingdom announced the establishment of a regional centre for sustainable development, to further co-ordinate efforts across the Middle East, shared experiences, and technologies. Crown Prince Mohammed launched the overarching national strategy, the Saudi Green Initiative, on Saturday, which doubles the kingdom's current targets for reducing carbon emissions.

"There are gaps in the climate action system in the region," Crown Prince Mohammed said, outlining an ambitious series of steps the kingdom would be taking, furthering already extensive investments in renewable energy.

"We announce the establishment of a regional programme for cloud-seeding. We announce the establishment of a regional centre for early warning of storms in the region. We will create a collaborative platform to implement the concept of a circular carbon economy," said the Crown Prince, spearheading the campaign.

Saudi Arabia's bold new initiatives were welcomed by regional and international leaders.

US Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry thanked the kingdom for its contributions and initiatives, adding that “we all have a responsibility to preserve the planet.”

“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has realised the seriousness of climate change,” he said. “We must accelerate action to combat climate change, and we must work to reduce emissions in the next 10 years."

Mr Kerry said no government in the world could fund such a gargantuan effort by itself.

“This will only happen through governments joining with the private sector, and with the private sector significantly stepping up and taking the lead here.”

Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary of the United Nations and chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group concurred, underlining the existential threat posed by climate change.

“In our fight against climate change, failure is a choice – just as climate change was a man-made choice, not a certainty.”

The Crown Prince of Kuwait, Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, said his country backed international efforts to address climate change. "We support the Saudi Climate Initiative and we will work alongside them," he said.

Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah said: "We hope that the outputs of the green Middle East will transcend the borders of the region." The Jordanian King Abdullah II said the climate issue was the most "urgent challenge of our time”.

“Unfortunately, this challenge fails to receive the level of attention it demands, even though all three of the monotheistic religions consider protecting the environment to be a matter of faith," he said.

Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch said Saudi Arabia's initiatives "reflect its vision to confront environmental challenges" and that there was a need for more "financing mechanisms" for green projects. Morocco has made significant investment in solar power projects, including pioneering solar power storage technology.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the kingdom on establishing the new initiatives. "My country is among the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change," he said.

A total of 150,000 jobs had been created to improve the environment, he said. "In the last 10 years, we have experienced 150 incidents that affected the environment," Mr Khan said.

”This crisis was quite visible 20 years ago, but somehow we were all in self-denial. No one thought that this would actually happen, that the temperature was getting warmer. No one believed there would be effects of this,” added Mr Khan. Financial experts also spoke about the urgency of escalating actions to confront climate challenges.

Prince Mohammed held a series of meetings on the sidelines of the summit to discuss⁩ opportunities for co-operation in the area of clean energy and efforts to confront climate change.

“We will stand before the world with our proud achievements in the Middle East,” he said.

He added that the leaders will meet regularly to follow up on the progress of the set objectives.

Updated: October 25th 2021, 9:10 PM