Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans for a conservation area that will span more than 30,000 square kilometres.
The project will encompass the Makkah, Asir and Jazan regions of Saudi Arabia, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
It will span a total of 30,152 square kilometres.
“The Imam Faisal bin Turki Royal Reserve is among a number of royal reserves that the kingdom has developed and supported to be a tributary of the national development at all levels, which contributes to providing solutions to many of the environmental challenges that the whole world is experiencing,” said Prince Mohammed, according to SPA.
“It will maximise the opportunities available in preserving the capabilities, wealth and natural sites that characterise the kingdom’s lands, supporting scientific research in various fields, strengthening the tourism and entertainment sector.”
Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia's Prime Minister, was also reported as saying the project would protect and sustain Saudi Arabia's natural resources to help achieve an environmental balance.
“The biological diversity enjoyed by the reserve will contribute to supporting all forms of life,” he said.
“We are determined to develop our natural resources, improve the quality of life within Saudi territory, develop infrastructure, enhance the sustainability of non-oil economic resources, and provide more job and investment opportunities in the kingdom.”
The conservation area will play a key role in Saudi Arabia's Green Initiative, which was announced in 2021.
Part of the initiative requires the percentage of protected areas in Saudi Arabia to be raised to more than 30 per cent of its total land area, significantly higher than the global target of 17 per cent.
The project will also involve the planting of 10 billion trees over the coming decades – a 12-fold increase that represents more than four per cent of the global goal to reduce the degradation of lands and fungal habitats, as well as one per cent of the global target of planting one billion trees.