Saudi crown prince discusses regional green initiatives with Arab leaders

The project seeks to restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land and reduce the global carbon reduction target

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony for the 95th batch of cadets from the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 23, 2018. Picture taken December 23, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS/ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, and Sudan to discuss a massive reforestation project for the region.

"The Middle East Green Initiative aims, in partnership with the countries of the region, to plant 50 billion trees as the largest reforestation programme in the world," the Saudi Press Agency said.

The crown prince also discussed the project with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, during a call.

"Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed praised Prince Mohammed bin Salman's initiative and its lasting impact on overcoming economic and social challenges faced by the region's environment and improving quality of life in the communities," UAE's state news agency Wam reported.

Saudi crown prince unveiled the ambitious campaign on Saturday with two initiatives to position the kingdom in the vanguard of the global fight against climate change.

The Saudi Green Initiative and The Middle East Green Initiative will provide an ambitious roadmap that makes Saudi Arabia plant 10 billion trees in coming decades and work with other Arab states to plant another 40 billion trees, to reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation.

This ambitious project will restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land and help to reach 5 per cent of the global tree planting target of 1 trillion trees.

This also represents 2.5 per cent of the global carbon reduction target.

Just as the kingdom has underpinned energy markets during the oil and gas era, the crown prince said, it aimed to become a global leader in forging a greener world.

He highlighted desertification and air pollution as two of the significant challenges facing the kingdom currently.

The initiative, according to the SPA also aims "to enhance the efficiency of oil production and increase the contribution of renewable energy, in addition to multiple efforts to preserve the marine and coastal environment, and increase the percentage of natural reserves".

The Saudi Green Initiative is part of the crown prince's Vision 2030 plan to reduce its reliance on oil revenue and improve quality of life.