Saudi Arabia is participating in the ongoing 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which is being held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from May 9 to 20, 2022.
The Kingdom’s delegation was represented by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and headed by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture for Environmental Affairs Dr. Osama Bin Ibrahim Faqiha. The Kingdom’s Ambassador to the Ivory Coast Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Subaie also attended.
A summit meeting was held on May 9, under the patronage of the Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara. The conference was attended by various state leaders, ministers, and heads of delegations participating in COP15.
Dr. Faqiha delivered the Kingdom’s speech, which highlighted the Kingdom’s national, regional and international efforts concerning the environment and focused on reducing land degradation and restoring degraded ecosystems,
He added that Saudi Arabia has officially submitted a request to host the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to UNCCD and that it is looking forward to hosting Expo 2030 in Riyadh.
The undersecretary pointed out that the Kingdom is making great efforts in the field of preserving and protecting the environment locally and globally.
He citied KSA’s enacting of new environmental regulations in 2020 and a new waste management system in 2021, based on the foundations of a circular economy, as well as the establishment of five national centers specialized in environmental fields and an environmental fund.
The undersecretary also underlined the Saudi Green Initiative announced by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, deputy prime minister and minister of defense, which set ambitious targets for developing vegetation cover, reducing desertification, and raising the percentage of protected areas in the Kingdom.
He stressed on Crown Prince’s Middle East Green Initiative, which aims to promote regional cooperation to reduce desertification and land degradation by planting 50 billion trees, of which 10 billion trees will be planted in the Kingdom, equivalent to 5% of global afforestation targets.
Dr. Faqiha indicated that the Kingdom, during its presidency of the G20 in 2020, worked to enhance joint action to confront environmental challenges, and launched the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats, and the "Global Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform",.
Dr. Faqiha added that Saudi Arabia is currently working to take measures to implement these two initiatives in cooperation with its partners.
COP15 was launched with the participation of heads of state, ministers, and delegations representing 197 countries, under the theme "Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity”.
The participants will be discussing a set of measures that must be implemented to achieve the third point of Goal (15) of the Sustainable Development Goals related to land degradation neutrality.
They will be focusing on making decisions that focus on implementing activities on the ground to reduce land degradation and address drought, dust and sand storms, and other measures aimed at preserving the planet and its resources and contribute to the green recovery after the coronavirus