Saudi Gazette report
TEHRAN — Saudi Arabia has participated in the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms, held in Tehran, Iran.
During the conference, the CEO of the National Center for Meteorology (NCM) Dr. Ayman Bin Salem Ghulam delivered the Kingdom’s speech, stating that Saudi Arabia has taken important steps to mitigate climate change and combat sand and dust storms.
This they have done through the Saudi Green Initiative announced by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in March 2021, which aims to address local and global environmental challenges.
Dr. Ghulam confirmed that the Kingdom took the initiative in recognizing the urgent need for collective action, and proved its commitment through the initiatives and investments it made.
It established in March 2019 the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification (NCVC) with the aim of increasing green areas and rehabilitating degraded vegetation sites.
Saudi Arabia is planning to plant 10 billion trees, and restore more than 40 million hectares of degraded lands over the coming decades, he said.
He noted that all of these efforts will help in mitigating desertification, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and enhance biodiversity.
Moreover, the Kingdom has launched the Middle East Green Initiative (MGI) in April 2021, that is the most comprehensive program of its kind in the world, as a support for the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI).
The aim of launching the MGI is to plant 50 billion trees, which is equivalent to 5% of the global afforestation goal.
Among the centers that the Kingdom has established is the Regional Climate Change Center, the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center, and the Regional Cloud Seeding Program, which comes as part of the MGI.
This comes alongside investing in research and technology with regional and international partners.
This is in addition to the signing of agreements with neighboring countries in order to enhance the cooperation in early warning systems, research, and technology transfer.
Dr. Ghulam confirmed that all of these efforts show Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainable development and addressing the challenges of climate change and sand and dust storms.
He also highlighted the recognition by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), this year, of the consultation and evaluation system for warning of sand and dust storms for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as one of its regional headquarters.
This is in addition to WMO’s accreditation for the regional center for warning of sand and dust storms as one of its regional centers.
Dr. Ghulam called for attending the two conferences hosted by Saudi Arabia, which are the first international conference on sand and dust storms in the Arabian Peninsula on March 2024.
The conference will be the 16th for the parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification that will be held at end of next year.