The Brundtland report (Our Common Future) defined sustainable development as development that meets the requirements of the present without jeopardizing the capacity of future generations to meet their own needs. The Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), announced in March 2021 and initiated by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is primarily concerned with sustainability and enhancing the quality of life. Its goals are to change the way the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia works and to set a new course for the region in terms of protecting the environment and making a big difference toward meeting global goals to cut carbon emissions.
The Saudi Green Initiative
The sandy desert of the Arabian Peninsula is impacted by the region’s hot climate, desertification, low rainfall, and dust storms. SGI is part of the effort to secure a sustainable future in this region.
SGI is leading the way in enacting a long-term strategy to combat climate change. Its efforts are directed toward three primary goals. These include emission reduction, reforestation, and land and sea protection. There have been 77 initiatives activated since SGI’s inception in 2021, and even more, will be accomplished in the following years.
The Saudi Green initiative is not just about tree planting. It is primarily about sustainability and enhancing the quality of life. The initiative aims to plant 50 billion trees, including 10 billion in Saudi Arabia, making it the world’s largest afforestation project.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken the initiative to initiate and design four major megaprojects (NEOM, the Red Sea Project, Qiddiya, and AMAALA) with sustainability at their core. These projects will increase the amount of renewable energy available, improving the quality of life and decreasing carbon emissions. They will also combat deforestation, protect marine and coastal environments, and quicken the transition to clean energy.
By 2030, Saudi Arabia plans to have half of its energy capacity come from renewable sources and the other half from gas. This is a reflection of the country’s emphasis on the use of clean hydrocarbons and renewable energy. Because of this objective, environmental awareness in the Kingdom has risen. Also, international cooperation has increased, which are both essential steps toward achieving the country’s climate change goals.
Although the Saudi Arabian government wants to plant 10 billion trees by 2030, the lack of freshwater ecosystems in the Kingdom is making it hard to reach this goal. However, the Kingdom is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water. Progress in the water treatment sector and the Kingdom’s position as a world leader in this field will help them face this challenge head-on. Major progress is also being made in the areas of water distribution, sewage infrastructure, and wastewater treatment.
Creating a sustainable future is a universal priority. Saudi Arabia wants to improve people’s lives and keep future generations safe, both inside and outside of its borders. To reach this goal, the Kingdom is bringing together government ministries, private sector organizations, and foreign leaders through its green initiatives. It will enable them to find and act on ways to scale up climate action on a large scale quickly.