The Sustainable Development Goals in Saudi Arabia
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Saudi Arabia:
02 October 2022
Improving Post-harvest Management of Coffee in Saudi Arabia
In the Kingdom, coffee Arabica is cultivated in the southwest in highland terraces of the provinces of Jazan, Asir and Al Baha. It is estimated that some 1,600 smallholder coffee farmers in Jazan produce approximately 160 MT of coffee, however, water scarcity, low adoption rate of good practices, agricultural technologies, pests and diseases, post-harvest losses, lack of adoption of standards and innovations limit the growth and development of the sector. Within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030, FAO is providing technical and advisory services to the Ministry of Environment Agriculture and Water (MEWA) to address these gaps scientifically and sustainably. An integrated approach has been developed to benefit the smallholders and actors across the value chain and ensure coffee quality is according to international standards. To reduce post-harvest losses and maintain the quality and marketability of the locally produced coffee, the project works with a lead local coffee farmer Mr. Jubran Bin Mohammad Al-Maliki’s at his coffee farm and facility in Al Dayer, Jazan. Mr. Jubran owns a farm with about 15,000 mature trees which produces 15-20 tons of green beans annually. Like most of his co-coffee producers in the region, the coffee beans are stored in plastic sacks or simple plastic containers which are not hermetic and may not be food quality. This can cause loss of physical and sensory aspects of the coffee, attack of fungal diseases and risk of contamination. Similarly, roasted coffee can be kept in airtight glass containers. To demonstrate the internationally recommended storage of roasted coffee beans, a set of 10 air-tight, food-quality stainless steel containers (with a capacity of 30 kg of coffee each) were provided by the project to introduce good practices for storing roasted coffee. For proper identification and record management, each container had a sticker labeling the coffee grade, date of roasting, and coffee weight. For continuation and sustainability, the farmer and his staff were trained on proper storage, food safety issues and maintaining personal and premises hygiene. The good practices learned were spread quickly throughout the community by word of mouth (farmer to farmer) and through social media. Mr. Jubran said, “I am happy as the coffee demonstration and training have made me more popular. I am satisfied with these new practices and will share the knowledge with all my fellow colleagues”. Mr Jubran’s premises has become a hub to demonstrate good post-harvest and processing practices for training and capacity building in Jazan. The demonstration helps disseminate the good practices in coffee storage in all the farms of Jazan and a series of other activities will follow to address major issues at the postharvest/processing level of the coffee value chain.
1 of 5
29 September 2022
United Nations' Participation in the Middle East Green Initiative Workshop
FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Near East and North Africa Dr. Abdulhakim Elwaer, together with other senior FAO experts: Ayman Omer, Officer in Charge FAO KSA; Feras Ziadat, NSL Technical Officer; and Jeremiah Njeru, NRM CTA FAO KSA, attended the Middle East Green Initiative (MGI) technical workshop organized by the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MoEWA) at the Riyadh Hilton Hotel on 19th September 2022. The workshop was attended by MGI participating countries and International Organizations and focused on the state of land degradation and its impacts on environment, climate, biodiversity, food security and social and economic systems. The presentations, made by MoEWA, FAO, UNCCD, UNEP, World Bank, and Islamic Development Bank highlighted the state of land degradation and impacts, responses to combat land degradation, best practices and success stories, role of regional alliances, and modalities for financing environmental initiatives. FAO presentation addressed the impacts of land degradation on food security and social well-being with a special focus on Middle East and neighboring countries. The presentation showcased FAO areas of action in combating land degradation including its role in the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration; Regional projects, initiatives, and activities; and FAO capacities and assets related to land degradation. The talk was highly appreciated triggering active engagement following the presentation. Among the issues discussed was the link between land degradation and water scarcity in the region, need for countries to collaborate to better address common regional challenges such as sand and dust storms, need to closely coordinate actions of the 3 Rio conventions in the region, need for capacity building, and need to address lack of data at country and regional level hindering effective responses. The technical workshop was followed by drafting of the MGI charter by the participating countries on 20th and 21st September 2022. The drafting process involved discussion on each article of the charter with international organizations providing technical guidance and inputs where necessary. Each article was discussed in detail and the text was drafted after consensus by the countries. The charter articulates the role of international organizations in the MGI and details how the international organizations in the MGI and details on how they will support the MGI by providing technical and advisory support, assisting capacity building and knowledge sharing activities, and supporting project selection, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting. FAO continues to engage with the MGI through various avenues including engagement with MoEWA to provide technical support to the initiative and through its policy and technical leadership and involvement in land restoration national, regional, and global initiatives and projects.
1 of 5
11 September 2022
FAO Conducts Training to Strengthening Saudi Forest and Climate Change Action
The National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification (NCVC) and FAO have organized a training course on climate change at the Riyadh Fairmont Hotel on 7 and 8 September 2022. The training focused on role of forest in climate change action with special emphasis on the mechanism for negotiations in emission reduction. The training was conducted by trainers drawn from FAO Saudi Arabia, FAO Near East Regional Office and FAO HQ in Rome. Opening the event, Eng. Sameer Malaikah, NCVC Forestry Department Director General highlighted the importance of understanding climate change related issues to strengthen the Centre’s capacities for effective involvement in climate related conventions and initiatives. He further observed that climate change knowledge will support the Center ongoing efforts to integrate climate change in all development initiatives. The training will also equip the staff of the Forestry and other NCVC departments to actively engage in regional and international climate forums and negotiations. He warmly welcomed all participants, including those attending from the regional branches, and thanked FAO for working together with the department to organize the training. The training was opened by Mr Saeed Sami, Senior Programme Implementation and Support Expert on behalf of FAO Programme Director. In his speech, Saeed echoed the importance of Saudi Arabia being prepared for the challenges posed by climate change such as flashfloods, droughts, wildfires, and sandstorms. He stated that the strong collaboration between FAO, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and NCVC strengthens the capacity of Saudi Arabia to apply nature-based solution to current and future development challenges, at a time when natural disasters continue to become more intense as is being witnessed across the globe. The training covered several topics including climate change concepts and processes; UNFCCC objectives, institutional and legal framework, negotiation process, milestones, protocol, and agreements; importance and role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation; REDD+ concept and mechanisms; among others. A flexible approach was adopted for the training and participants were able to ask question, clarify local situation, and provide feedback at any point during the training, making the engagement between the trainers and participants interactive and lively. At the end of the course, small working groups were conducted to give participants the opportunity to reflect on and apply what they had learnt. The work group discussions were centered around climate change and Saudi Green Initiative. Speaking during the closing session and awarding of certificates to participants, NCVC CEO Dr. Khaled expressed his appreciation to FAO, the Forest Department, and participants for the successful training and challenged them to use the skills and knowledge gained to mainstream climate change in the Kingdom development agenda. Dr Kakoli, FAO SRADP CTA, thanked Dr. Khaled, and NCVC and FAO Natural Resources team for the good training and especially appreciated the good gender balance in the selection of trainees. She called for more trainings of this kind for NCVC staff and other stakeholder soon. FAO highly appreciates the tireless efforts made by the resource persons Dr. Abdalla Siddiq, Dr. Sami Albarih, Dr. Raees Khan, Dr. AbdelHamied Hamid, Dr. Fidaa Haddad, and Dr. Mona Dawelbait in preparing and delivering the course.
1 of 5
11 August 2022
Meet the Young Saudi Social Entrepreneurs who are Helping Achieve the 2030 Agenda & Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision
With passion for the environment, they directed their entrepreneurial spirit towards change, raising awareness and motivating others to take action! The UN in Saudi Arabia met with young Saudi Entrepreneurs to learn about their initiatives and how they contribute towards sustainability and climate action. They shared their experiences and encouraged others to take action for a cleaner, cooler and happier world! Ali Bakhallagi, Social Entrepreneur & Founder of Tadweem, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Ali is a young Saudi entrepreneur from the city of Jeddah who is passionate about business and the environment. Ali has a diversity of exposure with background in supply chain management, Retail & E-commerce in national & international organization. Through the research, noticed the lack of specialized business models in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the secondhand apparel market, which inspired to start “Tadweem.” He aspires for Tadweem to become a trailblazer in recycling, sustainable fashion & waste management business models in the Kingdom and inspire other environmentally friendly companies in the field of waste management and recycling in the Kingdom and help accelerate the Kingdom’s efforts toward environmental sustainability and a green economy. Can you tell us about your project, why, and how it started? “Tadweem” is a social investment company in the arena of recycling. It contributes to supporting the environment through the concept of the circular economy. Tadweem notion was brought to life to be an entity of impact as it aims to introduce the sustainable fashion concept to Saudi Arabia and encourage Saudis to start practicing sustainable behavior in their daily life. The main reason for starting Tadweem is that it believes in its role in not only developing the community but also enriching the environment & ecosystem in KSA and the world as a whole. Tadweem works through the use of surplus clothes; we do that by preparing used clothes, sorting, cleaning, and sterilizing them so they can be used again. Then, we resell them in appropriate platforms and exhibitions and recycle the waste into raw materials for local use. In the coming stages, it will expand to broader waste management, sustainable fashion & recycling model to achieve the concept of a circular economy. The word Tadweem is a hybrid of two Arabic words, “Tadweer” which means recycling, and “Tadweem” which means sustainable.”. What do you hope to achieve in the future with Tadweem, and how can it add to the environmental efforts in Saudi Arabia? At Tadweem, we aspire to become trailblazers in recycling, sustainable fashion & waste management business models in the Kingdom, inspire other environmentally friendly companies in those domains, and ultimately support achieving environmental sustainability. How is Tadweem supporting environmental sustainability and achieving global goals? Tadweem contributes to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals: What advice would you give social entrepreneurs to sustain an impactful success? Dig deep into societal issues and challenges. Have a solution-oriented mindset and be innovative! I would also say, seize the opportunity of local resources and government support. Mohammed Alkhalid, NABATIK Founder, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Mohammed comes from a mechanical engineering background. He started up “NABATIK” in 2019 with the aims to make planting trees affordable to both individuals and corporations. Mohammed believes in innovative solutions to global challenges, which is why he started up NABATIK with a focus on utilizing latest technological trends. Mohammed, as a young leader, has been nominated as a finalist in the Young Champion of Earth award by the United Nation’s Environment Programme, the highest environmental honor for youth and that is for his contribution to integrating technology with Nature-based Solutions to offset carbon emissions as means of combating climate change. Can you tell us about your project, why and how did it start? Nabatik is the first Climate Technology startup in the kingdom. It provides Nature-Based Solutions in Saudi Arabia to combat climate change through forestry and urban tree planting. We are distinguished because we developed a unique business model that resulted in minimizing the cost of planting trees to incentivize companies to plant trees with us and contribute to the Saudi Green Initiative goal of 10 billion trees in Saudi. My love for planting trees was planted in me at a young age. When I was seven years old, my father took me to a barren land that was part of a new residential area and handed me a shovel, a potted plant, and a bottle of water. He helped me dig a hole in the dirt and then, carefully, I placed the plant in its new home; after that I covered it and then we took turns watering it. Already, I felt a sense of accomplishment and was filled with hope.. My father said we have to go but I wasn't done admiring my little plant. "Don't worry about it" he said. "The workers here will water it and take care of it." And off we went. It took me some time, but gradually I stopped thinking about it. Twenty years later I was passing by an area which looked familiar. I parked my car and walked into the same barren land, empty as I remembered..Until I stumbled upon a tree standing by itself. I looked up and was instantly mesmerized by this magnificent tree that stood tall before me; its branches blooming with lush green leaves, casting a shadow around me, embracing me. "This is my tree" I said to myself. It was the best feeling in the world. It was that day when I made a pledge to help plant 1 million trees by 2023 to support the “Saudi Green Initiative” by engaging communities in an innovative way. How does “NABATIK” contribute to environmental sustainability? Planting millions of trees in the harsh climate of the Arabian Peninsula is quite a challenge due to the limited water resource, the extreme temperatures, and the nature of the soil. It requires a tremendous effort to plant and maintain such a high number of trees. That being said. we realized that we must rely on the good intentions of people and the power of the latest technologies to overcome that challenge. At NABATIK, we focus on enabling and emphasizing the importance of social responsibility especially at corporate levels. Capitalizing on the corporate social responsibility trend is a key source of funding for the afforestation initiative. We enable big companies to offset their carbon emission in the region by allowing them to plant trees using our platform. The benefit of using the platform that we have built is they can monitor and keep track of the actions that they have taken as we ensure that each tree is accounted for. NABATIK contributes to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals: In your opinion, why is social entrepreneurship vital to the Sustainable Development Goals? We must realize that we should not take our quality of life for granted. Future generations might not have the same privileges that we are enjoying. It is our responsibility, that we leave a better planet for our children and great grandchildren. It starts by prioritizing our environment and society over profit and this is Social Entrepreneurship. That does not mean you should not build a profitable business, but it means that a profitable business that is environmentally positive, socially engaging is a more sustainable business. What advice would you give social entrepreneurs to sustain an impactful success? “Do good and good things will come to you”. When you look at global challenges “SDGs for example” you will find tons of opportunities. Each challenge is an invitation to you to find a solution. Such solutions will not only change people’s life and protect the planet; they also can be a very profitable business. Eman Alhajji, Founder and President of Saudi Youth for Sustainability, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia Eman is a Ph.D. candidate innovating nanocarbon materials for energy storage at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). She is passionate about sustainability and believes that empowering others to act is the best action toward achieving sustainability. Can you tell us about your project, why and how did it start? The Saudi Youth for Sustainability (SYS) is a youth-led national organization that aims to empower and connect young leaders to drive positive changes towards a sustainable future across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was Fall 2019 when I had the time to choose my elective courses during my graduate journey at KAUST. I chose Sustainable Engineering taught by Prof. Mani Sarathy and Energy and the Environment taught by Prof. Tad Patzek. These two courses awakened me to the urgent reality of the world. I was filled with both logical and emotional drive to act; my brain and heart felt like on fire. My only hope was the goodness of humanity and all I wanted to do is to empower others to act and collaborate. When Dr. Ana Margarida, the head of KAUST sustainability, organized ‘Let’s Talk about Sustainability’ in November 2019, I felt it was the door to stop complaining and start embracing change. I was truly fortunate to meet other passionate and self-driven people to establish a platform to drive positive impact. A very diverse group of us bonded on a respectful, transparent, dynamic and open manner. The first sustainability organization was born with me being the founding president. Despite the pain we experienced throughout the pandemic year of 2020, we showed how our collective efforts make us resilient. We were the most active student organization on campus. We initiated the Sustainability Seminar Series, Campus Tours, Weeks of Awareness, Sustainability Movie Nights, Sustainability Behavioral Challenge, Earth Day Celebration, Global University Climate Forum Project, and many others. We participated in both local and international organizations. It seemed to me that all forces came together to create this epic student organization. We aspired to expand this youth momentum to other universities. By establishing this society, we aim to connect with other young change-makers from Saudi Arabia to develop novel approaches to tackle persisting critical issues and initiate a network that will unite our forces together. We want to raise our voice to policymakers to meet the younger generation’s demand for sustainable development. SYS was born to enable us and all youth in the Kingdom to thrive together for the better. How does Saudi Youth for Sustainability Social Club, help contribute to environmental sustainability? We at Saudi Youth for sustainability aspire to unite youth actions towards living in harmony with our mother Earth in a thriving and sustainable way. Our 4 missions are to: Create seeds of student sustainability groups in Saudi universities and empower bottom-up changes, Promote national and international networking of youth change-makers in Saudi Arabia to scale sustainable solutions Foster knowledge sharing in sustainable development and UN-SDGs Advance and disseminate best practices of youth sustainability initiatives SYS contributes to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals: We also hope to support the efforts made in Saudi Arabia on environmental sustainability through various ways: Build an online hub for engagement and knowledge sharing on sustainability initiatives. Initiate joint efforts for sustainable solutions on university campuses and nearby communities. Hold collaborative events and initiatives for sustainability engagement (e.g. sustainability seminar series, upcycling workshops, week of awareness, and tours). Host an annual gathering of youth-led sustainability groups to empower, cultivate and celebrate achievements. What are your priorities for the remainder of this year? Bring a groundbreaking experience during the inaugural annual conference of Saudi Youth for Sustainability, which is going to take place on June 19th and 20th, 2022, at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. The theme of this year’s annual conference is Thriving Together, in which we explore how Saudi youth can be active contributors to vision 2030 and SDGs through advocacy, education, and technology. We will also continue the leader’s program and foster more youth clubs across Saudi universities. What advice would you give social entrepreneurs to sustain an impactful success? To always ask these three questions: is the project economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally bearable?
1 of 5
11 August 2022
Ministry of Environment Agriculture and Water in cooperation with FAO and international communities explore the potential use of cactus pear or AlBarshumy in the AlBaha Region, Saudi Arabia
Cactus pear, also known as Barshumy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has unique properties, diverse nature and a wide range of uses with economic benefits. This plant has been well adopted by countries characterized by arid and semi-arid climates. However, in Saudi Arabia the cactus pear introduced since more than century has been abandoned by farmers and invaded the forest and rangelands of the Al Baha and Assir and become a real threat of the biodiversity. The workshop aims at grouping experts from the international community to discuss the potential use of cactus pear and convert it from invasive species to cash crop. Opening Ceremony At the opening of the workshop “Pear Cactus: Development and Sustainability”, FAO Saudi Arabia Director (OiC), Dr Ayman Omer shared FAO’s long outstanding cooperation with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) on the studies and promotions of Cactus Pear through the network called CactusNet (www.cactusnetwork.org). FAO-ICARDA International Technical Cooperation Network on Cactus plays an important role to promote technical cooperation through the dissemination of information from planting to market and exchange of field experience and database from its cultivation and uses and publishing of scientific research in the areas. Recently, FAO, in cooperation with ICARDA has issued a book entitled, “Crop Ecology, Cultivation and Uses of Cactus pear” that includes information on the genetic resources of the Cactus Pear, its physiological characteristics, soil types suitable for its cultivation and the pests affecting it. This 244-page book is made available in English and Arabic versions and the link was shared with visitors. Dr. Omer also emphasizes FAO commitment to contribute to the development of the national programme in combatting the cactus pear as an invasive plant and to value it as a cash crop through the use of best practices and modern technologies. 3-day Cactus Workshop The workshop was held for 3 days from 8-10 August 2022 and it was attended by a number of government leaders, NGO, farmers and individuals especially from AlBaha and Assir. The event covers the crop’s planting, management, development, marketing and sustainability and the speakers shared good practices and management experiences from various countries from Argentina, Egypt, Tunisia, Mexico, South Africa, India as well as Saudi Arabia. FAO displayed some videos and shared a number of publications related to cactus pear development and uses at its booth. The visitors’ feedbacks were positive on the new initiatives and perspective on cactus pear as it has huge potential for human consumption products, also a source of animal feed and medicinal uses. The workshop concluded with recommendations and a field visit. Amongst the recommendations from the workshop are to conduct a survey study on the geographical distribution of the prickly pear in the Kingdom using modern technologies and field visits in order to map its distribution, assess its environmental impact and suggest appropriate sustainable agricultural practices. Farmers should be supported with the necessary skills and knowledge prior to adopting the Barshumy crop, especially in agricultural terraces and marginal lands. Al Barshumy should be adopted as an alternative resource for animal feed to overcome the shortage of fodder and possible droughts. Farmers should acknowledge the various high-value properties and uses of Al Barshumy in the market. An establishment of a prickly pear city, in AlBaha that consists of a factory for main and secondary products, storage, logistics and marketing facilities as well as an exhibitions platform would encourage farmers and rural families to participate. It has to primarily be supported by the establishment of genetic pools and mother fields for the different varieties/provenances of Al Barshumy. A research chair for prickly pear with the aim of encouraging researchers and graduate students to conduct studies and research related to investment and development as well as Al Barshumy’s cultivation and combating its pests. A dedicated Al Barshumy farmers' associations, cooperative societies and start-up companies that adopt an integrated approach to maximize the benefits of Al Barshumy products. Set up cooperation with research centers and international organizations (Such as FAO, ICARDA and other related institutions and organizations) in the various stages of the value chain related to the prickly pear. Consistent capacity building of farmers and stakeholders through holding workshops and training courses to raise awareness and scientific and practical skills to deal with AlBarshumy from planting to harvesting for the sustainability of AlBarshumi.
1 of 5
14 June 2022
26 December 2021
1 / 11