Namira Mosque walkways cooled with white coating 

RIYADH: The third Arab Environment Forum, hosted by the Kingdom this year, was held in Riyadh from June 3-4 to discuss and propose solutions to the looming environmental issues in the Arab region.

It took place before World Environment Day, June 5, which this year, in addition to the UN Environment Program, will also be hosted by the Kingdom under the theme “Our country. Our future.”

Director of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Meteorology of the Arab League, dr. During his opening remarks, Mahmoud Fath-Allah said that the Arab countries are among the most vulnerable in the world to damage to the ecosystem, as 90 percent of the areas in the region are classified as dry or extremely dry.

“We have all recognized that the diversification of natural system services as a result of the ongoing loss of natural resources and soil degradation strengthens the region’s efforts and its capacity to achieve food security and human stability, so the choice of theme for this year’s forum, ‘Land Rehabilitation to Increase Resilience,’ it strengthens the reality of cooperation and coordination with all international partners for the restoration of our natural resources,” he said.

Represented by the Royal Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the annual forum provided a platform for decision-makers, experts and professionals in Arab countries to promote joint environmental action in the region.

In a speech, Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli said: “The Kingdom has adopted many pioneering national initiatives, notably the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative, which aim to strengthen regional cooperation to reduce land degradation, preserve vegetation, increasing biodiversity, food and water security, adapting to climate change and improving quality of life.

“The Kingdom has also played a key role in the development of the Global Initiative to Reduce Land Degradation and Wild Habitat Loss and the Platform Initiative to Accelerate Global Coral Reef Research and Development.”

The first panel discussion of the forum addressed the issue of soil degradation and the environmental challenges faced regionally and globally.

The session expanded the issue within the framework of planetary challenges and the role of the Rio Conventions; the Arab region’s need to achieve sustainable development goals; the most prominent outcomes of the sixth session of the UN Environment Assembly and their application in the Arab region; and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to environmental development by hosting COP16.

The following panel discussion discussed the importance of strengthening food and water security through sustainable food systems and water resource management, drought mitigation and proactive approaches to soil conservation.

The first day’s agenda concluded with the third part, “The Importance of Environmental Commitment in Conserving Terrestrial Ecosystems”, which offered insights into managing human development activities and reducing negative impacts on terrestrial ecosystems, legislation and environmental performance indicators; sustainable waste management to preserve terrestrial ecosystems; and the use of modern technologies to increase environmental commitment.

The Forum also opened an accompanying exhibition where national, regional and international institutions from the public and private sectors and civil society presented important environmental projects, initiatives and the latest technologies.

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