Under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and on his behalf – may God protect him -, His Excellency the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Eng. Water and Desert, the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Charitable Foundation, and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, in the presence of His Excellency the President of the University, Dr. Badran bin Abdul Rahman Al-Omar.
During the opening of the conference activities, several speeches were delivered in which the speakers raised thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Highness the Trustworthy Crown Prince – may God preserve them – for their constant directives to make great efforts to bring about radical development in all areas of development in the Kingdom, in addition to the great interest in supporting Research centers and universities in the Kingdom and the sponsorship of the scientific events that they hold because of their great importance in contributing to achieving the goals of the “Kingdom’s Vision 2030” programs, which it is hoped for, with the help of God Almighty, to develop scientific research in the Kingdom and its progress at all levels.
The ceremony included a speech by the Chairman of the Supreme Supervisory Committee of the conference supervising the Prince Sultan Institute for Environment, Water and Desert Research, Secretary General of the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, Dr. Abdulmalik bin Abdulrahman Al Sheikh, in which he stressed the importance of workflow in implementing many ambitious initiatives adopted by the Kingdom launched by His Royal Highness and Crown Prince The Covenant – may God protect him -, based on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in 2016 AD, which was followed by strenuous steps to build a more sustainable future at all levels, and among these initiatives that the conference will highlight is the “Saudi Green Initiative”.
He stressed that the initiative aims to protect the environment, energy conversion and sustainability programs in the Kingdom, in order to achieve its comprehensive goals of offsetting and reducing carbon emissions, increasing the use of clean energy, and combating climate change.
Al-Sheikh gave an overview of the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, which coincided with the twenty years since its inception by its founder, His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, may God have mercy on him.
He added: “The conference aims to develop knowledge and exchange information within its five axes, which are water and dry environment, water rationalization and conservation, and the use of modern technologies in studying the dry environment and its natural resources, in addition to exchanging experiences between decision makers, experts and specialists, with the aim of finding solutions to challenges.” related to water and the environment, especially in arid and semi-arid regions of the world.
At the end of the ceremony, the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture delivered a speech in which he affirmed the state’s support for motivating scientists and researchers to work on developing research, innovation and technologies, adding that this contributes to finding practical solutions to many challenges in environmental, water and desertification issues, explaining that the state has paid attention to working on developing a national strategy. For water and the environment, it includes many strategic objectives, programs and initiatives that adopt research and innovation, and are among the options and enablers to support and enhance the management of water resources, to raise environmental commitment and reduce pollution.
He added: “The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has adopted many initiatives and programs to develop the natural plant sector and combat desertification, most notably the “Saudi Green Initiative” and the Green Middle East Initiative, in addition to the Water Resources Initiative, which includes 15 initiatives, including the initiative to develop renewable groundwater resources. It is the main focus of this conference, which resulted in many projects that contributed to enhancing the utilization of renewable water, including the construction of dams, whose storage capacity amounted to about two billion and six hundred million cubic meters. Rainwater harvesting projects, rehabilitation of agricultural terraces, and rural development programs were also developed.
His Excellency said that the environmental field has achieved many targets to reduce carbon emissions in the desalination industry at a rate of 26 million tons annually, in addition to programs for the rehabilitation of pastoral sites, seedling production, and afforestation and seed field development to protect and develop the vegetation cover.