Saudi Arabia tops the world in environmental performance indicators

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Saudi Arabia has outperformed 180 countries in two indicators of environmental performance, as revealed by the National Center for Performance Measurement “Adaa,” which monitors the international indicators.

The Kingdom ranked first in the “Tree Cover Loss” and “Wetland” indicators, in addition to surpassing 172 countries in preserving and protecting natural environments and preventing the extinction of rare animal species, ranking eighth in the world in the "Species Habitat Index.”

Saudi Arabia’s environmental performances were revealed as the international community marked World Environment Day on Saturday.

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“According to Adaa center, the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture is making remarkable efforts to protect the environment, which had an important impact on life, wealth, and the economy, and contributed to preserving the environment's natural resources and their sustainable development,” the Saudi Press agency stated in a report.

“The Kingdom’s achievements in the environment-related sectors are important in the international indicators, according to Ada, citing Saudi Arabia’s ranking first place in the “Tree Cover Loss” indicator which confirms its preservation of forest areas, knowing that this indicator measures the average annual loss in forest area over the past five years; the chronological age of the launch of Vision 2030,” the report added.

Saudi Arabia also outperformed 133 countries by ranking 34th in the world and first in the Middle East and North Africa in the "Forest soils and site indicator" which assesses the quality of land, forests, and soil resources and their impact on the quality of life, in addition to the “No Floods” and “Sustainable Nitrogen Management” as sub-indicators of the “Forest soils and site,” in which the Kingdom ranked 17th and 19th globally, respectively, whereas the first measures the number of recorded floods based on data issued by the World Resources Institute while the second measures sustainable nitrogen management in crop production through two measures: nitrogen use efficiency, and land-use efficiency for crop productivity.

An aerial view of palm trees in the Ula desert near the northwestern Saudi town of al-Ula on February 11, 2019. (AFP)
An aerial view of palm trees in the Ula desert near the northwestern Saudi town of al-Ula on February 11, 2019. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the “Saudi Arabia Green Initiative” and the “Middle East Green Initiative” in March that will both chart the Kingdom and the region's direction in protecting land.

The Saudi Green Initiative, the Crown Prince said, will work to raise vegetation cover, reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation, and preserve marine life.

Both initiatives will include a number of ambitious projects, including the planting of 10 billion trees within Saudi Arabia during the coming decades, equivalent to rehabilitating about 40 million hectares of degraded lands. The initiative hopes to increase the areas covered by the current trees by 12 times.

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