- Unified Vision: The Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) symbolizes a unified national effort to combat climate change, emphasizing emissions reduction, clean energy adoption, and environmental conservation.
- Emissions Reduction: With a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2060, Saudi Arabia is transforming its energy landscape, committing to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
- Afforestation Efforts: SGI’s ambitious plan to plant 10 billion trees across Saudi Arabia aims to rehabilitate 40 million hectares of degraded land, showcasing a major stride towards reversing desertification.
- Conservation Commitments: The initiative’s pledge to protect 30% of Saudi Arabia’s terrestrial and marine areas by 2030 underlines a deep commitment to preserving the kingdom’s natural heritage.
- Green Economy: The first wave of SGI initiatives represents an investment exceeding SAR 700 billion, signalling a significant move towards fostering a sustainable green economy.
- Public-Private Collaboration: SGI encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors to leverage innovation and investment in sustainability projects.
- Quality of Life Improvements: Beyond environmental benefits, SGI initiatives are designed to enhance the quality of life for Saudi residents through sustainable urban development and increased green spaces.
Unveiling Saudi Green Initiative: A Leap to Sustainability
In the wake of Vision 2030‘s (Link to article on Pillars of Saudis 2030 Vision) launch in 2016 , Saudi Arabia embarked on a transformative journey towards sustainability. The Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), inaugurated in 2021, epitomizes this shift, uniting environmental protection, energy transition, and comprehensive sustainability programs. SGI’s inception marks a pivotal moment in the Kingdom’s history, signifying a unified national endeavour to mitigate climate change, enhance clean energy utilization, and foster a robust green economy. SGI stands as the cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s sustainability ambitions, orchestrating the nation’s climate change efforts under a cohesive framework with clearly delineated objectives. This initiative is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s holistic approach, blending government and private sector efforts to unlock synergies in innovation and sustainability.
Key Objectives of the Saudi Green Initiative
To fulfil Saudi Arabia’s sustainability objectives, the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) is committed to several key goals. Firstly, it serves as the central coordinating body for the nation’s climate change initiatives, uniting various efforts under one clear and focused strategy. Secondly, SGI actively fosters collaboration between the government and private sector, seeking innovative opportunities to address environmental challenges together. Moreover, SGI is driving the growth of a green economy, with substantial investments exceeding SAR 700 billion in its inaugural wave of over 60 initiatives in 2021. It aims to propel the green transition and establish Saudi Arabia as a global leader in implementing the Circular Carbon Economy approach. Ultimately, SGI strives to enhance the quality of life for present and future generations in Saudi Arabia by safeguarding the environment and promoting sustainability.
SGI Focus Areas
Circular Carbon Economy
Central to Saudi Arabia’s environmental strategy is the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) framework, a comprehensive approach to managing emissions that emphasizes reduction, reuse, recycling, and removal of carbon. The kingdom has launched over 30 CCE initiatives, addressing various aspects of the energy system to enable climate action while promoting economic growth.
Investment in the Green Transition
Saudi Arabia envisions a sustainable future where the transition to net-zero emissions aligns with economic development. The kingdom’s inclusive approach to the green transition aims to generate investments, create jobs, and foster opportunities that benefit millions, illustrating a commitment to a balanced and responsible path to sustainability.
In the global fight against climate change, Saudi Arabia emphasizes the importance of international collaboration and knowledge-sharing. The kingdom is expanding its cross-border efforts to contribute to a more sustainable future, recognizing that collective action is essential in addressing environmental challenges.
The Saudi Green Initiative encapsulates a whole-of-society ambition, activating the public and private sectors alongside citizens to contribute to national environmental targets. This collaborative approach highlights the shared responsibility and collective determination required to achieve significant climate action.
(Source: Saudi & Middle East Green Initiatives)
Pursuing Three Targets with Over 80 Initiatives
Saudi Arabia has activated 81 initiatives as part of the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), a comprehensive effort aimed at achieving lasting positive change and creating a greener future for the nation. These initiatives encompass a wide range of environmental conservation and sustainability measures.
Under the umbrella of the SGI, these initiatives cover various critical areas, including afforestation, biodiversity protection, emissions reduction, and the establishment of new protected areas. These efforts are at the forefront of driving environmental conservation and sustainability in the Kingdom.
One notable contributor to these initiatives is the National Centre for Wildlife, which plays a pivotal role in safeguarding terrestrial and marine wildlife. Their activities involve expanding protected areas with integrated and sustainable management practices, conserving coastal environments, breeding and reintroducing endangered species, combating illegal hunting and overfishing, and promoting environmental awareness and sustainable practices.
(Source: Saudi & Middle East Green Initiatives)
As Saudi Arabia continues to make substantial progress in these environmental initiatives, it aligns with the three primary goals of the Saudi Green Initiative:
Reducing Emissions: Towards a Net-Zero Future
Committed to a net-zero future by 2060, Saudi Arabia is revolutionizing its energy landscape. The pledge to derive 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 is a significant stride towards an eco-friendly energy mix. SGI catalyses a spectrum of initiatives aimed at emissions reduction, including investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency enhancements, and the development of carbon capture and storage solutions. These efforts are pivotal in propelling the kingdom towards its climate objectives, ensuring a sustainable legacy.
Greening Saudi: Reversing Desertification
SGI’s ambitious afforestation efforts underscore Saudi Arabia’s proactive stance against desertification, aiming to plant 10 billion trees across the nation. This monumental endeavour is poised to rehabilitate 40 million hectares of degraded land, restoring essential ecological functions, improving air quality, curtailing sandstorms, and fostering biodiversity. The initiative’s progress is tangible, with 18 million trees planted and 60,000 hectares of land rehabilitated in 2022 alone, manifesting the kingdom’s commitment to ecological restoration.
Protecting Land and Sea: Preserving Natural Heritage
Under SGI, Saudi Arabia has pledged to safeguard 30% of its terrestrial and marine territories by 2030, partnering with leading global conservation entities like the IUCN to achieve this ambitious goal. This commitment ensures the protection of the kingdom’s diverse ecosystems, from its unique landscapes to its rich marine habitats, securing a verdant and vibrant natural legacy for future generations.
Impact and Progress: A Green Economy in the Making
The first wave of SGI initiatives, with an investment exceeding SAR 700 billion, signifies a ground-breaking leap towards a green economy. This financial infusion is not merely an investment in sustainability but a strategic allocation towards redefining the kingdom’s economic and environmental paradigms.
Renewable Energy Milestones
SGI’s impact on Saudi Arabia’s energy sector is profound, with 700MW of renewable energy already integrated into the national grid and 13.76 GW under development. The announcement of 17 new renewable energy projects in 2022 further exemplifies the kingdom’s unwavering commitment to clean energy.
Socio-Economic Benefits of Tree Planting
Beyond the environmental benefits, the afforestation initiatives under SGI offer substantial socio-economic advantages, from job creation in rural areas to enhancing community well-being. The cultivation of 250,000 shrubs in AlUla nurseries and the approval of 62 tree planting sites across the kingdom underscore the initiative’s comprehensive reach.
Advancing Biodiversity Protection
SGI’s conservation efforts have already yielded significant results, with 66,000 km² of land and sea protected and over 1,200 animals re-wilded in 2022. The establishment of a ‘No-take’ Marine Protected Area along the Red Sea coast is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s dedication to marine conservation.
Despite commendable efforts, Saudi Arabia faces the challenge of balancing conservation and development in line with Vision 2030. The Kingdom’s commitment to maintaining a balanced ecosystem is integral for sustainable development. Innovative approaches include promoting ecotourism and leveraging technological advancements through international collaborations to preserve marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Saudi Arabia’s dedication to protecting its ecosystems serves as a global model for sustainable development, aligning closely with the principles of Vision 2030. The Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) embodies the Kingdom’s vision for a sustainable future, surpassing mere environmental projects to represent proactive environmental governance. Through SGI, Saudi Arabia is not only addressing global sustainability challenges but also setting new standards for environmental stewardship regionally and globally. As SGI continues to evolve, it will shape the Kingdom’s green transformation, ensuring a legacy of sustainability for future generations.
Why was the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) launched?
As a leading global energy producer, Saudi Arabia is committed to advancing the global fight against climate change. Since the launch of Vision 2030, tremendous progress has been made in addressing Saudi Arabia’s unique environmental challenges, but it is clear that there is much more to be done to address climate issues the world is facing.
Announced in 2021, the ambition of SGI is to catalyse and implement a sustainable long-term climate action plan for the Kingdom. With ambitious plans, three key targets and whole-of-society action, SGI is a leap forward within Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become a global leader in forging a greener future.
Who is behind the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI)?
The Saudi Green Initiative is a national initiative under the patronage of His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
How does the Saudi Green initiative work?
The Saudi Green Initiative is a whole-of-society initiative. To support national climate ambitions and targets, the initiative draws on the expertise and resources of the Saudi government, the private sector and civil society.
How will the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) deliver on Saudi Arabia’s climate ambitions and targets?
As of late 2022, 77 initiatives are being implemented to deliver against three SGI targets. The SGI targets were defined to enable Saudi Arabia to scale up action on all fronts as part of a sustainable roadmap to net zero emissions.
Two focused committees, The Energy and Climate Change Committee and The Environment Committee, oversee the implementation of initiatives against the targets. They also rally the public and private sector ecosystems to ensure coordination and that all efforts uphold the highest international standards.
The first wave of more than 60 initiatives announced in 2021 represented over SAR 700 billion of investments, contributing to the growth of the green economy. In 2022,17 new environment-focused initiatives were launched. More initiatives will launch in the coming years, scaling up Saudi Arabia’s ambition to create a green future.
How can I partner with or contribute to the Saudi Green Initiative?
The Saudi Green Initiative encourages companies, individuals, entrepreneurs and NGOs who are working on sustainability initiatives in Saudi Arabia to reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org