Today we stand before a historic event: The Green Saudi Initiative and the Green Middle East Initiative announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
These are international environmental initiatives that reflect the level of responsibility that the crown prince and deputy prime minister feels toward the world, which is experiencing challenges that require similar eagerness that moves away from accusations and evading responsibility to real action in which everyone participates.
The crown prince said that “as a leading global oil producer, we are fully aware of our share of responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis, and that, as our pioneering role in stabilizing energy markets during the oil and gas era, we will act to lead the next green era.”
It is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that we make great advances. Initiatives at all levels are building blocks of a great edifice that will reveal its true scale at the dawn of 2030. We are hardly done with a great initiative when similar initiatives that we thought were hard to adopt are revealed. The reality today is that we are in an era when people can only build appropriately with their ambition and belief in their capabilities.
It is difficult not to notice the numbers mentioned by the crown prince in his green environmental initiatives. We are talking about 50 billion trees (the largest reforestation program in the world) that will change the face of this part of the world so that the noble prophecy (of the Prophet Muhammad) will be fulfilled that this area will be green and full of rivers once again. Undoubtedly, these green initiatives provide the causes to fulfil this prophecy out of our faith in God Almighty first, in the prophecy of His noble Prophet, and in the ability to be the change that we want and await.
The world today stands amazed at the inspiring spirit of youth that is radiating from my country. Even among the climate conferees and researchers, this ambitious and enthusiastic spirit to support the greenery of the earth did not exist with this momentum and ambition in partnership with the leaders of regional countries, with whom the crown prince communicated personally and presented them with the initiatives as a regional project that calls for everyone’s cooperation to achieve.
The Middle East is the region that is most concerned with climate change and its challenges in the world. Therefore, this major project aims to protect nature with initiatives that have clear and ambitious features, in the face of serious challenges such as desertification, air pollution, carbon emissions, threats to the marine and coastal environment and the lack of natural reserves.
We have to express our pride in such initiatives that reflect the extent of our wise leadership’s awareness of its role and responsibility toward the international community and its deep understanding of the nature of the real challenges facing the world despite its great local, regional and international concerns.
The Green Saudi and the Green Middle East Initiatives embody what the crown prince said: “We do not avoid difficult choices. We reject the misguided choice between preserving the economy or protecting the environment. We believe that working to combat climate change enhances competitiveness, sparks innovation and creates millions of jobs. Today, the rising generation in the Kingdom and the world demands a cleaner and more sustainable future, and we owe it to them to do so.”
Nayef Al-Fahadi is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Japan.