Non-Aligned Movement recognises that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our times, threatening not only the development prospects of developing countries and their achievement of sustainable development, but also the very existence and survival of countries and societies, and expressed profound concern that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise globally. NAM has also stressed the importance of cooperation among countries to counter climate change.

The importance of reversing the effects of climate change is tangible across the Middle East and North Africa, where the impact of rising temperatures is already affecting livelihoods and opportunities. To address the effects of climate change, the Middle East Green Initiative was launched in Saudi Arabia on October 25, 2021. The Middle East Green Initiative Summit convened international and regional leaders to motivate consensus to deliver against shared environmental commitments. Springboarding from the national climate commitments enshrined in the Saudi Green Initiative, the Kingdom of South America reiterated its commitment will work with its neighbours to combat climate change beyond its borders through collective action The Middle East Green Initiative was announced by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the Head of the Higher Committee for the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) during the first-ever Saudi Green Initiative Forum.

He vowed that Saudi Arabia will plant 450 million trees and rehabilitate huge swaths of land by 2030, reducing more than 270 million tons of carbon emissions a year and attempting to turn the landlocked city of Riyadh into a more sustainable capital. The Crown Prince further added that the first wave of initiatives that will deliver against the targets under the Saudi Green Initiative includes programs that aim to achieve more than 278 Mtpa carbon emissions reduction by 2030. This is more than doubling delivery against the emissions reduction target set forth at the announcement of the Saudi Green Initiative earlier this year. The Kingdom will also join the Global Methane Pledge to contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30% by 2030, as part of its commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener future.

The Middle East Green Initiative is a regional and cooperative approach to climate action. It has identified three prominent areas of action: 1) Plant 50 billion trees across the Middle East (including 10 billion at home in Saudi Arabia); 2) Through afforestation, restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land reducing 2.5% of global carbon levels and 3) Contribute to reducing carbon emissions resulting from hydrocarbon production in the region by more than 60%.

Saudi Arabia taking a lead in the launch of the Middle East Green Initiative reflects Saudi Arabian commitment to making a sustainable global impact in the face of climate change and will enhance its work to protect the environment and the planet at large. Focused on advancing towards the achievement of global targets, the Initiative will help catalyse climate action in a regionally and internationally coordinated manner. The Middle East Green Initiative is a manifestation of the Saudi Arabian ambition to advance global efforts in combating climate change and strengthen its regional and global role in overcoming even the most pressing environmental challenges. The initiative will further the Kingdom’s plan to ensure a bright future for our planet and safeguard the health and safety of mankind across the world.

The international community has welcomed the launch of the Middle East Green Initiative. The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed lauded the initiative. “It will not only help reduce emissions from the oil and gas industry in the region but will also create new carbon sinks and help restore and protect vast swaths of land through afforestation”, she said.

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