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Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are promising action on climate change and sustainability as they gear up for next month’s COP conference in Egypt.

The Saudi Green Initiative, with the backing of £1.65bn of the state’s resources, will host its own summit-within-a-summit on 11-12 November. That will be preceded by a Middle East Green Initiative conference on 7 November.

The events represent a new era of cooperation between Arab countries in the region as they aim to combat habitat loss, high temperatures, low rainfall, dust storms and desertification.

The Gulf states want to showcase action they are taking to hit carbon reduction targets. In Saudi Arabia, 10 billion trees are being planted while 30 per cent of the land will become protected areas, with the aim of ultimately enabling the return of species such as the critically endangered Arabian leopard.

The Arabian leopard is currently endangered but a rewilding initiative is looking to change that


Saudi Arabia is also committing to reducing carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually by 2030. The wider regional targets to be outlined at the MGI Summit will focus on reducing regional carbon emissions by more than 10 per cent of the global total.

The COP conference takes place at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Some of Saudi Arabia’s most high profile regeneration development work is based in the Red Sea, which it shares with Egypt.

“Our partnership with Egypt reflects a shared belief in the importance of collaborative action to address the environmental and climate challenges facing the region and the world today,” said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

MBS, as he is widely known, is also chairman of the Higher Committee for the Saudi Green Initiative. The SGI and MGI conference, as part of the wider COP effort, will inspire “joint activity at the local, regional, and international levels,” he said.

The SGI held its inaugural summit in Riyadh last year. This year’s conference is being held under the theme ‘from ambition to action’ and will include contributions from climate experts discussing progress made over the past year.

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