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Middle East Green Initiative

On October 25th, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spearheaded the first ever climate summit in the region by hosting the Middle East Green Initiative. Gathering in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed world leaders and representatives from 27 countries to discuss ambitious goals for climate action.

Saudi Arabia announced that they will achieve net-zero by 2060 through the implementation of the Circular Carbon Economy. The Kingdom is dedicated to sharing technology and tools with neighboring states through the creation of a Co-operative Platform to accelerate implementation of the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) Concept and a Regional Investment Fund for Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) technology. A Regional Center for Carbon Extraction Use and Storage will also be created.

The Summit introduced the Middle East Pact on Climate Change, the first climate action pact for the region. The summit also announced the establishment of a non-profit Green Initiative Foundation to support the implementation of the Middle East Green Initiative. Attendees committed to plant 50 billion trees in the region and reduce emissions in the hydrocarbon industry by 60%. Saudi Arabia will also launch a Regional Initiative for Clean Fuel Solutions for cooking to more than 750 million people worldwide.

A regional Hub for Climate Change will be established to equip states with the knowledge and tools needed to mitigate the effects of climate change. A Regional Early Storm Warning will be introduced to reduce the negative impact of dust and sandstorms on health, agriculture, livestock, and transport. A Regional Cloud Seeding Program will also be introduced to increase rainfall 10-20% from the current baseline.

Finally, the formation of a regional center for Sustainable Development for Fisheries to increase marine biodiversity and reduce emissions was also announced during the Summit. This center will showcase The Kingdom’s dedication to climate and cooperation in the maritime sector.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, spoke at the summit saying, “solidarity and fairness are core principles that underpin the multilateral regime. That is why I am pleased to see that the Middle East Green Initiative is a regional and cooperative approach to climate action. The launch of the Middle East Green Initiative today is a clear testimony to the region's ability to act as a frontrunner for a post-carbon, resilient and inclusive economy.”

John Kerry, the first ever Special Presidential Envoy for Climate for the United States attended and applauded Saudi Arabia for the launch of the Middle East Green Initiative by stating, “The Middle East Green Initiative is different — it’s a reflection of the urgency of the moment. I want to thank Saudi Arabia for its presentation of an updated NDC, and the next zero goal which is a major step forward since Paris, It cannot be under estimated what it means to have one of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers step up at a moment when all countries need to step up.”

The Middle East Green Initiative offered a stage for climate diplomacy and to foster the political will needed for transformative action.

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