His Royal Highness Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City launched the Riyadh Sustainability Strategy yesterday at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, among global experts and industry leaders to address the environmental challenges that the city and region are facing.
His Royal Highness said: “We are determined to transform Riyadh into one of the most sustainable cities in the world.”
The Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC) announced that Riyadh Sustainability Strategy will include 68 ambitious initiatives and projects across five sectors: energy and climate change, air quality, water management, waste management, biodiversity, and natural areas.
Riyadh Sustainability Strategy will see carbon emissions in the city reduced by 50 percent. In addition, there will be SAR 346 billion ($92 billion) invested in sustainability initiatives and projects, stimulating the private sector.
Commenting on Riyadh Sustainability Strategy, His Excellency the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Fahd Al-Rasheed, extended his gratitude to His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for launching the Riyadh Sustainability Strategy. His Excellency Al-Rasheed said, “The direction of His Royal Highness reminds us that the ambitious economic growth of Riyadh will not come at the expense of the environment and sustainability.”
His Excellency emphasized the efficient management of natural resources, referring to an investment of SAR 30 billion ($8 billion) to increase the use of treated water for irrigation in Riyadh from 11% to 100%. This will ensure every drop used is recycled, making the capital’s water consumption more sustainable. The plans also commit to investing nearly SAR 56 billion ($15 billion) in waste management projects to recycle 94% of waste into energy.
His Excellency explained that the environmental investments announced by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince will save the city between SAR 40 to 65 billion ($11 to 17.3 billion). This saving is due to improving the level of infrastructure efficiency, lowering energy and water consumption, as well as reducing the cost of healthcare, by improving public health.
Riyadh’s new Sustainability Strategy will positively impact livability across the city. His Excellency communicated that, at the time of completion, the King Abdulaziz Project for Public Transport in Riyadh will increase the adoption of public transportation in the city from 5% to 20%, driven by a SAR 112.5 billion ($30 billion) investment that is expected to reduce the number of daily trips by one million, which will result in a reduction of roughly 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. By 2030, on the roads, the capital plans to reach electric vehicle usage to up to 30%.
His Excellency added that the RCRC is investing SAR 30 billion ($8 billion) in projects such as the Green Riyadh initiative, which is one of Riyadh’s four mega projects and a major contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals Index.
The Green Riyadh and Riyadh Sustainability initiatives aim to plant 15 million trees and increase the per capita share of green space from 1.7 square meters to 28 square meters, within urban areas by 2030. This will lower city temperatures by 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius and reduce the main radiant temperature in the range of 8 to 15 degrees in the shade. More than 3,300 neighborhood parks of varying sizes and 43 major city parks will be built in the city of Riyadh, with the aim of improving quality of life. “Our parks will foster a sense of community, strengthen our residents’ connection with their environment and improve the quality of life for citizens across the capital,” he added.
Commenting on the RCRC projects, His Excellency said: “We will also invest SAR 30 billion ($8 billion) to increase energy production from renewable sources by 50 percent, making the city’s energy mix more sustainable.”
“Creating 350,000 new jobs and adding an incremental SAR 150 billion to the local economy by the end of the decade,” he added.
The Saudi Green Initiative Forum began its activities today in the capital, Riyadh, in the presence of a number of ministers, business leaders, pioneers and local and international academics specialized in the field of environmental and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The forum discussed the Kingdom’s direction and roadmap that it will follow to achieve the strategic goals of sustainability in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The forum also discussed building an integrated green economy, and strategies to expand the scope of the Kingdom’s commitments to meet the challenge of climate change locally and globally.