Saudi Arabia rights workshop confronts child abuse

04/02/20

Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad
  • Al-Awad stressed that the Kingdom has made great progress at the international level in the protection of childhood

RIYADH: The President of the Human Rights Commission Awad Al-Awad has affirmed that sexual harassment against children constitutes a grave violation of their rights and is a perverted practice criminalized by Islamic law and international law.

He called for intensified efforts and joint action at the family, community and institutional levels to enhance awareness of its risks and negative impacts. This came in a speech yesterday during a workshop organized by the commission in Riyadh, with the participation of a number of relevant authorities, civil society institutions and specialists.

Al-Awad stressed that the Kingdom has made great progress at the international level in the protection of childhood. He added that Saudi Arabia has taken many measures to strengthen the relevant regulatory and institutional frameworks.

Dr. Nadia Nusair, a family psychological counsellor, said: “Sexual harassment is a worldwide phenomenon that exists in both Arab and Western countries, but with different scales in each country.”

Psychological analysis of offenders shows that they tend to be unstable and psychopathic.

The harasser is usually a family member or a person who is well-known to the child.

Al-Awad stressed the need to work in line with the state’s policies related to child protection.

He added that the commission aimed, through the workshop, to find new mechanisms to confront child abuse.

The commission aims to achieve an effective partnership between government agencies and civil society institutions that deal with children.

It is also developing a joint action plan and new tools to report harassment.

The commission is looking to improve the quality of assistance and support provided to victims’ families in the legal, psychological and medical experience, as well as finding the right means to reintegrate victims into schools.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia 3rd-fastest reducer of fuel emissions among G20 nations

04/02/20

Carbon dioxide emissions in Saudi Arabia fell by almost double the predicted amount during 2018, the most up-to-date statistics from Enerdata have revealed. (Reuters/File)
  • CO2 emissions in the Kingdom fell by almost double the predicted amount during 2018

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has become the third-fastest reducer of emissions from fuel consumption among G20 countries, according to latest figures.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the Kingdom fell by almost double the predicted amount during 2018, the most up-to-date statistics from Enerdata have revealed.

Data for the year showed a 4.4 percent or 26 million tons (MtCO2) fall in emissions in the country, down from 579 MtCO2 in 2017 to 553 MtCO2 in 2018. Previous estimates had put the reduction at 2.4 percent (15 MtCO2).

The results moved Saudi Arabia up from being fourth to the third-fastest reducer of emissions from fuel consumption among the top-five G20 group of countries, behind Brazil and France and in front of Germany and Japan.

Researchers at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) have published an analysis based on the updated estimates.

“This new data shows that the impact of energy efficiency and energy price reforms in reducing wasteful energy use has been even greater than expected,” said Dr. Nicholas Howarth, a researcher at KAPSARC.

“Prior to 2016, CO2 emissions grew at over 5 percent each year. Seeing emissions now fall so strongly may come as a surprise to many.

“It also comes as Saudi Arabia hosts the G20 summit, where climate change is an important agenda item. It sets the stage well for the Kingdom to show leadership on the issue,” he added.

KAPSARC’s study findings showed that the rate of improvement in the energy intensity of Saudi Arabia’s economy was 5.5 percent in 2018, well above the global average of 1.2 percent.

Dr. Alessandro Lanza, another KAPSARC researcher, said: “Falling energy intensity was responsible for 81 percent of the emissions reductions, meaning more value is being created for every unit of energy consumed locally.”

According to researcher Thamir Al-Shehri, a sharp fall in diesel consumption was the main reason for the additional drop in emission levels.

“Emissions from the transport sector fell by an extra 10 MtCO2 than what was previously expected. This was due to diesel emissions falling by 19 MtCO2, or 43 percent, from 43.5 MtCO2 in 2017 to 24.5 MtCO2 in 2018.

“In addition to lower fuel use from consumers, part of the explanation for this large drop may be a lower payoff due to higher local diesel prices for those who would buy the fuel in Saudi Arabia to illegally export to other countries,” added Al-Shehri.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Neom megacity will have world’s first ‘solar dome’ desalination plant

Time: 30 January, 2020 

(Photo/Supplied)
  • Facility will be completely sustainable, carbon neutral and greatly reduce environmental impact of water extraction
  • Construction is due to begin in the next month and is expected to be complete by end of 2020

TABUK: The Neom smart-city project will use cutting-edge solar technology to power a desalination plant that produces clean, low-cost, environmentally friendly fresh water.

The decision aims to enhance megacity’s position as a new global tourism destination, a center of innovation and environmental conservation, and as an accelerator of human progress.

Neom signed an agreement with UK business Solar Water Limited to build a desalination plant in the northwest of the Kingdom that uses the newly developed “solar dome” technology. It is hoped the first-of-its-kind, completely sustainable and carbon-neutral facility will shape the future of desalination in Neom, the Kingdom and throughout the world.

Work on the solar dome project will begin in February and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The technology it employs will significantly reduce the environmental impact of the desalination process by producing less saline solution, a byproduct that can harm natural ecosystems.

The pioneering and innovative approach from Solar Water Limited, which was developed at Cranfield University in the UK, represents the first widespread use of concentrated solar power technology in desalination, Neom said. Seawater is pumped into a hydrological solar dome made of glass and steel, where it is heated and evaporated to remove the salt. The process can continue at night thanks to the storage of solar energy generated throughout the day. The technology helps to prevent any damage to marine life as it does not dump saline solution created by the process back into the sea.

“Neom’s adoption of the experimental version of this program supports the sustainability goals set by the Ministry in the Kingdom, as shown in the National Water Strategy 2030, and is fully in line with the sustainable-development goals set by the United Nations,” said Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli.

Neom CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said that the megacity project has easy access to abundant amounts of seawater and completely renewable energy resources, which puts it in the ideal position to produce low-cost and sustainable fresh water using solar-powered desalination.

He added that the adoption of this type of technology reflects Neom’s commitment to supporting innovation, protecting the environment and preserving its purity to provide a comfortable and exceptional life. It also raises the possibility of using the technology in other parts of Saudi Arabia in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

David Reavley, the CEO of Solar Water Ltd, said: “Currently, thousands of desalination plants around the world rely heavily on burning fossil fuels for water extraction, and we have the technology to desalinate water in a way that is completely sustainable and 100 percent carbon neutral.

“We are happy to partner with Neom, which has a strong vision of what the new future looks like in harmony and integration with nature.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi women tops in World Bank study

27/01/20

Wide-ranging reforms have given Saudi women the lead when it comes to improved economic opportunities, according to a World Bank Women, Business and the Law (WBL) report.

The study looked at reforms in 190 countries targeting restrictions on women’s work options.

A series of performance indicators was used to rank countries, with the Kingdom scoring 70.6 out of 100.

For the past decade the World Bank’s WBL project has focused on gender equality and worked to empower women. Its coverage of 190 economies is based on eight indicators relevant to women’s economic participation: Mobility, workplace laws, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets and pension.

The mobility indicator examines constraints on women’s freedom of movement, while the workplace indicator analyzes laws affecting women’s decisions to enter and remain in the labor force. The marriage indicator assesses legal constraints to marriage alongside the parenthood indicator evaluating laws affecting women’s work after having children.

Saudi Arabia has made an outstanding improvement in six out of the eight indicators, with a top ranking among GCC countries.

Undoubtedly, the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reforms have helped Saudi women achieve the outstanding ranking. Government initiatives have empowered women and provided them with equal work opportunities.

Additionally, the Saudi government has allowed women to drive in order to commute easily between their homes and workplace, and also introduced regulations related to women’s work and business, such as giving women 21 years of age and over the right to travel, and protecting women from discrimination, especially with regard to employment and salaries.

All these reforms and others have encouraged Saudi women’s participation in the economy and the labor market.

Women’s contribution to the economy will grow in future in order to meet one of the Vision’s main objectives — raising female participation in the labor market from 22 percent to 35 percent by 2030.

Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Plan afoot to make Riyadh the Middle East’s ‘mega-metropolis’

Time: 22 January, 2020

Al-Bujairi Square in historic Ad Diriyah. (Shutterstock)
  • Head of Royal Commission for Riyadh outlines ambitious program in conversation with Arab News
  • Fahd Al-Rasheed says the aim is to make Riyadh a “more sustainable, mobile and livable city”

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia is planning for a dramatic increase in the population of the capital, Riyadh, to make it a “mega-metropolis” in the Middle East, Arab News can reveal.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Fahd Al-Rasheed, who last November took up the role of president of the Royal Commission for Riyadh – the city’s ultimate planning and development authority – said that the population could double by 2030, with planned population growth of 8 per cent per year.

“Riyadh is already the biggest urban economy in the region, but with the scale and leverage this plan bring will turn it into a mega-metropolis,” Al-Rasheed said.

“What we’re going to see in Riyadh is an economic revolution the like of which the world has not seen.”

The master plan for the city will also involve a change of lifestyle and image for the Kingdom’s capital. “It is not just about growth, but about the quality of growth,” Al-Rasheed said.

“The aim is to make Riyadh a more sustainable, mobile and livable city, with family facilities, sports, events, health facilities and schools.”

He added that the Royal Commission is planning some 424 initiatives of varying sizes over the next decade, and the aggregate value of projects amounted to $55 billion (SR 206.25 billion).

Al-Rasheed said the projects would be built via public and private sector initiatives, and he would welcome foreign participation in the projects.

There have been several mega-projects under way in the capital for some time, and Al-Rasheed is planning to prioritize completion of some of these in the next 12 months.

He said that the Riyadh Metro and the King Abdullah Financial District projects would be “soft-launched” in time for the G20 meeting of global leaders in November.

“Big parts of KAFD are already occupied, commercial and residential, but these are very complex projects. The Metro involves a space of 4 million square meters, most of that underground,” he said.

We will see an economic revolution in Riyadh the like of which the world has never seen.

Fahd Al-Rasheed, President, Royal Commission for Riyadh

Other big developments to transform the city are the Green Riyadh project, which involves the planting of a tree for each of the current population, which would make the capital “as green as London” and also help reduce temperatures.

Riyadh has grown on average at around 4 per cent per year over the past two decades, and currently has a population of around 7 million.

“We are already adding 300,000 residents per year,” Al-Rasheed said.

“It is a very exciting project because it represents the future of the capital of the Kingdom.”

Under Al-Rasheed as chief executive, the King Abdullah Economic City on the Red Sea coast became one of the most successful developments in the region.

“KAEC has the second largest commercial port in the Kingdom, the most successful non-oil industrial zone in the country, as well as a diverse residential community with world class sports and events,” he said.

The plan to grow the Riyadh is the latest of the mega-projects of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the country away from oil dependency, in the same league as the Red Sea Development, the Neom project in the northwest, and the Qiddiya leisure resort south of the capital.

Last week, Arab News revealed that Khalaf Al-Habtoor, the UAE property and leisure tycoon, was planning a huge development in Riyadh involving parks, hotels, lakes and recreation facilities.

Riyadh, which was made the capital city when the Kingdom was established in 1932, is one of the fastest grown in the Arab world.

Over the past two decades its population has doubled as the Kingdom’s economy boomed on rising oil prices and, more recently, as the hub for the Vision 2030 transformation of the Saudi economy.

The Royal Commission was set up last year to replace the Riyadh Development Authority.

In addition to the Metro and the KAFD, it oversees several other urban initiatives, including the historical Addiriyah development program and the King Abdulaziz Historical Center Project.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi Arabia joins club of Middle East’s ‘green energy’ leaders

20/01/20

The value of solar-power projects in the MENA region is estimated at between $5 billion and $7.5 billion. By 2024, that figure is expected to approach $15 billion to $20 billion. (Shutterstock)
  • Government plans to invest up to $50bn in renewable energy projects by 2023
  • Demand for electricity in the Kingdom is forecast to rise by up to 120 GW by 2030

ABU DHABI: Saudi Arabia has become one of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s leaders in the race to use renewable energy, according to a new study.

The Solar Outlook Report 2020 was launched at the Solar Forum of the World Future Energy Summit, a highlight of this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (Jan. 11-18).
The report, prepared by Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), the largest regional body of its kind, said Saudi Arabia and Oman have joined the UAE, Morocco and Egypt as leaders in the renewables race.
“Saudi Arabia is now in the third year of implementation of its massive target of 60 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy generation by 2030,” it said.
Martine Mamlouk, secretary-general of MESIA, said that investment in solar energy is evident across MENA countries. “Saudi Arabia has a target of almost 60 gigawatts of renewable energy, out of which 40 gigawatts are solar,” she told Arab News.
“This is in line with the Kingdom’s objective of diversification and Vision 2030. While the industry is reaching grid parity, it is great to see the deployment of new innovative technologies to increase efficiency of systems, production management and grids.”
Upcoming solar projects in the Kingdom include Madinah, Rafh, Qurayyat, Al-Faisaliah, Rabigh as well as Jeddah, Mahd Al-Dahab, Al-Rass, SAAD and Wadi Ad-Dawasir, along with Layla and PIF.
Saudi Arabia’s energy demand has been rising steadily, with consumption increasing by 60 percent in the past 10 years, according to data provided by market researchers Frost & Sullivan. Demand for electricity in 2019 reached 62.7 GW and is forecast to rise by up to 120 GW by 2030.
The value of solar-power projects in the MENA region is estimated at between $5 billion and $7.5 billion. By 2024, that figure is expected to approach $15 billion to $20 billion.
Under its Vision 2030 program, the Kingdom aims to reduce its dependency on oil revenues, diversify its energy mix and tap its renewable energy potential.

Saudi Acwa power-generating windmills that have been erected in Jbel Sendouq, on the outskirts of Tangier, Morocco. (Reuters)

After the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) was set up within the Ministry of Energy, the goals for the Kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) were revised upwards in 2018, resulting in a five-year target of 27.3 GW and a 12-year target of 58.7 GW.
The Saudi government plans to invest up to $50 billion in renewable energy projects by 2023.
“At MESIA, we are excited to see solar developments in the MENA region accelerating and reaching attractive tariffs, while lowering the carbon footprint of regional economies,” Mamlouk said.
“The total investment in renewables in MENA between 2019 and 2023 is expected to be $71.4 billion, representing a 34 percent share of the total investment in the power sector, which is valued at $210 billion.”
Changes introduced by Saudi Arabia include a focus on local developers and easing of regulations for local manufacturers of solar panels.
A Local Content and Government Procurement Authority has been established to oversee and audit local content compliance.
Separately, a Renewable Energy Financing package has been launched by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to support the growth of utility and distributed-generation sectors.
After solar photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof of a mosque in Riyadh, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center recommended a similar move at other mosques.
Meanwhile, plans for the use of solar panels in the Saudi agro-industry have led to burgeoning interest in the technology, with several industrial facilities expected to have their own units in the not-too-distant future.
For good measure, a regulatory framework to allow exchanges with the power grid is being studied by the Electricity Co-generation Regulatory Authority.
Flexible storage solutions, such as hydrogen, will give intermittent renewable energy a greater share in the energy system, Mamlouk said. “It may enable present-day oil and gas exporters to become key renewable energy exporters tomorrow. The solar industry is thrilled and proud to participate in this profound transformation of Saudi Arabia’s energy system.”
In the past year solar tariffs have reached record levels in the MENA region, mainly due to tremendous cost declines that have brought the goal of grid parity within reach.
With installed solar electricity capacity worldwide standing at 617.9 GW, MENA governments are staying focused on energy diversification with the help of large-scale projects.
In the UAE, Dubai is targeting the completion of a 5 GW facility by 2030 at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park. Abu Dhabi has “engaged” its second-largest solar project and is considering the roll-out of more units by 2025.

INNUMBER

62.7GW – Demand for electricity in Saudi Arabia in 2019

Morocco aims to reach 52 percent contribution by renewables in its energy mix by 2030. The figures for Tunisia and Egypt are 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, by 2022.
Oman expects solar-power plants totaling 1.5 GW to come on stream by the end of 2022. Even Iraq, with all its political troubles and administrative paralysis, has not ignored solar power in drawing up plans for its future energy mix.
“Investments in renewable energy have reached billions in all Arab countries,” Mohammed Al-Taani, secretary-general of the Arab Renewable Energy Commission, said.
“Jordan is spending more on renewable energy, and we encourage people to have more independence with renewables by generating their own electricity to reduce their bills.”


Nevertheless challenges remain when it comes to implementing projects in rural and isolated areas, according to Mustapha Taoumi, a technology expert at the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network. “With regard to issues of power grid and access to the people, we have to prepare for everything and be ready to receive new technology because there are communities with little income and education,” he said.
“Then there is the challenge of implementation on the part of different actors and sectors. Social acceptance is also important as we come with new technologies and (information on) how to use them.
“We have to be innovative when it comes to financing the facilitation process. We have to be fair and democratic,” he said.
Although this is an exciting time for the region, governments will have to raise their efforts since they are still subsidizing the cost of power, Taoumi said.
“Technologies are evolving quickly, so decision-making must keep pace,” he said. “We could end up having smart meters in rural and isolated areas in two to three years.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi military opens first women’s section

20/01/20

The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks. (Saudi defense ministry)
  • The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks.

JEDDAH: Saudi military chief of staff, Gen. Fayyad Al-Ruwaili, launched the first military section for women in the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces on Sunday.

The director general of admission and enlistment, Maj. Gen. Imad Al-Aidan, explained the regulations of acceptance, and allocated locations where the female staff will be stationed.

Under the initiative to incorporate more women into the field, previously announced in October 2019, women can now join the military as lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, and staff sergeants in the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Air Force, Saudi Arabian Navy, Air Defense Forces, Strategic Missile Forces and Armed Forces Medical Services.

The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks.

Former Shoura Council member Haya Al-Muni’I previously told Asharq Al-Awsat that these new laws support women’s rights and capabilities in the Kingdom’s military.

“Naturally, they will enter a new sphere of work. It’s a reflection of a national belief in the equality between women and men,” she said.

The initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Program, pushing for the empowerment of women and giving them more leadership positions, and highlighting the significance of their involvement across different fields.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Drive to stamp out environmental violations in Saudi Arabia

Time: 15 January, 2020

A photo taken on on January 5, 2020 show boats anchored along the Red Sea coast, in Saudi Arabia, on January 5, 2020. (AFP)
  • The northern region registered the lowest number of violations with 488 from 1,314 visits

JEDDAH: Inspection teams from the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME) discovered 8,754 environmental violations in Saudi Arabia in 2019, having carried out 21,369 inspections, it has reported.
Dr. Abdulrahman bin Sulaiman Al-Tariki, president general of the PME, revealed that Makkah had the highest number of violations, with 3,069 resulting from 4,756 visits. There were 1,799 violations from 4,573 visits in the Riyadh region; 1,070 violations from 2,427 visits in the southern region; 922 violations from 4,392 visits in the eastern region; 907 violations from 3,004 visits in Madinah; and 499 violations in Jazan from 903 visits. The northern region registered the lowest number of violations with 488 from 1,314 visits.
Al-Tariki said that the environmental inspection teams will continue to follow up on those who violate environmental standards and ensure they make the necessary fixes. “They will also impose fines and penalties on violators of the laws,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi Arabia rises in Human Development Index

Time: 15 January, 2020

In this March 9, 2018, file photo, an aerial view of Riyadh city is seen from Mamlaka tower, a 99-story skyscraper, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
  • “Saudi Arabia’s 2018 HDI of 0.857 is below the average of 0.892 for countries in the very high human development group and above the average of 0.703 for countries in Arab States

RIYADH: The Kingdom ranks second in the Arab World and 36th globally among countries with very high human development, according to a UN index.
The Human Development Index aims to measure prosperity levels in order to enable comparisons between the ability of countries and societies to achieve equality, justice and welfare for their populations.
It stated that Saudi Arabia was ranked 36 among 189 countries, inching up three places from 2018.
It added that the Kingdom’s development index achieved remarkable progress in the period 1990-2018, as the Kingdom’s index was 0.698 points in 1990 and reached 0.857 in 2018, and that the Kingdom’s development index achieved 10th place among the G20 countries.
“Saudi Arabia’s 2018 HDI of 0.857 is below the average of 0.892 for countries in the very high human development group and above the average of 0.703 for countries in Arab States. From Arab States, countries which are close to Saudi Arabia in 2018 HDI rank and to some extent in population size are Iraq and Syrian Arab Republic, which have HDIs ranked 120 and 154 respectively,” the report said.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi Arabia’s Haramain railway increases speed to 300kph

Time: 01 January, 2020

Saudi passengers walk on the platform at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
  • The project’s management said trips between King Abdullah Economic City station and Madinah would reach the top speed
  • The railway is the first high-speed electric train in the region and spans over 450km

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Haramain High-Speed Railway started increasing the speed of trains to 300 kilometers per hour (kph) for round trips to Madinah on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The project’s management said trips between King Abdullah Economic City station and Madinah would reach the top speed, making the travel time between King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Madinah around two hours, and between Makkah and Madinah approximately two hours and 45 minutes.
The railway is one of the most modern and fastest means of transport in the Middle East.
All stations include facilities such as lounges for business class travelers, a center for public transport, helicopter landing sites, parking lots, Civil Defense stations, mosques and commercial spaces to meet travelers’ requirements.
It is the first high-speed electric train in the region and spans over 450km, connecting five stations across Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City and Madinah.
The railway was inaugurated by King Salman in Sep. 2018, and is in line with the objectives of reform plans to increase the number of pilgrims and visitors to the Kingdom’s holy places.
Officials describe it as the biggest transportation project of its kind in the region.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru