As it happenedended1635449016

Saudi Green Initiative Forum: as it happened in Riyadh

Over 300 delegates have convened in Riyadh for the inaugural Saudi Green Initiative Forum

Thursday 28 October 2021 20:23
<p>Delegates at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum</p>

Delegates at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum

Saudi Arabia is hosting the inaugural Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) Forum in the capital Riyadh on 23 October, and the Youth Green Summit on 24 October.

Day one of the event showcases the climate pledges Saudi Arabia has made as part of SGI, a whole of government initiative designed to create lasting changes that will protect the environment and improve the lives of future generations.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Forum by doubling the country’s targets for reducing carbon emissions, and delegates heard from ministers and climate leaders from around the world.

On day two, delegates are hearing from younger voices at the ancillary event, Youth Green Summit, which explores how young people around the world can engage in climate action.

The Independent is reporting live from Riyadh – follow our live blog for the latest and read breakout stories and highlights here.


The inaugural SGI Forum is starting at 9am KSA (7am BST) with an opening address by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The prince first announced his intention to launch SGI in March 2021, in recognition of the country’s role in combating the effects of climate change.

As part of the initiative, Saudi Arabia has pledged to reduce the country’s CO2 emissions by more than 4 per cent of global contributions by 2030.

It will also raise protected areas to more than 30 per cent of the total land area, and plant 10 billion trees across the Kingdom.

We’ll hear more about what this means throughout the day.

Independent Reporter23 October 2021 06:57

Watch the address from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the panels throughout the day here and on The Independent’s YouTube channel.

SGI Live 2021-10-23 at 06:27
Independent Reporter23 October 2021 07:35

During his opening address, the crown prince reiterated Saudi Arabia’s climate commitments and outlined the agenda for the day, which will include discussions on wildlife conservation and carbon emission reduction initiatives.

Also on the agenda will be initiatives on protecting oceans and Saudi Arabia’s plans to plant 10 billion trees.

Independent Reporter23 October 2021 07:57

As part of his address, the crown prince said:

  • Saudi Arabia aims to reach net-zero emission by 2060
  • It will cut carbon emissions by over 270 million tons per year by 2030 – more than double the current targets
  • There will be more investments in green hydrogen as part of the carbon reduction initiatives
  • Emissions reduction will also be achieved through the country’s tree-planting initiative
  • Protected areas within the Kingdom will be raised to 30 per cent
Independent Reporter23 October 2021 08:12

Speaking in the first panel is Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s minister of energy since 2019.

He’s the first member of the royal family to take on the influential post and is on stage to discuss how to deliver the Kingdom’s energy policies in line with the goals set out as part of SGI.

The prince is expanding on Saudi Arabia’s pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

Saudi Arabia plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060
Independent Reporter23 October 2021 08:19

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that the Saudi Arabia of the future will be the result of generations of change and the achievements will be delivered by the country’s women and men.

He hinted some of the initiatives to be announced are only the beginning of what will bridge “sustainability, economic diversity, economic growth and the enhancement of the well being of Saudi Arabia”.

The prince said: “In the work we have done in delivering these initiatives, we worked with hundreds of young Saudis, girls and boys, trying to live up to the expectations of the world yet maintaining our credentials of being an honest people.

“An honest people would only make a pledge of what they can deliver. But if they can deliver beyond what they pledge it would be something to celebrate.”

He said that the pledges are Saudi Arabia’s way of saying “yes we are with you, we share the same concern”.

He added: “We want to evolve and we want to move. But actually, in many of these initiatives, we want to set ourselves as an example for others.”

Independent Reporter23 October 2021 08:40

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that although Saudi Arabia isn’t required to produce a pledge for national determined contribution (NDC), it has decided to do so ahead of Cop26.

Meeting the goals set out as part of SGI is not determined by the level of investment by the country, according to the minister, but the evolution of technology and how these technologies are developed and mobilised. This is one of reasons why Saudi Arabia is basing its NDC on a dynamic strategy.

This means the actual emission reductions may shift over time.

Independent Reporter23 October 2021 08:52

Full details of Saudi Arabia’s SGI pledges can be found here

Saudi Arabia doubles its carbon emissions reduction target for 2030

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman committed his Kingdom to a series of ambitious climate commitments at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum

Independent Reporter23 October 2021 08:59

In a follow-on panel, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman discussed how Saudi Arabia and the Middle East can contribute towards the global Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow this November.

He was joined by Marco Alverà, CEO of leading energy infrastructure company Snam, and Dr Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and minister of industry and advanced technology for the United Arab Emirates.

Both have previously advocated for emerging zero-carbon energy sources such as hydrogen.

Watch live as world leaders gather in Riyadh for the Saudi Green Initiative forum
Independent Reporter23 October 2021 09:11

Executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, is joining the panel via video link from Mexico.

She said of SGI pledges: “This is certainly the kind of leadership that the world needs precisely at this time and I want to commend his Royal Highness, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for these very bold and courageous decisions that sends a very powerful signal just a few days before we start the conference in Glasgow [for Cop26].”

Ms Espinosa added: “We need countries to come to Cop with courageous decisions, bold decisions; with high level of ambition.”

Independent Reporter23 October 2021 09:25