The Middle East’s journey to 50 billion trees

Announced at Cop27, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambition to plant the equivalent of six-and-a-half trees for every person on earth

Wednesday 07 December 2022 12:20 GMT
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Trees, with their natural ability to sequester carbon — to draw it from the atmosphere and lock it up as wood — are an easy-to-understand way of tackling the climate emergency.

Opening the Middle East Green Initiative Summit at Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to reduce global carbon levels by 2.5 per cent by planting 50 billion trees across the Middle East, including 10 billion in Saudi. An ambition that is the equivalent of every person in the world planting six-and-a-half trees. The tree planting target will be reached through a multi-faceted, sustainable approach with initiatives implemented over decades.

Tackling land degradation and deforestation are seen as key battles in the fight against climate change – with delicate ecosystems facing unprecedented pressures from overuse and urban sprawl.

Tree planting initiatives will be implemented over several years, with 450 million trees and shrubs expected to be planted by 2030 in Saudi Arabia alone (Saudi Green Initiative)

Progress is already underway. In the Saudi capital Riyadh, 60,000 trees have been planted in the last year, with some 8.4 million trees planted across the country in the same timeframe. In the nurseries around the World Heritage Site AlUla, a quarter of a million saplings have been grown from seeds or cuttings. The whole-of-society effort will help to restore vital ecological functions, improve air quality and reduce sandstorms.

To find out more about the Saudi Green Initiative, visit

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