Meet the young changemakers shaping the future of sustainability in Saudi Arabia

“Young, inspired, determined” - youth are taking the lead in designing new technologies and creating policy to protect the environment

Wednesday 03 November 2021 09:41
<p>Senior international policy analyst Noura Alissa at Saudi’s Ministry of Energy at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum</p>

Senior international policy analyst Noura Alissa at Saudi’s Ministry of Energy at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum

Young people working in Saudi Arabia’s energy sector emphasised the importance of having a determined and passionate youth workforce for climate change mitigation at a panel discussion on 24 October at the Youth Green Summit (YGI) in Riyadh.

The summit - a platform for environmental literacy, advocacy, and policy making featuring prominent youth activists from across the Kingdom and beyond - follows a day of discussion around the country’s climate commitments as part of the inaugural Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) Forum.

Noura Alissa, a senior international policy analyst at Saudi’s Ministry of Energy, highlighted opportunities for youth to shape their country’s approach to the environment.

“One of my biggest motivators is seeing my country reach its full potential,” she said.

Yehia Khoja, an advisor at the ministry, spoke of ongoing advances in technology enabling humanity to solve its most pressing problems when it comes to climate.

“We’re in a race against time,” he said. “The clock is ticking. AI is one of our best bets to win that race.”

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, the country’s minister of energy, echoed the panel in praising the “young, inspired, determined” workers contributing to the future of energy in Saudi Arabia and across the world.

“Look at what the world has done with vaccinations,” he said. “We should accept the challenge of creating solutions.”

Youth presence and collaboration is vital for a successful climate movement.

Over 1.8bn youth (between the ages of 10-24) live across the world - the largest generation of young people in history.

It is this generation who will face the most devastating effects of climate change, including increased heat, worsening weather, and food and water insecurity. 90 per cent live in developing countries, where effects will be most severe.

Yet youth are not just victims - they are also key actors in the fight to preserve the planet’s climate and biodiversity. As demonstrated by the power of youth movements across the world, this generation is determined to make a positive difference through protest, innovation and education.

Over half of Saudi Arabia’s population is under 25 years old. The country’s government is seeking to mobilise and empower this group to contribute to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” to increase quality of life and environmental protection in the Kingdom.

Abdulaziz AlBarakah, an energy and power analyst at Saudi’s Ministry of Energy, said his professional goal is to “ensure elegant integration of all energy sources, from improving efficiency to reducing carbon emissions”.

“We have the opportunity to work with our leadership to build a long-lasting and nurturing environment for generations to come,” he said.

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