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GEF to announce four environmental prizes

Four prizes to promote environmental protection and green economy will be announced in the international environment forum to be opened in the Jeddah on Sunday.

The prizes include Prince Turki bin Nasser Prize for Corporate Social Responsibility, Prince Turki bin Nasser Environment Prize in addition to two prizes — one for the Gulf youth and another for media activities related to environment.

Well-known environmentalists, economists, and government leaders including ministers will participate in the third Gulf Environment Forum GEF 2012 and an exhibition on its sidelines.

The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) is organizing the event under the aegis of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

With the official support to the event, the Kingdom is aiming to demonstrate its commitment toward establishing an environmentally responsible region for generations. The event will focus on the theme of “Green Economy, CSR and Green Innovation.”

“The protection of environment remains the goal of the Kingdom’s developmental policies and strategies,” PME President Prince Turki bin Nasser said in a statement on the eve of the forum to the Saudi Press Agency yesterday.  “If governments do not adopt policies and make rapid moves to protect environment the planet and future generations will be exposed to terrible environmental calamities,” the prince warned.

“The Kingdom is following international norms to preserve the environment and benefit from environmental experiences,” the prince said, adding that ‘My Environment: Green Flag and Green Nation’ is the motto of the Kingdom’s environment strategy.

The prince noted that the participation of the Arab Gulf countries in implementing the green economy was limited although recently steps have been taken to ensure sustained development without endangering natural resources.

The GEF 2012 will discuss 30 major topics including green economy, renewable energy, impact of global climate change and effects of carbon emission and sustainable economy in the Gulf region.

Speaking on the GEF, Executive Director of the Saudi Environment Society Prince Nawaf bin Nasser said the green economy is a new model of rapid economic development based on the knowledge of ecological economics and sustainable development.

“The weakness of the Arab countries in the area of green economy as shown by recent statistical studies is because 70 million people in the Arab world are poor and many without jobs especially the youth. More than 45 million in the Arab world are living in poor hygienic conditions and without clean water,” Prince Nawaf said.

The forum is considered the largest annual strategic environment conference in Saudi Arabia. With the green economy becoming an increasingly exciting sector in which to conduct business, the conference will highlight opportunities for involvement in protecting and preserving the environment in a period of great economic expansion.

Deputy Executive Director of Saudi Environment Society Majedah Abu Ras, who is also the spokesperson of the forum, said adoption of green economy would guarantee better growth and higher individual income.

The meeting will discuss climate changes in Arab region and mechanisms of joint cooperation, especially on issues like drought and desertification

According to Hussain Al-Qahtani, PME spokesman, the Kingdom is one of the Arab countries which suffer from drought. "It is expected that the Kingdom will announce during the meeting a national strategy on drought.”

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