Bonn, 9 November 2022 - United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the global vision and voice for land, welcomes the announcement made Monday, 7 November 2022, at the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference that Saudi Arabia will contribute USD 2.5 billion over the course of 10 years to support the Middle East Green Initiative projects.
The announcement was made as leaders from Africa and Asia met for the second time in Sharm el- Sheikh in tandem with the COP27 climate change conference.
“The ambition, commitment and solidarity demonstrated by the Middle East Green Initiative sends the right messages to the international community. With political will, this generation can and has the means to slow and change course from the path to a catastrophic future. This is the decade to slow and reverse climate change and the losses of productive lands and biological diversity, if we seek a safe, just and prosperous future,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary.
The international community has pledged to restore a billion hectares of degraded land in the race to keep a livable Earth. The Middle East Green Initiative intends to deliver the largest reforestation outcome in the world, which would significantly contribute to achieving the emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement and saving biological diversity that is being lost, in an approach known as achieving land degradation neutrality.
The Middle East Green Initiative is aiming to increase cooperation and efforts in the region to restore 200 million hectares of degraded land, plant 50 billion trees and increase its vegetation cover by 12 times. The activities will help to reduce 2.5% of the global gas emissions heating up the earth, including the reduction and removal of 670 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is the total amount of nationally determined contributions of all countries of the region.
The Middle East is one of the hottest and driest regions on Earth, and is adversely affected by rising temperatures and extreme weather events.
Middle East Green Initiative covers countries in West, Central and South Asia, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Its secretariat will be hosted in Saudi Arabia.