Sustainable natural resources
The potentially adverse environmental impact of unregulated economic growth was clearly recognized in the Development Plans for the Kingdom, which emphasizes the crucial importance of achieving sustainable development through the conservation and prudent management of its natural resources.
One of the major targets of the basic environmental strategy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of wildlife in order to maintain ecological equilibrium, particularly with respect to rare, vulnerable and endangered animal and plant species. This key aspect of the national environmental policy has been further reinforced through the signing by Saudi Arabia of the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In addition, and despite the fact that the Saudi economy depends intensively on oil, the Kingdom has spared no efforts to address global environmental issues such as climate change. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994.
UNDP cooperates with the national counterparts in the areas of natural resources management, strengthening national capacities to address issues of energy efficiency, climate change adaptation, water resource management, and biodiversity conservation.
UNDP in partnership with the General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection (previously, Presidency of Meteorology and Environment) produced two National Reports on Climate Change and conducted the self-assessment exercise. The report helps elaborate the vulnerability and potential impacts of climate change on Saudi Arabia and supports the kingdom in its efforts to meet international commitments.
In the energy sector, UNDP works with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to meet the rapidly growing power and energy demand through efficient and rational consumption patterns. In a long partnership that embarked in 2003 through a national programme, the Saudi Energy Efficiency Centre (SEEC) was established in 2010 with the support of UNDP, to achieve the Kingdom’s increasingly essential goals for energy conservation and scale up national activities on energy conservation across sectors. UNDP has supported at the level of policies, strategies, public awareness, implementation of national action plans and capacity development. Through this project, it led a transformation to energy efficiency measures in the whole nation. Among the key achievements is the specialized team’s efforts to update the specifications and the standards of the small-capacity air conditioners, of all types, with manufacturers, suppliers and stakeholders, thus making air conditioners more energy efficient.
The management of the water sector is another area where UNDP provides a direct support to the development of strategic water sector management policies. UNDP helped the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture in the development of the National Water Strategy and assisted in strengthening the integrated water resources management; all leading to better water consumption within the country.
Under the general practice area "Natural Resources Management", UNDP Saudi Arabia streamlines all its programmes and projects into more specific "Service Lines" which steer UNDP's work.