CEO of the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), Dr. Ayman bin Salem Ghulam, has highlighted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s significant efforts to mitigate climate change and combat sand and dust storms, citing the Saudi Green Initiative, introduced by Saudi the Crown Prince in March 2021, which is designed to tackle both local and global environmental challenges. In a key address at the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms held yesterday in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Ghulam emphasized that the Kingdom took the lead in recognizing the pressing need for collective action. It demonstrated its commitment through various initiatives and investments, including the establishment of the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in March 2019. This initiative aims to increase green areas and rehabilitate degraded plant sites. Dr. Ghulam further stated that the Kingdom’s ambitious plans involve planting 10,000,000,000 trees and restoring over 40,000,000 hectares of degraded lands in the coming decades. These efforts are designed to combat desertification, reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and promote biodiversity, he said. He indicated that the Kingdom launched the Middle East Initiative in April 2021, as part of its support for the Saudi Green Initiative. This initiative aims to plant 50,000,000,000 trees, which is equivalent to five percent of the global afforestation target – the most comprehensive program of its kind worldwide. Dr. Ghulam further mentioned that the Kingdom has set up the Regional Climate Change Center, the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center, and the Regional Cloud Seeding Program as integral components of the Green Middle East Initiative. Moreover, the Kingdom has made significant investments in research and technology in collaboration with regional and international partners. He added that the Kingdom has also signed agreements with neighbouring countries to strengthen cooperation in early warning systems, research, and technology transfer. He emphasized that these efforts underscore the Kingdom’s dedication to sustainable development and its commitment to tackling challenges related to climate change, sand, and dust storms. He also highlighted the recent recognition by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the consultation and evaluation system for warning of sand and dust storms for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as one of its regional headquarters. Additionally, he said the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center received accreditation as one of its regional centres by the WMO.