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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Arabia's Ministerial Committee on Environment (MCE), the apex policy-making body in the country on environmental issues, started an elaborated study on Agenda 21. The objective was to formulate a national implementation plan that conforms and accommodates the Kingdom's capabilities, policies and strategies. In December 1994, the Council of Ministers approved the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's National Agenda 21.

In this context, the government restructured MEPA to be the central environmental agency, responsible for preparing environmental standards, undertaking monitoring and control of the environmental indicators as well as deterioration of the condition of natural resources and carrying out environmental impact assessment in cooperation with the relevant agencies. This is in addition to MEPA's duty to coordinate with agencies responsible for implementation of environmental work. Establishment of MEPA has been in response to the urgent need for supporting the concerned agencies in taking utmost care for uses of the natural resources and their development from the perspective of productivity and to provide services.

A number of ministries work in partnership with MEPA. The most salient among these are the Ministries of: 

The key coordination mechanism for sustainable development is the Ministerial Committee on Environment (MCE). Chaired by HRH Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector General, it is the highest institutional authority for environment and related issues including Agenda 21 in the Kingdom. The relevant sectoral ministries included in the MCE are Agriculture and Water, Municipal and Rural Affairs, Industry and Electricity, Health, Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance and National Economy. Other than these ministries, King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA), National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD) are also members of MCE. The MEPA President acts as Secretary-General of the MCE.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The central environmental agency, namely, Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA), was established in 1980. Such concern for the environment culminated in the issuance of the Basic Rule of Governance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wherein Article 32 specifically addresses the environment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia adopted its policies on the environment and development based on principles of Islam which have ordained people to thrive and inhabit the earth as the primary function of humankind. Accordingly, utilization of the natural and environmental resources of the Kingdom has been ascertained with the purpose of satisfying requirements without tampering with the capabilities and rights of future generations.

Within this framework, Saudi Arabia adopted the principle of preventive measures; hence, the principle of environmental impact assessment within feasibility studies of proposed projects was adopted.

Based on the general policies of the Kingdom and within the framework of its strategies and objectives pertaining to development, the Fifth Development Plan (1410-1415H) incorporates the following long-term objectives:

  1. Promote a standard of living and the welfare of citizens; endeavour to provide an environment which is free from pollution and particularly of clean air, pure water and healthy food; and
  2. Achieve a balanced development on the basis of improved management of the available natural resources and sustain the current capacity of the environment; in addition to this, an attempt should be exercised to maintain existing environmental damages that are due to insufficient care.

Environmental Planning:

An environment unit has been established within the studies and research department of the Ministry of Planning, and its terms of reference have been specified.

Among the general objectives and strategic principles for the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (1415-1420 H), the tenth strategic principle provides for environmental conservation, protection, and enhancement as well as prevention of pollution. In addition, in preparing the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (1415-1420 H) (1995-1999), the framework for analysis has been broadened to include the term "environmental" with "economic and social," including for the purposes of collecting data from all government agencies and for the design of operational plans.

Environmental Protection:

The Ministerial Committee on the Environment has prepared, adopted and approved a general environmental system for the Kingdom. In order to implement Agenda 21, a number of different Government agencies, such as the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water, have established units to oversee environmental assessment of projects, and develop the principles and criteria necessary for environmental protection and pollution control. Among the tasks of these units is acting as liaison with MEPA, the central environmental body.

In addition, the Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration(MEPA) has carried out the following:

 

 

 

 

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

No information is avaiable

Programmes and Projects   

No information is avaiable

Status   

National Decision-Making Structure
1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: Yes
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: Yes
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21:
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: Yes
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making:

National Instruments and Programmes
1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula:
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program:
3. Ecolabel Regulations:
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs:
5. Green Accounting Program:
6. Access to Internet: Yes
7. Access to World Wide Web: Yes
8. National World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Development or State of the Environment:

Policies, Programmes and Legislation
1. Combatting poverty:
2. Changing consumption and production patterns:
3. Atmosphere: Yes
4. Land Use Planning:
5. Forest and Deforestation: Yes
6. Desertification and Drought: In process
7. Sustainable Mountain Development:
8. Sustainable Agriculture: Yes
9. Biological Diversity:
10. Biotechnology:
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: Yes
12. Freshwater Management: Yes
13. Toxic Chemicals:
14. Hazardous Wastes: Yes
15. Solid Wastes:
16. Radioactive Wastes:
17. Energy: Yes
18. Transport:
19. Sustainable Tourism:

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

With respect to degradation of the marine environment as a result of land-based activities, the agencies concerned in the Kingdom are implementing a protocol for protection of the marine environment against pollutants from sea-based sources. In this respect, the Kingdom cooperates with the Regional Organization for Protection of Marine Environment (ROPME) and the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Environment Program (PERSGA).

The agencies concerned in the Kingdom also support regional and international conventions for the protection of the environment, and participate with the international community in this respect including application of such conventions and financial contributions.

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This information was provided by the Government of Saudi Arabia to the 5th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Cooperation  

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women has not been signed.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Saudi Arabia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

No information is available.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

No information is available.

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

No information is available.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

No information is available.

WORKERS AND UNIONS

No information is available.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

No information is available.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

No information is available.

FARMERS

No information is available.

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SCIENCE

No information is available.

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INFORMATION

No information is available.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Cooperation  

The Kingdom has signed and/or ratified many international and regional conventions and protocols that are relevant to protection of environment, among which are the following:

In addition to these, Saudi Arabia contributes to many regional and international organizations that are concerned with the protection of environment and conservation of natural resources, such as the United Nations Environment Program, World Health organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Meteorological Organization, UNESCO, the Regional Organization for Protection of Marine Environment, Program of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), the relevant organizations working under the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as the Gulf Area Oil Companies Mutual Aid Organization (GAOCMAO).

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This information was provided by the Government of Saudi Arabia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.



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