Under the slogan "Food. Fodder. Fibers, sustainable production and consumption", the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture celebrated the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which is observed every year on June 17.
The Ministry stated that desertification is among the most serious and threatening phenomena that bring about land deterioration and changes to ecosystems. It causes loss of soil productive capacity and biodiversity deterioration, due to drought, overgrazing and human activities.
Saudi Arabia has taken several steps to combat desertification, enhance the vegetation cover and protect pastures, including establishing the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification, issuing a national strategy for pastures and suspending the entry of pastoralists from neighboring countries into the Kingdom on September 11, 2018.
The Ministry has strengthened protection and management of pastures and forests with 300 patrols. It is also currently working to protect and rehabilitate 60 thousand hectares of vegetation and implement afforestation projects and campaigns to plant 10 million native trees suitable to each region, in addition to 2 million mangrove trees along the Red Sea coast.
It is also working, in cooperation with some government and private entities, to plant 9 million forest shrubs, and 2 million rangeland shrubs in different parts of the Kingdom, as well as sowing 3 tons of seeds of native trees and shrubs to enhance rangeland and forests soil seed bank and restore vitality and productive capacity.
The Ministry seeks everyone's cooperation to tackle the causes of environmental degradation in the Kingdom, the most notable of which are grazing beyond unsustainable pasture capacity, agricultural malpractices, Illegal logging, random urban and developmental sprawl, irresponsible water use and harmful environmental practices when going on a picnic.