RIYADH: Heads of state and senior officials attending the Middle East Green Initiative Summit (MGI), including HH the Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, pose for a group photo yesterday. - AFP

RIYADH: HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said Kuwait fully supports the efforts of Saudi Arabia and the package of initiatives it has put forward to protect the environment and tackle the challenges of climate change. This came during HH the Crown Prince's speech at Riyadh's Middle East Green Initiative Summit. He affirmed Kuwait's commitments to tackle climate change challenges by signing and ratifying regional and international agreements and protocols and participating in relevant conferences.

Kuwait is at the forefront of countries seeking to achieve human and environmental sustainability and is a supportive partner for regional and international efforts to combat climate change challenges, HH the Crown Prince said. Locally, Kuwait launched its environmental strategy within the (2035 New Kuwait) vision, in addition to legislations concerned with environment protection laws, rationalizing the consumption of natural resources, reducing pollution, preserving the integrity of the environment, rehabilitating its systems, protecting biodiversity and improving the efficiency of waste management, Sheikh Mishal added.

Moreover, HH the Crown Prince affirmed that Kuwait has a vision that believes that the future of humanity lies in green solutions, wise management of environmental assets and the importance of linking individual efforts with regional and international initiatives. Kuwait also has environmental sustainability plans that aim to enhance carbon-neutral pathways, increase afforestation, establish terrestrial and marine reserves, rehabilitate oil sector facilities, reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, introduce renewable energies and sustain energy supplies for future generations.

Based on Kuwait's vision, it fully supports the initiative of Saudi Arabia to implement the goals of this summit and for the benefit of the Middle East region and its environment, HH the Crown Prince said. He stressed the great interest that Kuwait attaches to the directives of HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to address the environment and the challenges it faces by taking measures that reduce emissions and working with the international community to achieve the goals of sustainable development. HH the Crown Prince thanked the kingdom for this initiative and for holding this summit, expressing gratitude to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for their warm hospitality.

Meanwhile, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged more than $1 billion for new environmental initiatives yesterday, taking further steps to bolster the environmental credentials of the world's top oil exporter. Two days after targeting carbon neutrality by 2060, and ahead of next week's COP26 global climate change summit, Prince Mohammed promised to contribute 15 percent of $10.4 billion to fund the "circular carbon economy" and provide "clean fuel" to help feed 750 million people worldwide.

"Today we are initiating a green era for the area, believing that these changes are not only for the environment but also for the economy and security," he told heads of state and other senior officials at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit. "We will work on establishing an investment fund in solutions with circular carbon technology in the region and a global initiative which will supply solutions for clean fuel to provide food for more than 750 million people globally."

The "circular carbon economy" is a concept promoted by the Saudis which aims to remove and store carbon for reuse in other products. The summit, which also featured the leaders of Qatar and Pakistan, among others, and US presidential climate envoy John Kerry, follows Saturday's Saudi Green Initiative where Prince Mohammed announced a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2060.

The desert kingdom, population 34 million, is estimated to belch about 600 million tons of carbon dioxide per year - more than France (population 67 million) and slightly less than Germany (population 83 million). Carbon neutrality is a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. According to the United Nations, the circular economy is essential to achieving the world's climate goals. It involves avoiding excessive consumption, waste and use of fossil fuels by leasing, reusing, repairing and recycling existing materials and products. - Agencies