kingdom shares with world its experience in urban development
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Kingdom shares with world its experience in urban development

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Arab Today, arab today Kingdom shares with world its experience in urban development

Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Abdul Lateef Al-Asheikh heads the Saudi delegation at the UN conference on housing and human settlements (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador.
Jeddah - Arab Today

Saudi Arabia is a country that supports international development, well-being, peace and security. 
The Kingdom was actively involved in financing development through grants and aid which amounted to about 1.9 percent of the GDP of the country and worth up to $14.5 billion in 2014, said Abdul Lateef Al-Asheikh, minister of municipal and rural affairs.
The minister was speaking at a UN conference on housing and human settlements (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on Tuesday.
The Kingdom has also been supportive over the past 20 years of all international efforts seeking to combat poverty in the cities of developing countries, and countries hit by natural catastrophes and conflicts in Asia, Africa and Latin America, under the framework of the Habitat Agenda, which was approved in 1996. 
Al-Asheikh said the conference comes at a crucial time as the world has witnessed great changes over the past 20 years, since the Habitat II conference was held in Istanbul.
He noted that these changes have affected urban development both in a positive way, such as development in the technical planning of cities, or the development of communications and transportation, the development of technical means to protect the environment, and the trend to switch into smart cities, as well as in a negative way, such as climate change, economic crises, natural disasters, conflict and displacement.
He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is keen on participating in this conference with the aim of introducing the Saudi experience in addressing the challenges faced by urban development in the Kingdom, including the high population growth rate which stood at about 3.7 percent in the 1992-2015 period. 
He added that the proportion of young people in Saudi Arabia (under 25 years) accounts for 60 percent of the population, which represents an enormous challenge to meet their needs, including demands for the provision of land, housing, education, recreation and employment opportunities. 
He pointed out that some Saudi cities suffer from the effects of climate change such as floods, desertification, water scarcity and the increasing frequency of drought.
“The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has sought to mitigate the effects of this damage by managing and evaluating the potential hazards, and by employing early warning systems, in addition to raising the readiness of cities to deal with such changes,” he said.
He stressed the fact that the Kingdom has over the past 20 years worked on the development of the Saudi cities, in addition to the development of management and planning mechanisms to give a greater role to cities in the decision-making process in the successive five-year plans.
“With the adoption of the Habitat Agenda in 1996, the Kingdom was one of the first countries to work in line with the agenda, and has established the first urban observatory to monitor the indicators and goals of the millennium, and prepared a national urban strategy in 2001 to adjust the development process and direct it spatially.
Saudi Arabia also conducted the third municipal elections in all regions of the Kingdom, in which women participated for the first time as voters and candidates, and the result of these elections was the formation of 284 elected municipal councils, with the participation of 21 women, said Al-Asheikh.

Source: Arab News

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