FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO participates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia World Desertification and Drought Day 2022


16 June, Saudi Arabia - The National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification (NCVCCD) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized a special event on Thursday, 16 June 2022 at the Riyadh Fairmont Hotel, to observe the World Desertification and Drought Day. The event was hosted in a hybrid mode combining in-person and remote attendance and virtual participation.

Opening the event, Dr. Khaled Al-Abdulkader, the CEO of the NCVCCD highlighted the great importance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia places on securing its vital natural resources for the well-being of the citizen and sustainable development. Dr Khaled extended his thanks to FAO for its commitment to supporting the center to organize the event. He warmly welcomed the participants and invited them to enjoy rich speeches from invited speakers.

Ayman Omer, FAO Saudi Arabia’s Programme Director, in opening remarks, applauded the Kingdom for denoting a high priority on conserving and protecting natural resources. He highlighted that drought affects all sectors with serious social, economic and environmental impacts, and emphasized the impact of drought on the agriculture sector, which absorbs 83% of the damage and loss caused by drought. In Arab countries where water scarcity is a major challenge, drought is the major threat to food security in about 25% of the countries, according to a recent FAO study. Ayman indicated that FAO is a founding partner in the UNCCD and has specialized programs which provide methods, tools, and capacities to help countries address drought and combat desertification. He closed his speech by emphasizing FAO continued commitment to support the Kingdom achieve its development goals.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia World Desertification and Drought Day 2022

World Desertification and Drought Day is annually celebrated globally on 17 June. This year's theme is “Rising up from drought together” - Drought, with a focus on early action to prevent disastrous outcomes. The event brought together experiences from global and regional agencies and identify best practices, technologies, and lessons suitable for the Kingdom. Under the leadership of the NCVCCD, FAO played a key advisory role in organizing the event including identifying technical sessions and presentations by experts from the Kingdom and FAO Headquarters on a range of topics including drought monitoring, assessment, and management as well as FAO and UNCCD collaboration on drought, the role of the Global Agro-ecological Zoning system in drought management, and Community drought resilience management. Eleven presentations were made under three themes: Drought and desertification assessment and monitoring; Innovative measures for drought management; and the role of vegetation cover to reduce desertification and drought. Following the presentations, a special session discussed drought impact on the Saudi Green Initiative and explored challenges, strategies, and policies.

The results of the event will contribute to efficient drought preparedness and mitigation in the Kingdom and encourage collaboration to better address desertification, drought, climate change, and other related sustainable development challenges.

FAO Work in Drought and Desertification in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

FAO climate, drought and land desertification work in Saudi Arabia include introducing framework and tools for sustainable land management and development; developing and promoting innovative practices and technologies for sand fixation and sand encroachment control; and strengthening the capacity of Government and stakeholders to develop and implement strategies and plans for drought preparedness and mitigation, combating desertification and reducing sand encroachment. 

FAO Sustainable Rural Agriculture Development Project.

FAO contribution to the event was organized within the framework of the Sustainable Rural Agriculture Development Project (SRADP), a multi-disciplinary project covering nine components and strategically formulated by FAO and the Ministry of Environment Water and Agriculture in alignment with the National Transformation Program under the Saudi Vision 2030. SRADP aims to contribute toward achieving the national development goal of sustainable rural agricultural development in the Kingdom which includes combating land desertification under the natural resources management component.