Green Riyadh – KSA embarks on one of most ambitious urban forestation projects in history

$23 billion budget, 7.5 million trees, 541 km² green space, 1,100 km² green belt to transform kingdom's capital

King Salman inaugurates the Green Riyadh projects in the Saudi capital. (SPA)

By Ahmed Khan,
Founder, TheRahnuma.com, Editor-In-Chief (Online English)

(RAHNUMA) Taking the kingdom to an unprecedented height in its modern history when it comes to creating green spaces, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud approved the kingdom’s first major green revolution with the ambitious “Green Riyadh Project” – a key element of Vision 2030.

The project, which is connected to a whopping $23 billion USD budget, seeks to use recycled water to restore the sweltering deserts of Riyadh to its Mesozoic era sea of flora and fauna with rich biodiversity. This is to transform the capital into one of the top 100 cities of the globe.

Launched by the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on March 19th, 2019, this project will take shape under the supervision of the Committee of Grand Projects led by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is also the kingdom’s Minister of Defense, heir-designate to the throne and likely the most reformative and rehabilitating voices of the Generation Y.

As one of the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh will increase the per capita amount of green space in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around all of Riyadh’s features and facilities covering Gardens, Parks, Mosques, Schools, Educational Institutions and other public places besides the newly renovated King Khaled International Airport.

This visionary project was mooted to increase per capita green space from present 1.7 square meters to 28 square meters that would be covered around 545 square kilometers of area.

According to reports, the Green Riyadh Project seeks to invest in increasing the quality of life of the residents and guests who visit the capital and is also aimed to improve the air quality, ecological balance i.e. diversity of the country’s thriving capital city.

Though the project was launched in early 2019, the first phase of the ambitious plan was kicked off in February 2020 last month.

As per the project, the preliminary phase will witness planting about 31,000 trees covering 144 kilometers of main roads beside the erection of 100,000 shrubs to add essence to the ambiance. This includes King Fahd Road, Makkah Al Mukarramah Road, North Ring Road, Eastern Ring Road beside King Salman Road and King Khaled Road.

The ambitious afforestation program is one of the four major projects discussed a few years ago to be announced only last year by King Salman. Apart from this, 48 major parks will be set up in the capital, and 3250 parks amidst residential areas are also planned in the robust green initiative.

In order to secure adequate irrigation water for this project, it is also planned to establish a new irrigation network to recycle and use the ample water getting wasted in the valleys.

A selected variety of trees, that require no large amounts of water and will survive in Riyadh’s desert environment, will be used to promote wide shade cover.

Additionally, required supportive elements will be made available for this project such as a network of nurseries to feed the project with seedlings, legislation and urban standards will be developed.

The Green Riyadh Project will ensure and encourage local community group’s take voluntary participation in the program to make the initiative a public campaign towards embracing a green revolution.

This plan aimed initially at Riyadh, the country’s most thriving capital city with a footfall of millions of visitors every year, will surely set the new dawn of a green revolution in the entire Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The plan was designed to give a new life to a sweltering desert region, and fill it with a soothing ambiance and amply covered vegetation full of rich biodiversity.

To amplify the green project to that of other programs aimed at the overall development of the country, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself has taken the task of supervision into his hands as the Head of the Committee of Grand Projects.

Indians are the largest community of expatriates in Saudi Arabia. India and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to manage and organize the recruitment of domestic workers in January 2014. Between then and April 2016, 500,000 Indians moved to Saudi Arabia for employment. There are over 4,100,000 Indians in the kingdom, and that amounts to over 13% of it’s population.

The Green Riyadh Project will also improve the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Indians who live in the kingdom, and perhaps inspire them to encourage similar initiatives at home in India.

Ahmed Khan is the Founder, Editor-In-Chief & Publisher of The Rahnuma Daily (theRahnuma.com), the online global English daily edition of The Rahnuma-E-Deccan Daily (ReDD), India’s oldest Urdu daily print newspaper established in 1921. More than 81.1 million Indians identify Urdu as their language, and as per the annual INA (Indian Newspapers Association) report, ReDD ranks among the top 5 most widely circulated and read Urdu daily print newspapers throughout India. Ahmed resides in Hyderabad at his maternal ancestral home and can be contacted at, editor@therahnuma.com

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