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Saudi Arabia

المملكة العربية السعودية

Core analysis conducted in August 2021.

Overall NDC Equity Score

Critically Deficient

+

Emissions Reductions

Average

The NDC has significant gaps in planning ambitious emissions reduction goals and suffers from a reliance on technology over sustained emissions reductions.

+

Gender Justice

Critically Deficient

The NDC has significant gaps in addressing gender mainstreaming.

+

Youth Inclusion

Critically Deficient

The NDC has significant gaps in addressing youth inclusion, potentially ignoring young people entirely.

Summary

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a major oil producer in the Middle East, with fossil fuel accounting for over 99% of the country’s energy mix. In its updated NDC submitted in 2021, the country commits to reducing and avoiding GHG emissions by 278 million tons of CO2eq per year by 2030, doubling its efforts from its first NDC, including the land use land use change and forestry sectors. While this submission shows progression, it is considered not ambitious enough under a fair-share range, aligned with the global effort to 1.5oC. Further, the set ambitions are contingent on long-term economic growth and diversification with a robust contribution from carbon offsets and hydrocarbon export revenues to the national economy. In terms of the pathways for implementation, the Kingdom has highlighted initiatives and policies including the Saudi Green Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative, the Circular Carbon Economy National Program, the National Renewable Energy Program, and the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program. Details on the use of these mechanisms and how the goals highlighted in the NDC will be achieved are currently missing or not clear.

 

On gender mainstreaming and youth inclusion, there was not a single mention on women, youth, and civil society in the entire NDC, failing to consider the disproportionate vulnerability of these groups to climate impacts. It also lacks measures to ensure meaningful involvement of women, young people, and civil society in the planning, development, and implementation processes of the NDC and other climate plans as a whole.

Highlights

  • Shows progression in the emissions reduction target at more than double the target in the first NDC.
  • Implementation to reduce emissions is not contingent on international financial support.

Lowlights

  • Lacks a clear emissions reduction pathway to net zero and an economy-wide approach
  • Indicates "avoiding emissions" leading to the potential reliance on carbon capture technology as opposed to phasing out fossil fuels.
  • No specific mentions of youth, women, civil society, or indigenous peoples engagement, inclusion, or vulnerability to climate change.
  • Fails to include women and youth in consultations or acknowledge plans to do so in the future.
  • Omission of gender disaggregated data.

Key Recommendations

Women in Saudi Arabia account for 49.6% of the total Saudi population with a wide disparity in economic participation where women represent only 19% of the workforce, where as young Saudis of the age group (15-34 years) represent 36.7%. Moreover, Saudi Arabia shows very low rates of women’s participation in environment-related technology collaboration and cross-border research collaboration on green technology [9].

Given the focus in the country’s response measures on technology and research for economic growth, climate change action can utilize the untapped talents of women and young people to ensure its climate resilience. The following are key recommendations for the improvement of future NDCs and other national climate plans:


For Gender Justice

  • Make an explicit effort to include women and LGBTQ+ people high-level climate policy discussions and decision-making processes.
  • Provide specific analysis of gender impacts in mitigation and adaptation efforts to ensure a balanced outcome.
  • Empower women by providing education, access to information, and opportunities in climate-related fields like renewable energy and water management.
  • Facilitate platforms and policies that create enabling environment for women empowerment on climate education and access to information that are key to strengthening meaningful engagement of women in high-level climate decision-making processes.

For Youth Inclusion

  • Facilitate platform that create enabling environment for young people to meaningfully contribute to the planning and implementation of climate related policies and decisions.
  • Organize avenues to learn from and collaborate with youth-leaders and/or establish a Youth Council to provide concrete additions to future NDCs.
  • Set up platforms to empower the youth community to take the lead in climate action and inclusion at every stage of the climate decision-making process, including planning and implementation.

NDC Ambassador - Author

Eshrak M. Al-Haddad

NDC Ambassador Eshrak M. Al-Haddad has received a B.S degree in Management Information Systems and a master’s degree in Business Administration. She works as a project manager in an independent nonprofit Saudi think tank in the areas of social, cultural, and economic development. Eshrak has always been interested in making a difference in others’ lives through her consistent and continuous contribution to community projects and initiatives to make a positive impact in her society. Eshrak is also the founder of Greenzie – a Global Shapers initiative founded in late 2017 that aims to bring together scientific and human understandings of the environment in a way that can be communicated and lead to effective actions.

NDC Ambassador - Author

Sarah Al-Harthey

NDC Ambassador Sarah Al-Harthey is a Business Development Manager for Renewable Energy in a private sector company, and Climate Ambassador for the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN) at the World Bank Group, a member of the global shapers in the World Economic Forum (WEF), a member of the International Youth Climate Movement (YOUNGO) in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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