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UN Representative: The Line Project Will Strengthen Environmental Governance

UN Representative: The Line Project Will Strengthen Environmental Governance

Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 10:15
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announcing a zero-carbon city called "The Line" to be built at NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia, January 10, 2021. (SPA)

A chief representative to the United Nations said that The Line project - recently announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - establishes a global human-friendly approach that strengthens environmental governance.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Eng. Faisal Al-Fadl said: “It is traditionally known that cities and most of the major urban centers in the world were founded as natural centers of housing before growing into dynamic and self-sufficient hubs, acting as economic, commercial and administrative magnets in their remote regional areas.”

He continued: “In 1990, there were 10 megacities with 10 million people or more, and in 2014 the number rose to 28 major cities, with about 453 million people... Perhaps the rapid growth of cities in the developing world, coupled with increased rural migration to urban areas, has led to the steady growth in the number of major cities, dominated by the rise of slums, diseases and socio-economic disparity of their residents.”

Fadl, a principal representative to the United Nations and an environmental consultant for NGOs, emphasized the need for the global community to adopt a more ambitious approach to human and environmentally-friendly cities.

He said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently announced the 170 km-project, “which forms the backbone of NEOM, to lead the path of modern development of future cities.”

According to Fadl, this change does not necessarily require a large amount of funding. Rather, it necessitates the adoption of the correct approach and political will, as presented by the Crown Prince with the The Line project.

“If we want cities to be an important goal in the new global development plan, the civil society must be a basic partner and citizens must engage in the development and preservation of their city,” he underlined.

He revealed that a United Nations census showed that more than half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, while by 2050, this number will increase to 6.5 billion individuals, or about two-thirds of all humanity.

“Sustainable development cannot be achieved without making a major change in the method of building and managing urban space,” he stated.

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