Dr. Suwanna Gauntlett is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wildlife Alliance.
Saudi Arabia has a goal of planting 450 million trees by 2030 to offset carbon emissions. Wildlife Alliance wants to help Saudi Arabia reach its goal according to its CEO Suwanna Gauntlett who spoke to Arab News. Additionally, she said that in order to achieve this goal she wanted her organization to be in Saudi Arabia on the ground training young people.
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Gauntlett said during the Saudi Green Initiative, which is taking place concurrently with the UN Climate Change Conference: “We are a non-governmental organization, nonprofit. Our mission is to conduct afforestation, where the forest has been denuded and to protect the forests that still exist.”
By 2030, SGI hopes to plant 450 million trees and restore eight million hectares of deteriorated land, reducing annual carbon emissions by about 200 million tons.
“Our wish is to be selected to help them with the implementation and to accelerate (it) because there’s not much time left until 2030,” said Gauntlett.
The Wildlife Alliance also aspires to support Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 goal of designating up to 30 percent of its land and maritime areas as protected reserves.
Approximately 17% of the Kingdom is currently protected, including the Royal Natural Reserves, Natural Reserves, and AlUla Natural Reserves.
Gauntlett told Arab News, “I’ve seen so far a great commitment from the Saudi government and the creation of the relevant departments to get the Saudi Green Initiative done.”
She asserted that combating the climate challenge requires youth involvement in the environmental sector. “We think that everybody should get involved. So, we're specialists, we want to share our skills and our expertise and we want to do it now.
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“We have to let this new generation take charge of what we started. In my company, we now have one third of our 300 employees as youth just coming in.”
Gauntlett continued, the organization works on educating those youngsters, inspiring them, and giving them the proper framework, discipline, and professionalism that they need to get things done.
In order to host conferences and presentations at the upcoming 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Wildlife Alliance is looking to have its own pavilion and stage.