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Saudi Fund for Development highlights Climate Change Mitigation and Social Infrastructure as Key to Heritage Preservation in Africa at the UNESCO Forum

The SFD has funded projects that contribute towards heritage preservation in Africa through climate change mitigation, as this can help to prevent natural disasters that damage heritage sites, and by investing in social infrastructure

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RIYADH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, September 12, 2023/ — In conjunction with the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, held for the first time in Riyadh from September 10-25, 2023, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD)’s Director General of the Project Management Office (PMO), Eng. Mohammed Alhussain, participated today in a side event at the UNESCO Partners Forum’s roundtable on the important topic of “Investment in Heritage Preservation in Africa.

The roundtable, organized by UNESCO and UN Global Compact Network Saudi Arabia, and hosted by Al Diriyah Gate Limited Company was attended by representatives from the private sector, as well as government institutions. The discussions that took place highlighted the importance of heritage preservation in Africa, as this plays an essential role in preserving the continent’s cultural identity, boosting tourism, protecting communities, and promoting socio-economic development.

As part of its global development activity over the years, the SFD has funded projects that contribute towards heritage preservation in Africa through climate change mitigation, as this can help to prevent natural disasters that damage heritage sites, and by investing in social infrastructure.

During his presentation, SFD’s Director General of the PMO, Eng. Mohammed Alhussain said, “Climate change is a major threat to heritage preservation in Africa. The continent is already experiencing the effects of climate change, such as more extreme weather events, rising sea levels, floods, and desertification. These effects are damaging and destroying cultural heritage sites, including archaeological sites, historic buildings, and natural landscapes.”

He also highlighted how renewable energy sources, such as solar and hydropower, can help to mitigate climate change and protect Africa’s rich heritage by reducing the production of carbon emissions and fossil fuel dependence, which damage the environment.

During the roundtable session, Mr. Alhussain also shared several key examples of SFD’s contributions in heritage preservation over the years, through climate impact and social infrastructure funding. Among these was the $20 million USD provided in grants by SFD to help Mauritania rebuild the city of Tintane, which hosts several historic buildings and sites, and was devastated by a flash flood in 2007,

Additionally, he also shared the positive impact of two other key projects, one of these being SFD’s $215 million USD contribution to the Merowe Dam Project in Sudan, and the $31 million USD provided towards the Kpong Hydro-Electric Power Plant Project in Ghana.

Since its inception in 1974, SFD has funded more than 700 development projects worth US$18.7 billion in over 90 countries around the world. In Africa alone, SFD has financed over 400 projects worth US$10.7 billion in 46 countries. This accounts for 57% of SFD’s funding in developing countries worldwide.

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