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Sustainable Development in Saudi Arabia and Sustainable Agriculture

Under an invitation from the Rand Organization, Dr. Turki Faisal Al Rasheed and Dr. Joel Cuello gave a talk about “Sustainable Development in Saudi Arabia and Sustainable Agriculture” on 8 November 2017 at the company’s headquarters in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California. The talk formed part of the Rand Organization’s International Development Speaker Series and Center for Middle East Public Policy.

Prior to the talk, Dr.Al Rasheed and Dr. Cuello had a video teleconference meeting with Mr. Peter Glick and Mr. Nick Burger at their office in Washington DC about sustainable development and agriculture, particularly in the Arab world and the rest of the world in general.

US-Saudi relationship and the ways in which it can and should transition from one based primarily on security to one that focuses instead on sustainable development for the benefit of the Gulf region and the broader global community.

Dr.Al Rasheed’s talkwas on the US-Saudi relationship and the ways in which it can and should transition from one based primarily on security to one that focuses instead on sustainable development for the benefit of the Gulf region and the broader global community. Furthermore, he talked about how to strengthen further the collaboration to achieve shared Saudi and US goals in regional security, trade and investment. Saudi Arabia and US currently in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 1. Poverty, 2. Hunger, 17. Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development target in 2030. A successful sustainable development program requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the center, and are needed at the global, regional, national and local levels.

According to the UN Arab Human Development Report: Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a changing Reality, by 2020 three out of four Arab countries will be considered failed states. In 2002, there were five failed states in the Arab world. In 2014, the number went up to 11 countries. Dr. Rasheed argued in his talk that the lack of sustainable development is one of the major reasons for Arab countries to be classified as failed states.

According to the UN Arab Human Development Report: Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a changing Reality, by 2020 three out of four Arab countries will be considered failed states. In 2002, there were five failed states in the Arab world. In 2014, the number went up to 11 countries. Dr. Rasheed argued in his talk that the lack of sustainable development is one of the major reasons for Arab countries to be classified as failed states.

Dr. Al Rasheed referred to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Arab Human Development Report 2016. Arab countries’ young people are coming of age in a context of widening income disparities, increasing inequality of opportunity, slowing average growth and shrinking job opportunities. These problems are weakening their commitment to preserving government institutions and their desire to participate in a political world that does not meet their needs or their expectations. Such difficulties are not confined to youth, but young people tend to be more affected, and they will have to deal with the problems for many decades, unless there is a change in the current situation, which they have had no hand in creating and which is characterized by the largest number of failed states in the world.

Dr. Cuello talked about sustainable agriculture and the engineering of sustainable biological and agricultural systems as part of his work as the Director of the Global Initiative for Strategic Agriculture in Dry Lands (GISAD) at the University of Arizona. Moreover, he talked about the impact of urbanization expanding urban centers, increasingly depopulated rural villages that are predominantly agriculture-based. Through Social Agriculture and Strategic Agriculture empowers the rural villages to serve as a means to bring in jobs, education and social inclusion as well as mitigate the depopulation of rural areas, and thus also help improve or promote national security.

The talk was shared simultaneously by teleconference between Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, Pittsburg and Washington DC. Other members of the audience were connected by a webmeeting and phone. The talk concluded with a question and answer session which enabled members of the audience to raise any issues with the speakers. It gave an in-depth understanding and analysis on the importance of US-Saudi relationships on sustainable development and agriculture. The members of the audience have understood and enlightened the meaning of sustainable development and agriculture towards the end of the talk.




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