RIYADH, June 5 (Xinhua) — Saudi Arabia on Wednesday hosted World Environment Day 2024 under the theme “Our land, Our future,” with focuses on land preservation and drought resilience.

Led by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), World Environment Day is celebrated annually by over 150 nations worldwide.

While addressing the event, Saudi Environment Minister Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen AlFadley highlighted the kingdom’s efforts in preserving land, reducing degradation, fostering vegetation cover, biodiversity, food and water security, and adapting to climate change to enhance the quality of life.

AlFadley mentioned that in December, Saudi Arabia will host the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP16) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, during which Saudi Arabia will seek to bolster global action to combat land degradation and the impacts of drought, which affects over 3 billion people worldwide.

Meanwhile, Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UNEP, noted that World Environment Day is an important event to intensify efforts and bring about positive change to address the challenges of water scarcity and the loss of arable land due to unsustainable human activities and climate change, which impacts human health and quality of life.

Confronting these challenges requires collective responsibility and regional and international cooperation to enhance strategies, she added.

While discussing China’s efforts in environmental protection, she said, “China is doing a lot on the nature, the desertification and climate sides. It’s something that is very impressive.”

Since its first celebration in 1973, World Environment Day has grown into the largest global platform for environmental outreach, with millions of people across the world engaging to protect the planet.