Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision - G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter

Saudi Arabia

Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2021/02/01

Policy framework

National Action Plan

The Saudi Council of Ministers approved, in December 2017, the National Environmental Strategy (NES). The main outcome of the strategy was the establishment of 5 new environmental centers and an environment fund

  • National Center for Environmental Compliance (NCEC)
  • National Center for Wildlife Development (NCWD)
  • National Meteorological Center (NMC)
  • National Center for Development of the Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification (NCDVCCD)
  • National Center for Waste Management (NCWM).

Legal framework

The Saudi Council of Ministers issued new environmental regulations for the environment which empowers the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into achieving its 2030 vision by using international best practices. The new environmental regulations contain 9 main categories that include 49 articles to protect the environmental media, natural resources, protect vegetation, marine environment, and the wildlife. It also sets up a clear mechanism for environmental compliance and environmental violations.


The NESI set different national KPIs that are related to waste management, it will help in measuring the progress of decreasing MPL

  1. Number of Dumpsites in Need of Rehabilitation
  2. Percentage of sewage water treated in compliance with quality standards
  3. Diversion rate from landfills and dumpsites


Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Yes
Reduce single use plastic (shopping bag, strew etc.) by regulations or voluntary measures Yes
Restrict microbeads for cosmetics etc. No
Improve waste management recycling system Yes
Clean-up activity at rivers and coasts Yes
Actions on fishing gear (Contact PERSGA) Yes
Capturing trap/filter on drainage/river Yes
Promotion of innovative solutions Yes
Multi-stakeholder involvement and awareness raising Yes
Sharing scientific information and knowledge: R&D and Monitoring Yes
Participate in international cooperation through international organizations, multi-national groups, etc. (Maryam) Yes
Target region supported by your international cooperation initiatives/projects: Southeast Asia No
Target region supported by your international cooperation initiatives/projects: Africa No
Target region supported by your international cooperation initiatives/projects: Latin America No

Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

The national center for waste management is promoting the circular economy activation, EPR is a major part of this program.
There has been communication with different stakeholders to prevent and reduce plastic waste generation

Environmentally sound waste management and cleanup of marine plastic litter

As part of NES, MEWA has developed an initiative to establish the NWMC by following measures:

  • Develop and Implement a Marine Litter Prevention Strategy:
    (Implementation will commence in 2022)

    • Identify existing initiatives and projects to align and incorporate in the strategy where needed
    • Develop and agree on a comprehensive Marine Litter Prevention framework leveraging best practices
    • Assess land-based litter, seaborne litter and fishing activities related waste and litter
    • Highlight current state and main sources of marine litter and waste
    • Identify target state and the strategic goals to be achieved along the reduction, the control and the cleanup of marine litter
    • Identify the marine litter prevention strategic initiatives and develop their charters
    • Propose a performance management framework including related KPIs
    • Develop the detailed implementation plan
    • Develop processes to periodically update the strategy
    • Implement the key projects of the strategy in coordination with all stakeholders
    • Track implementation progress and periodically report on completion while highlighting deviations

The Permanent committee for the protection of the marine environment consists of eight governmental entities (General Authority of Meteorology & Environment Protection, Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior (General Directorate of Border Guard), Saudi Wildlife Authority, Ministry of Environment, water and Agriculture) and aims to reduce the environmental impacts of the developmental projects on costal zone and the marine wildlife such as the mangroves and corals reefs, by reviewing EIA and permitting all projects that contain backfilling, burial or bulldozing activities. In addition to that, it monitors the implementation of environmental standards and criteria on these projects by site visits and inspections.

The National Transformation Program (NTP) has two initiatives related to the marine protection and managed by GAMEP:

  • The Marine and Costal Protection Initiative aims to:
    • Define the baseline environmental conditions, characterize qualitatively and quantitatively existing and future pressures, implement a nationwide integrated monitoring Program and take further actions protect and restore existing environmental assets.
    • Capacity Building in Environmental Emergency Management
    • Develop the ability to respond to environmental emergencies by improving the operational model and the interaction model with the Ministry of Interior, developing a system for emergency management and maintenance, and setting a framework for developing partnerships with leading national and international actors in the field of emergency management.
  • The Rehabilitation of Contaminated Spots Initiative aims to:
  • Monitor, manage and rehabilitate contaminated spots in coastal and marine areas and deal with the concerned agencies to ensure the commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders in the isolation, control and rehabilitation of contaminated spots, and ensure the use of environmental standards and regulations for the rehabilitation of contaminated spots in accordance with the provisions of the environment general system and international conventions.

Environmental inspection through marine surveys to monitor and reinforce of environmental compliance in all sites through regular inspections and corrective actions to meet regulatory environmental standards.

Promotion of innovative solutions

One of the Strategic objectives of the National Center for Environmental Compliance is to encourage the environmentally friendly innovative solutions with Universities and Research centers locally and internationally

Multi-stakeholder involvement and awareness raising

Memorandum of Understanding was signed with external entities and the MEWA, NCWM & NCEC to raise awareness regarding waste generation which covers MPL.

Sharing scientific information and knowledge: R&D and Monitoring

KSA G20 presidency is committed in supporting the Japanese initiative in international harmonization of monitoring methods.


Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

  • Department of marine and coastal areas under GAMEP achieved these actions:
    • Issuing the general strategy of the Public Transport Authority and its strategic partners in the Kingdom to implement and enforce international maritime conventions, codes and protocols issued by the International Maritime Organization for the years 2019-2023.
    • National coordination with the Regional Commission for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea & Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Human and Environmental Affairs Sector of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council States.
    • Activation of the national plan in case of marine accidents.
    • Preparing the legal framework plans including:
      • The national plan to combat pollution of the marine environment with oil spill and other harmful substances in emergency cases.
      • The national plan for confronting marine disasters in the water of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
      • The Regional Convention for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea & Gulf of Aden (Jeddah Agreement), 1982.
      • The protocol for regional cooperation to combat oil spill and other harmful substances in emergency situations 1982.

Environmentally sound waste management and cleanup of marine plastic litter

Environmental inspection through marine surveys under GAMEP monitored discharge points on both of the western and eastern coasts which resulted in stopping and closing the violating ones for not complying with the environmental standards and not achieving environmental compliance.


  1. Developing a new infrastructure of waste management
  2. Enhancement of marine litter monitoring capacity
  3. Collection of marine litter distribution information
  4. Raising awareness of local governments, business, and citizens

Best practices

National level

PIF investments in Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC), Development Company, WASCO-MEPCO, LAVAGET, Dallah Al-Baraka

Private sector

Sabic innovative solutions in reducing plastic waste generation

International cooperation

According to MEWA analysis these are the countries relevant to KSA with best practices in Protected Marine Areas and Waste Management:

  • Spain – European Environmental Agency
  • Sweden – Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
  • Australia – Department of Environment and Energy
  • Germany – German Federal Environmental Agency
  • USA – United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • UAE – Environment Agency Abu Dhabi
  • UK – Environment Agency

Contact details

Dr. Abdullah Fisal Sbai

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