The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoys a rich cultural and natural heritage and has an advanced state of socio- economic development. It also suffers from a wide range of growing environmental problems such as securing its potable water supply, coping with solid and liquid waste, ensuring clean air or protecting the marine environment. It is the objective of sustainable development to ensure that further development in the Kingdom does not damage the public health of the people or the natural environment. The policies underlying sustainable development have developed internationally over the past four decades and are well explained in Agenda 21 (1992) restated in the Sustainable Development Goals (2014). One of the three pillars of sustainable development is protection of the environment. Islam provides a foundation for the Kingdom’s duty to protect the environment. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has enacted an ambitious body of environment law to support this pillar, but these laws are not yet effectively implemented. Its environment management systems are not protecting the environment, and measures are needed to strengthen environmental regulation. To do so, the Kingdom needs to provide education and training about environmental protection, to improve the administration of its environmental management, and to adopt and implement modern procedures that ensure compliance with – and enforcement – of the Kingdom’s environmental laws. Principally, the Kingdom needs to use an environmental management system (“EMS”) and to require wide use of the ISO 14000 standards and audits. And to employ the methodologies of the International Network on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (“INECE”), it should also establish a committee on performance which would oversee compliance with and enforcement of environmental law. The Kingdom should be guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and above all by its religious values, to establish an effective environmental law compliance and enforcement regime.
Faisal K. Alturki, Promoting Sustainable Development Through Environmental Law: Prospects for Saudi Arabia (June 2015) (SJD dissertation, Pace University School of Law), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawdissertations/17/.