The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has produced a report that outlines the critical need for action to protect, promote, and conserve the world's under-threat natural environments and critically threatened species. RCU has identified these needs in collaboration with its strategic partner IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and they will be working together to address these important conservation issues.
Titled 'Comprehensive Regeneration: The AlUla Approach to Sustainable Development' and issued on the occasion of World Nature Conservation Day, the report offers a blueprint for action that examines how environmental degradation poses an extreme risk to habitats worldwide, and how the work being carried out by RCU provides a framework and agenda for sustained economic, cultural, and environmental success.
Comprehensive Regeneration, a concept developed by RCU in its sustainable development of AlUla, employs a diverse set of principles and approaches built around the goal of revitalising not only the landscape, but how people and societies interact with their surroundings. They are:
- Environment & heritage safeguarding
- Sustainable settlement patterns
- Development, growth, & activation
- Resilient infrastructure
Delivered as the definitive framework for RCU's efforts across AlUla County, Comprehensive Regeneration showcases the importance of establishing a circular economy, how restoring heritage and culture can benefit current and future generations, and the pivotal role communities must play in delivering liveable, sustainable, and resilient urban regeneration plans in the long-term.
Case studies highlighted in the document show how RCU's Comprehensive Regeneration plans are being put into action as a model for responsible development, with success being delivered in diverse projects including the development of the Arabian Leopard Programme, which aims to reintroduce the species into the wild, and the establishment of the Sharaan Nature Reserve, the revitalisation of the AlUla Cultural Oasis, and the success of the AlUla Seed Bank and Plant Nursery.
Each of these projects has seen positive results, including the restoration and regreening of habits with plants grown at the AlUla Seed Bank; the reintroduction of native animal species into managed and monitored reserves such as Sharaan, which is included on the IUCN's Green List for Protected and Conserved Areas; and the regeneration of thriving cultural and economic community hubs in AlUla and the opportunities they bring for local people.
A key insight from the report is its support for the widespread integration of the principles of Comprehensive Regeneration into the decision-making of governments and the private sector, with an acknowledgement that both need to work closely to deliver on a wide range of critical sustainability and development efforts that will have a profound impact on the world for generations to come.
Dr Stephen Browne, Vice President, Wildlife & Natural Heritage at RCU, said: "Environmental degradation is a problem all of humanity faces, and it is a problem we must solve. RCU has been taking clear action under the banner of Comprehensive Regeneration. We are delivering sustainable development in a manner that is harmonious with communities and the environment, developing solutions that are integrated and deliverable as part of our long-term strategy.
"Through the publication of this report with our colleagues at IUCN, leaders and changemakers will be made more aware of the successes RCU has achieved so far, which we hope will help with the creation of new approaches to further advance and promote the ideals and benefits of Comprehensive Regeneration."
IUCN Director General (July 2020 - June 2023), Dr Bruno Oberle, said: "In witnessing AlUla's determination to contribute to IUCN's vision for a just world that values and conserves nature, it is my hope that AlUla's example and experience will inspire other public authorities to implement Comprehensive Regeneration."