Saudi Gazette report UNITED NATIONS — “A Day in Riyadh” — a series of workshops that feature an interactive display depicting the Saudi capital’s past, present and future — began here Tuesday with a workshop presenting the broad outline of the vision for the city. On Wednesday, ‘A Day in Riyadh’ focussed on environmental protection and improvement, energy sustainability; and what life in Riyadh aims to be. The Arriyadh Development Authority opened its exposition, “A Day in Riyadh,” Monday night with a reception and dinner at the UN headquarters in New York attended by senior international diplomats, US officials and influential figures from the development sector. Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi discussed the Kingdom’s commitment to stability in the region. He was followed by Riyadh Mayor Ibrahim Alsultan, who is also the President of the Arriyadh Development Authority. He discussed the significant development projects designed to change the face, feeling and improve mobility for Riyadh’s 6.5 million residents. US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdallah Bin Zayed, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, and other dignitaries from across the world attended the reception which drew over 500 people. Dr. Ahmad Alsaif, Saudi Arabia’s former Deputy Minister of Education who was the governor of Riyadh for 50 years and took in the lead in establishing the Arriyadh Development Authority, said the Saudi capital is a city that prioritizes sustainability, urban growth, the environment. “In the 1950s, Riyadh was a sleepy hamlet of around 100,000 inhabitants. Today it is a city of over 6.5 million people. Progress in improving the national economy, municipal organizations, and technology are factors that influenced Riyadh’s urbanization,” said Dr. Faisal Al Mubarak, Provost for Education Affairs and Academic President, Al Faisal University, and a Board Member of King Adbullah Economic City. Lyndsay Neilson, a longtime adviser to the Arriyadh Development Authority, told the workshop that Riyadh is becoming a center for new forms of investment and the private sector engagement. “We now have new investment opportunities because of our ambitious public transportation projects. “Our focus first and foremost is on the citizens and ensuring livability in accordance with Vision 2030. We are at an exciting time in our long term planning as we begin the next phase of strategic growth in Riyadh,” said Neilson, who is also secretary of the Department of Environment and Sustainability, State of Victoria in Australia. Yamina Djacta, director for UN-Habitat, said that the “Future Saudi Cities Program” is truly transformative and is considered a qualitative leap in the urban planning process in the Kingdom that is expected to achieve positive outcomes for the cities of Saudi Arabia. He said the “Future Saudi Cities Program” was developed in cooperation between the UN and the Kingdom to achieve sustainable urbanization.