SAUDI ARAMCO INITIATES SUPPORT OF EARTHWATCH
Aramco Overseas Company became a corporate supporter in 2009. The Inspiring the Next Generation Program was launched in 2010 and ran for two years. This program provided fully funded places on Earthwatch environmental research projects to young people from Saudi Arabia and the U.K., spreading cultural awareness and helping them to develop a connection to and passion for nature.
MANGROVE RESTORATION AND HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT
In 2012, Saudi Aramco supported Earthwatch research and environmental education focusing on business-relevant conservation issues. A team of Saudi Aramco Environmental Protection Department employees joined a specially developed training team in Kenya that focused on mangrove restoration, reforestation, and ecosystem service enhancement. This was designed to facilitate knowledge exchange between Saudi Aramco and Earthwatch scientists, with the aim of supporting Saudi Aramco’s ambitious mangrove reforestation program in Saudi Arabia, which will plant over one million mangroves along the Kingdom’s shores between 2011 and 2016.
In 2013, the partnership is researching human–wildlife conflict in South Africa, in particular exploring interactions between communities and leopards. This program will include a tailored training team for early-career conservation scientists, furthering their professional development and helping them to become conservation leaders. These funded training places will be promoted through the Earthwatch research network, including in the Middle East where the critically endangered Arabian leopard is in desperate need of protection.
Earthwatch’s partnership with Saudi Aramco is supporting important environmental research, which increases scientific knowledge and drives conservation action. The partnership has also engaged a wide range of environmental stakeholders, including young people (the next generation of environmental ambassadors), early-career conservation scientists in the developing world (future environmental leaders), and Saudi Aramco’s employees (who can play an important role in improving the environmental performance of their company).
Looking to the future, we hope to further develop our partnership in order to support Earthwatch’s global mission and help Saudi Aramco to fulfill its commitment to protect and nurture the natural world.