Saudi Arabia expands eVisa program to include Barbados, Bahamas and Grenada

Saudi Arabia expands eVisa program to include Barbados, Bahamas and Grenada
Saudi Arabia expands eVisa program to include Barbados, Bahamas and Grenada

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The Second Strategic Dialogue on International Development and Humanitarian Assistance between Saudi Arabia and the UK concluded on Tuesday with a high-level plenary session.

Aqeel Al-Ghamdi, the assistant general supervisor for planning and development at Saudi aid agency KSrelief, reviewed several recommendations by both sides, the Saudi Press Agency reported. They included an agreement to establish a framework for cooperation between the countries in support of efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and to continue discussions of goals on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Al-Ghamdi said both countries also agreed to collaborate on projects in Bangladesh, Ukraine and Sudan, including the exchange of expertise, skills and research, and field visits. They will also work to enhance cooperation between the Saudi Fund for Development and UK authorities, through a memorandum of cooperation signed on the sidelines of the talks.

The two-day event, which began on Monday at the KSrelief headquarters in Riyadh, was chaired by the organization’s general supervisor, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah. The Saudi delegation included the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, and the CEO of the Saudi Fund for Development, Sultan Al-Murshid.

The British delegation was led by Andrew Mitchell, the deputy foreign secretary and minister of state for development and Africa, and included the British ambassador to the Kingdom, Neil Crompton.

Earlier on Tuesday, representatives of the countries took part in two roundtable meetings on “the effectiveness of aid, research and study impact” and “community resilience, results-based management, monitoring and evaluation.”

The former considered ways to: facilitate the exchange of successful strategies and the lessons that can be learned from them; promote effective development practices; develop concrete and implementable recommendations to integrate community resilience; monitor and evaluate future projects; and strengthen the existing partnership between the countries through a shared commitment to the provision of effective aid and sustainable development.

It also discussed opportunities to enhance coordination among donors to improve the effectiveness of aid, and the importance of cooperation in efforts to strengthen the interconnected nature of humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts to help ensure peace and prosperity in fragile and high-risk countries, in addition to the basic principles for enhancing programs in support of an interconnected approach that can ensure sustainability and resilience.

The participants in the latter roundtable exchanged views on the progress made in efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, ways in which this might be accelerated, and the challenges they face. They also agreed on prioritization of Saudi-British efforts to achieve the goals, and explored opportunities for the development of this cooperation.

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