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Two parks in Saudi Arabia win the first Green Flag Awards in the Kingdom

29 February 2024

Carl McClean, International Development Manager for the Green Flag Award said:

“This is an historic moment for the growing public parks and green spaces sector in Saudi Arabia. It’s fantastic to be able to recognise these two very different parks with the Green Flag Award. Congratulations to everyone involved for all your hard work to manage and maintain these spaces for the communities that visit them.”


Al Ghat National Park, managed by the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development & Combating Desertification. And Waterfront Park, managed by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu are the first winners in Saudi Arabia as the global award expands.

The news completes the 2023-24 season for Green Flag Award, which saw an amazing 2,463 winners from 18 countries around the world.


Image 5: Judging at Al Ghat National Park
Image 2: Judging at Al Ghat National Park

Judges impressed with two very different parks

At Al Ghat National Park the judges were particularly impressed with the conservation efforts and the focus on native plant establishment and water conservation in extremely challenging conditions. Park Manager Suleiman Alsaab has been managing the area in and around the park with local communities for over a decade. National Center for Vegetation Cover Development & Combating Desertification are an integral part of the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) and their "Let's Make it Green" campaign is leading the way in the kingdom.

At Waterfront Park the judges commended the diverse range of facilities and attention to maintenance and access. Yanbu is one of the most accessible cities in Saudi Arabia, with many people relocating to the coast for a better quality of living. The city also holds the annual Yanbu Flower and Garden Festival which this year featured a "Reduce and Recycle" zone - winning the Guinness World Record for biggest rocket made of recycled materials!


Waterfront Park in Yanbu
Image 3: Waterfront Park in Yanbu at night, with mangroves by the coast.

Waterfront Park, Yanbu

Waterfront Park is an 11km stretch of public green space featuring parklands, gardens, a marina and several entertainment venues, cafes and restaurants. The park also features a protected mangrove conservation area which attracts a wide variety of bird life. The project spans four phases, one of which is still under development. The Royal Commission are focused on diversifying Yanbu from an historic industrial port city, towards a destination for tourism and leisure on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.

H.E. Engr. Khalid Al Salem, President of The Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) said:

“We are proud that the Waterfront Park in Yanbu Industrial City received the Green Flag Award for the sustainability of the park and green spaces. As part of the efforts of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu we are committed to improve the quality of life and provide entertainment destinations for residents and tourists - in line with the strategic directions and vision of the Kingdom 2030.”

To read more about the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu visit: RCJY 

Image 4: One of the valleys getting greener thanks to NCVC at Al Ghat National Park
Image 4: One of the valleys getting greener thanks to NCVC at Al Ghat National Park

Al Ghat National Park, Riyadh Region

Al-Ghat is one of over 500 national parks across the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, managed by the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development & Combating Desertification.

Originally known locally as “Wadi Al-Batin”, it is one of several valleys in the area of the Tuwaiq Mountains. The soil is fertile and dense with coarse sand. At each end of the two valleys there are two natural water springs that flow in the wet season. There are also a number of natural caves and escarpments that provide fantastic points of interest and majestic views. This particular national park is distinguished by its biological and environmental diversity compared to others and has won several awards, including one from Saudi Water and Environment Forum (SWEF) for environmental excellence.

To read more about National Center for Vegetation Cover Development & Combating Desertification visit:


Image 6: NCVC Receive the Green Flag Award in Riyadh
Image 5: NCVC Receive the Green Flag Award in Riyadh

Experienced UK judges hope to work alongside Saudi judges in future

In this first year of the award, two judges visited from the United Kingdom to help assess each site. Lucy Heath was formerly a Senior Specialist in Landscape, Access and Recreation at Natural England and worked for the Countryside Commission as well as several local authorities. She has experience in national park management and conservation having delivered a 4 year project in Sub-Saharan Africa. Chris Worman is Parks and Green Spaces Manager at South Derbyshire District Council and has been a Green Flag Award judge since the program started in 1996. Chris was awarded an MBE in the Queens 90th birthday honours in 2016 for services to parks.

Image 5: Judging underway at Yanbu Waterfront Park
Image 5: Judging underway at Yanbu Waterfront Park

However, as the programme grows in Saudi Arabia, Keep Britain Tidy who manage the award plan to train a number of judges from within applicant organisations. This supports the growth of the programme, as well as drawing on the extensive expertise within the sector of the kingdom. Especially in relation to managing parks and green spaces in the challenging Saudi Arabian climate.

About the Green Flag Award

The Green Flag Award® is a non-profit international accreditation programme that recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces. Originating in England in 1996, today the Green Flag Award proudly flies above more than 2,400 places in 18 countries around the world.

The award is set to grow in the Middle East Region in 2024-25, with already 54 winners in the United Arab Emirates, and interest being received from Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.


Global winners

The programme is managed internationally by environmental Charity Keep Britain Tidy, alongside a network of National Operators in several countries. See the website Network page for more information.

Since its founding, the aim of the Green Flag Award is to ensure that everyone has access to a quality green space to enable healthy lifestyles and stronger communities. Saudi Arabia now joins 17 other countries in applying the Green Flag Award standards for their parks - including the UK, USA, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and many countries in Europe and Scandinavia.

For an interactive global map of current winners, visit:


To find out more in general, or apply for an Award, whichever country you are based in; explore the Green Flag Award website:,  or alternatively click here for a contact form.