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Rules and Procedures for Organizing Conferences in ‎the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Rules and Procedures for Organizing Conferences in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Chapter One: Introduction

Article 1:  Definitions

The following words and expressions, wherever mentioned herein, shall have the meanings assigned thereto unless the context indicates otherwise:

  1. KSA: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  2. SECB:  Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau
  3. Organizer:  A licensed institution or company for organizing conferences. Scientific, professional, medical, civil, cooperative and charitable societies, chambers of commerce and universities in KSA may be accepted as organizers of their own conferences, which fall within their specializations and activities.
  4. Document:  Rules and procedures for organizing conferences in KSA.
  5. Relative Authorities:  SECB Supervisory Committee, Ministry of Interior, Province Principalities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Saudi Commission for Health Specialties and other relevant bodies as determined by the regulations and directives.
  6. Conference: A scientific meeting to discuss a specific topic in a number of aspects. In such meetings, specialized participants submit research and refereed papers approved by a scientific committee at the conference. Conferences conclude with recommendations and do not require continuity or annual frequency or determine a specific time during the year. They consist of panel discussions, lectures or workshops. Material is presented using visual aids, speeches, dialogue or discussion. Conference may include an accompanying exhibition for sponsors, supporters and collaborators and is usually covered by the media. If a conference is accompanied by a trade show or consumer exhibition, it is called a 'Convention'
  7. 7-In this document the term "conference" includes the following key terms:
  • Forum:  A meeting to discuss a specific topic in a number of aspects. In such a meeting, participants exchange views through workshops. A forum does not require continuity or annual frequency or determine a specific time during the year. A forum may include an accompanying exhibition for sponsors, supporters and collaborators only, and may take place as part of a more comprehensive event, such as a specific week or national campaign.
  • Symposium:  A meeting of a number of specialists in a particular field where they discuss a specific topic. A symposium may take place as part of a more comprehensive event, such as a specific week or national campaign, and is usually covered by the media.
  • Convention:  An event consisting of a trade or consumer exhibition, conference, forum or symposium.
  • International Conference, Forum, Symposium or Convention:  The conference, forum, symposium or convention shall be classified as "International" when 15% or more of the attendees come from outside KSA or the attendees come from 3 or more countries.

 

Article 2:  Scope of Rules and Procedures

  1. Conferences held by chambers of commerce; scientific, professional, medical, civil, cooperative and charitable societies; private sector institutions and universities in KSA shall be subject to these rules and procedures.
  2. Except for the following:
  • Specialized conferences held by government agencies (ministries and public authorities) with external participation, and subject to the regulations set by the Council of Ministers Resolution No. (81) dated 22/3/1431 AH.
  • Conferences and events organized by embassies and diplomatic missions accredited in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and subject to the procedures set out by Royal Orders No. (43857) dated 6/10/1432 AH and No. (7436) dated 21/10/1431 AH.
  • Cultural events (religious and da'wa lectures, poetry evenings, plays …etc.), and subject to the procedures set out by Royal Order No. (5186) dated 15/4/1426 AH, and the Circular of Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior No. (164530) dated 18/9/1436 AH.

Chapter Two: Rules for Organizing Conferences

Article 3:  General Conditions

  1. Organizing conferences in KSA are prohibited without SECB licensing.
  2. Conference shall be organized and operated in compliance with Islamic values, Sharia Law and general regulations of KSA.
  3. Arabic shall be the official language in conferences, other languages may be used provided interpretation into Arabic is offered.
  4. A conference shall have an appropriate title that conforms to the Arabic language and public decency, taking into consideration all intellectual rights according to the applicable regulations. Arabic and English abbreviations may be used.
  5. Number of attendees shall be no less than 50 persons.
  6. Applicant (organizer) shall be in the capacity of the following categories:
  • Licensed companies or institutions for organizing exhibitions and conferences, provided that its license and commercial registration are valid upon submission and throughout the conference.
  • Licensed professional, medical, scientific, civil, charitable or cooperative societies.
  • Chambers of Commerce.
  • Public and private universities.
  1. Prior to receiving SECB's initial approval, all promotional activities for the conference are prohibited, including advertising of all forms.
  2. 8.       Conference's initial approval or license shall not be assigned or sub-licensed to third parties. Subcontracting agreements may be concluded with other institutions to provide supply or market services to conference.
  3. SECB shall hold no moral or financial liability in case the organizer fails to implement the rules and procedures of conferences.

Article 4:  Date and Venue

  1. Conference's duration shall be no less than four hours and no more than seven days.
  2. Conference shall only be held in independent conference halls or within universities, hotel halls and events halls licensed by SECB.
  3. Conference halls, event halls or hotel halls shall only host conferences licensed by SECB. SECB license shall be stated as a prerequisite in the leasing contracts between the venue and organizers.
  4. In cities and governorates where conference halls are not available, conferences licensed by SECB may be organized in temporary venues that comply with civil defense requirements.

Article 5:  Conference Program 

  1. Supervisor with experience in conference theme shall be appointed to oversee the scientific program.
  2. Conference program shall be prepared with scientific foundations to ensure that the conference's objective is delivered.
  3. Speakers should be carefully selected and registered in the program, when choosing speakers ensure the following apply:
  • No criminal record or declared reservations.
  • Good conduct and behavior.
  • Is competent or experienced in the field to be discussed.
  1. There shall be no slurring of state symbols or policies; no discussion of any subjects related to policy, security, tribes or religion that may cause public distress or agitation; or lead to disturbance of public order.
  2. All Saudi regulations for intellectual property rights shall be be observed with regards to the conference.

 

Article 6:  Accompanying Events

  1. Social, cultural or recreational events may be held in accompaniment with the conference, taking into account the regulations adopted for licensing such activities as per type.
  2. The conference may include an accompanying exhibition for sponsors, supporters and collaborators. If the conference is accompanied by a trade or consumer exhibition, it is called a 'convention' and organizer shall obtain an independent license for organizing the exhibition, consistent with the rules and procedures for organizing trade or consumer exhibitions.
  3. An opening and a closing ceremony may be held.
  4. Accompanying events shall not exceed the conference's period.
  5. Tourism programs may be organized for visitors in conference area and within KSA cities, in cooperation with tour operators licensed by Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).  

 

Article 7:  Conference Management

  1. The rules and regulations of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development shall be adopted in regards to Saudizing job opportunities announced by the Ministry or other relative authorities when organizing the conference.
  2. A registration platform or electronic registration system shall be provided to register conference participants. Registration shall include name, address, job and contact information. Participating in a conference is prohibited without registration.
  3. All sessions and lectures held at the conference must be videotaped, and SECB shall be provided with a copy of these videos, if requested, within a period not exceeding two years from date of the conference.
  4. All employees, speakers and visitors participating in the conference shall wear ID cards indicating their names, jobs and affiliates.
  5. Provide an office for the executive management of the conference equipped with telephone, fax and internet services. A full time official shall be appointed in the office during conference work hours.
  6. Provide a first aid room and a paramedic during conference work hours, whenever the number of attendance exceeds 200 persons.
  7. Provide an information center for visitors and answering their queries.
  8. Provide a complaint/suggestion box.
  9. Smoking is strictly prohibited within all conference facilities. Visible "No Smoking" signs shall be placed and a smoking area shall be allocated outside the conference.
  10. Allocate two prayer areas form males and females and stop the conference's activities during prayer periods.
  11. Launch a website for the conference.
  12. Souvenirs distributed in the conference shall be Saudi handicraft products.
  13. SECB initial approval or license number shall be placed on all advertising and promotional materials of the conference.

 

Article 8:  Ending and Evaluating the Conference

The organizer is obligated to end the conference at the time stated on the license, and submit a report to SECB within one month from the end date. The conference's detailed program shall be annexed to the report and include the following:

    1. The actual opening and end dates.
    2. Number of speakers and their names.
    3. Number of individuals who participated in organizing the conference.
    4. Number of exhibitors participating in the accompanying exhibition, list of conference sponsors.
    5. Total number of attendees from inside and outside KSA.
    6. Photos of the conference and a summary of all media coverage.
    7. Conclusions and recommendations of the conference.
    8. Financial outcomes of conference in terms of costs and returns.

Chapter Three: Procedures for licensing Conferences:  

Article 9:  Conditions for Issuing Conference License

  1. To obtain a license for conferences, applicant shall submit a request to gain initial approval from SECB, and then proceed to complete the requirements and apply for a license. The initial approval does not give the organizer the right to hold the conference.
  2. Obtaining SECB initial approval for the conference is a prerequisite to apply for the license. Information provided in the initial approval application must match the information provided in the license (title, location, time and main themes).
  3. Conference licensing fees set by SECB Supervisory Committee shall be paid.
  4. Upon receiving the initial approval and prior to obtaining the license, SECB shall contact public entities related to the specialization of the conference (if necessary). In cases where the conference deals with topics which directly discuss specialization and functions of that government body. The recommendations and support of relative public entities are required. In case any of the entities disapproves the exhibition, the organizer shall be notified to communicate directly with that entity and convince it of  the feasibility of the conference.
  5. SECB may reject any application for organizing the conference based on data related to the conference's theme, executive plan, scheduling or its conflict with other conferences or events; or based on instructions issued by relative authorities.
  6. The organizer may charge an attendance fee after coordination with SECB, and  at least (90) days prior to the conference.

Article 10:  Initial Approval Procedures for the Conference

  1. Application for initial approval for the conference shall be requested through SECB portal at least (180) days prior to organizing the conference.
  2. The organizer shall 'Register' and 'Update User Profile' on the SECB portal (www.secb.gov.sa), and then select "Licensing Conference" from the "E-Services" drop down menu and fill the application for an initial approval.
  3. The following documents shall be attached with the initial approval application:
  • A copy of the venue's initial booking confirmation.
  • An action plan and detailed visualization of the conference including:
    • Conference objectives and the general topics to be discussed
    • Targeted segments
    • Targeted number of attendance from inside and outside KSA
    • o     Organizational structure of the executive management, providing names of key officials
    • Estimated budget 
    • Logo
  1. When the initial approval requirements are fulfilled, SECB shall send a message confirming receipt.
  2.  SECB shall review the application and respond to the organizer with approval, rejection or conditional approval, within 5 working days excluding weekends and official holidays.
  3. If SECB approves the application, the organizer shall pay the service fees of the initial approval.
  4.  SECB shall issue an initial approval and notify the organizer via Email.

 

Article 11:  Final Licensing Procedures for Conference

  1. Application for initial approval for the conference shall be requested through SECB portal at least (90) days prior to organizing the conference.
  2. Organizer shall apply for conference license via SECB portal, and then select "Licensing Conference Final Approval" from the "E-Services" drop down menu and fill the application for a final approval.
  3. When final approval requirements are fulfilled, SECB shall send a message confirming receipt.
  4.  SECB shall review the application and documents with relative authorities and respond to the organizer with approval, rejection or conditional approval, within (30) days.
  5.  SECB shall issue the license and send the original copy to the organizer via e-mail.
  6.  SECB shall provide all relative authorities with a copy of the license for arranging, supervising, monitoring and documenting any irregularities occurring during conference organization, each within their field of competence.

Article 12:  Modifying Dates or Venues

  1. In case of cancellation or modification of date or venue, the organizer shall notify SECB through its portal within at least (60) days prior to the conference. Organizer shall clarify the reasons of such modification or cancellation and acquire SECB approval thereof.
  2. Organizer shall pay the service fees for such modifications. 
  3. Organizer shall not change conference name, subject or interlocutors after the initial approval or final license has been obtained and a new application is required.

Chapter Four: Violations and Penalties

Article 13:  Penalties

In case of violation of the stipulated rules and regulations, anyone who violates the provisions of Chapter Two of this agreement shall be punished by the following:

  1. If the violation is committed for the first time, SECB shall issue a written warning to the organizer requesting amendments during the conference. Organizer shall sign a pledge not to repeat the violation in the future.
  2. If the violation is committed for the second time after receiving a written warning, the organizer shall be banned from organizing conferences and exhibitions for three months. If the organizer has received an initial approval or license for organizing conferences or exhibitions within the suspension period, they shall be canceled or postponed to after the suspension period.
  3. If the violation is committed for the third time, the organizer shall be banned from organizing conferences and exhibitions for six months. If the organizer has received an initial approval or license for organizing conferences or exhibitions within the suspension period, they shall be canceled or postponed to after the suspension period.
  4. If the violation is committed for the fourth time, the organizer's commercial registration for organizing conferences and exhibitions shall be suspended, and all initially approved or licensed conferences and exhibitions shall be canceled. No activity may be reinstated until at least one year after the date of suspension, provided that the organizer provides pledges not to repeat the violation and commits to additional requirements.

 

Article 14:  Penalty and Appeal

  1. SECB shall recommend a penalty to the Chair of SECB Supervisory Committee or an authorized representative for approval.
  2. The violating organizer may appeal before the Chair of SECB Supervisory Committee within (10) days of notification date. SECB shall review the appeal and inform the organizer within five working days.

If the appeal is rejected or the organizer is not informed within (5) working day, the violating organizer may file a claim before courts of jurisdiction in accordance with the regulations.

 
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