G20 Rome Summit continues the Saudi efforts in pandemic’s exceptional year

Saudi Arabia held one of the most challenging G20 summits last year while the world was hobbling during the pandemic outbreak.  This year Italy is taking over the summit presidency to continue the kingdom efforts that started last year to address the global challenges amid the pandemic. 

In a ministerial meeting of the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group in Sorrento, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi, the Saudi minister of commerce, who led the Kingdom’s delegation in the Italian city on Tuesday said that the meeting was a continuation of the G20’s great work to confront ongoing global challenges.

When Saudi Arabia held the presidency of the organization last year, he added, it had played a leading role in the efforts to shape the future of international trade and investment by helping to develop and adopt measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that were designed to support international trade and investment.

He reiterated that Italy holds the presidency this year and is urging member states to continue with these measures while developing further initiatives and commitments.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia presided over the G20 in 2020 during a year challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and remains committed to continue working in the same spirit of cooperation and solidarity with the Italian presidency for strong sustainable and inclusive growth.

Besides being a G20 member, the Kingdom is also a troika member: a three-member country committee chaired by Italy, the current presidency; Saudi Arabia, the outgoing presidency, and Indonesia, the future presidency in 2022, to ensure that G20 presidencies work hand-in-hand to achieve consistency and continuity of the group’s agenda

Here is a list of the initiatives and actions adopted by the Kingdom in last year’s summit:

– The G20 countries pledged, after the outbreak, more than $21 billion to support the immediate funding needs, notably for the development of diagnostic tools, vaccines and effective therapeutics. The Kingdom contributed $500m to support these efforts.

– The G20 agreed to spare no effort in creating the conditions for affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostic tools.

– The G20 agreed to inject over $11 trillion into the global economy to support businesses and protect individuals’ livelihoods, an unprecedented G20 economic stimulus.

–  The summit pledged to extend the social safety nets to better protect those prone to losing their jobs or source of income.

– With the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, the Kingdom made available more than $14 billion in debt relief to the most vulnerable countries, whose collective population exceeds one billion.

– In addition, over $300 billion has been mobilized via development banks, the IMF, and the World Bank, which are working with the G20 to assist emerging and low-income countries.

– The summit launched the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO to provide necessary support for WTO reforms, under WTO’s own umbrella.

– The Saudi G20 Presidency greatly emphasized safeguarding the planet. Therefore, we, at the G20, endorsed the Circular Carbon Economy platform to better manage carbon emissions across all economy sectors and ensure access to cleaner, more sustainable, and affordable energy.

– The summit launched the G20 Initiative to reduce land degradation and preserve coral reefs in order to protect our planet’s essential ecosystems and biodiversity, both on land and in our oceans.

In his speech at the G20, the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense said, “The Saudi G20 Presidency has focused its efforts to build a stronger, more resilient and more sustainable world. This is aligned with Saudi Arabia undergoing major economic and social transformation, guided by our Vision 2030 which aims to ensure that all of our citizens, especially women and youth, can seize the opportunities of the 21st century.”

“The Kingdom will continue to answer the global call to address the challenges of the 21st century, together with the G20 members. We wish all the best for Italy,” he added then.