A historic milestone: Saudi Arabia hosting G20 in 2020
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini
The Saudi government is witnessing a historic milestone, hosting the G20 for the first time in its history under the exceptional circumstances of the global pandemic of COVID-19. In the run-up to the summit, Saudi Arabia has hosted more than 100 meetings and conferences, including ministerial meetings and those of officials and representatives from civil society.
The impact of the pandemic has pushed the global economy into recession this year. Governments across the world have taken multiple actions to slow the spread of the pandemic. Saudi Arabia and the other 19 economies have taken a decision to inject more than $11 trillion into the global economy as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures and guarantee schemes to blunt economic fallout from the pandemic.
Yesterday, I was watching King Salman’s speech during the opening ceremony. He emphasized the critical roles of coordination and collaboration among the G20 members to combat the pandemic and its catastrophic impact on human lives by committing $21 billion to develop and secure the needed treatments and vaccines for this virus.
On the business front, the B20 is an integral part of the G20 process, representing the entire G20 business community. The mission of the B20 was to support the G20 through consolidated representation of interests, concrete policy proposals and expertise. Furthermore, the B20 promotes dialogue among policymakers, civil society and business at an international level.
B20 members have invested considerable preparation and held many workshops over the past months, exchanging ideas and comparing notes virtually, as well as showcasing their competitive advantages.
Other groups include Civil society (C20), Labor (L20), Science (S20), Think tanks (T20), Urban (U20), Women (W20) and Youth (Y20). The outcome of these meetings will be presented today as recommendations during the G20 leaders’ session.
It is worth noting here that the Saudi Vision 2030 corresponds to the priorities of the G20, including achieving macroeconomic stability, sustainable development, women’s empowerment, enhanced human capital and the increased flow of trade and investment.
In my opinion, as the entire world set their watches to the KSA time zone yesterday and today, this is a historic milestone event not only for Saudi Arabia but also worldwide. As we watch the proceedings of this summit, we are witnessing the end of a single or dual power economies and the beginning of multiple super powers, including that of Saudi Arabia. Together, they will spread peace, prosperity and growth for their people on planet earth.
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view
King Salman confident Riyadh G20 summit will deliver ‘significant and decisive results’
Annual leaders’ meeting to address coronavirus crisis among other global issues
King Salman said the Riyadh summit is inclusive of the interests of all countries and not just G20 member states
Updated 22 November 2020
Lojien Bem Gassem
RIYADH: As the Group of Twenty (G20) forum’s 15th meeting got under way on Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, in his opening remarks, expressed confidence in the outcome of the summit, being held virtually for the first time since its founding owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am confident that the Riyadh summit will deliver significant and decisive results, and will lead to the adoption of economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world,” he said.
The hope is that the two-day G20 Leaders’ Summit, being held under Saudi Arabia’s presidency, will lay the foundations for a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The meeting has brought together economies that account for about 85 percent of global GDP to discuss the most challenging socio-economic issues.
“It is unfortunate that we are unable to host you in person in Riyadh, due to the exceptional circumstances that we are all facing this year,” King Salman told other G20 leaders. “Our peoples and economies are still suffering from this shock. However, we will do our best to overcome this crisis through international cooperation.”
The Nov. 21-22 summit, expected to be dominated by the pandemic and its economic repercussions, is not the first meeting of the leaders in Riyadh. In March, just a few weeks after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, King Salman hosted an extraordinary virtual gathering aimed at forging a common strategy to confront the unprecedented challenge.
“We expressed our commitment during our extraordinary summit to urgently mobilize resources, and we all pledged, at the onset of the crisis, over $21 billion to support the global efforts to combat this pandemic,” King Salman said on Saturday. “We took extraordinary measures to support our economies by injecting over $11 trillion to support individuals and businesses.”
“We also extended our social safety nets to protect those prone to losing their jobs or source of income. To this end, we have provided emergency support to the developing countries, including the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative to the low-income countries.
“This has been an extraordinary year. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented shock that affected the entire world within a short period of time, causing global economic and social losses.”
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The G20 presidency rotates between member countries, and in December 2019 Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to assume the role. Each presidency typically concludes with the G20 Leaders’ Summit, a powerful gathering of heads of state that made its debut in 2008.
The normal G20 calendar has been changed due to restrictions put in place across the forum’s membership in response to the pandemic. G20 leaders and ministers have held virtual meetings to coordinate the international response to the crisis and put the global economy on a pathway to recovery.
$21 billion: Contribution of G20 member states to fight against COVID-19.
King Salman stressed that the Riyadh summit was inclusive of the interests of all countries and not just G20 member states. “The theme of our presidency is ‘Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All,’” he noted, adding: “Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adjust our focus rapidly to face its repercussions, the subject areas under this general theme, namely ‘Empowering People,’ ‘Safeguarding the Planet,’ and ‘Shaping New Frontiers,’ remain essential to overcome this global challenge and shape a better future for our people.”
King Salman urged G20 leaders to address the vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19 while working to protect lives and livelihoods. “Although we are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics tools for COVID-19, we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples,” he said.
With G20 countries adopting the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the World Trade Organization, which aims to make the multilateral trading system more capable of facing any challenges, King Salman said: “We must continue to support the global economy and reopen our economies and borders to facilitate the mobility of trade and people. We must provide support to the developing countries in a coordinated manner to maintain the development already achieved over the past decades.”
Pointing out that the inaugural leaders’ summit was held in response to the 2008 global financial crisis, King Salman said: “The outcomes achieved are ample proof that the G20 is the most prominent forum for international cooperation and for tackling global crises. Today, we are working together again to face another, deeper global crisis, that has ravaged people and economies.”
Looking to the future, King Salman said: “The G20 is promoting access to opportunities for all, especially women and youth, and building a future that protects our land, our oceans, our natural resources. The leaders of the G20 came together to give hope, to agree on a way forward that ensures we protect the people and build a better future.”
The opening virtual ceremony saw a number of heads of government and heads of state deliver short speeches wishing the summit all success.
Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, praised Saudi Arabia’s Neom city, which he said represents “a greener future” for the world, “If we were in Saudi Arabia today,” he said, “we may have visited the exciting new city of Neom, whose origins I was able to inspect a couple of years ago, built on the sands of fossil fuels but powered by green hydrogen, under an enviable climate and an enviably reliable sun to provide inexhaustible solar energy.”
He added: “That future will only be possible if the world’s leading economies drive forward more ambitious action, more quickly to prevent further catastrophic climate change.”
Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s prime minister, said the summit is a unique opportunity to establish a collective road map to work for “prosperity, sustainability, equality, and well-being, to work for the benefit of our economies but above all for the benefit of all citizens.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the responsibility and importance of the G20. “The decisions taken at the Riyadh summit will be decisive in not only alleviating the negative impact of the pandemic, but also in meeting the expectations from the G20,” he said.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said that ever since the outset of the coronavirus crisis, the leaders had emphasized the importance of taking care of people’s health and of the economy at the same time. “Time has proven us right,” he said. “We must uphold our firm commitment to work toward economic growth, the freedom of our peoples and the prosperity of the world at large.”
Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister, said the Riyadh summit will reflect the G20 forum’s commitment to rapidly recover from the crisis, and to find solutions for the major challenges currently facing humanity.
We must stand united in the use of opportunities offered by this crisis to create a new, better normal,” he said. “Italy, as the upcoming 2021 presidency, is determined to build upon the outcomes of the Riyadh summit and to continue promoting the important action of the G20.”
Dr. Nasser Al-Dawood, undersecretary of the Saudi Ministry of Interior
Updated 7 min 51 sec ago
Dr. Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood has been the undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior at the rank of minister since 2018.
On Saturday, Al-Dawood handed out prizes to 20 winners of the Absherthon incubator challenge which aims to encourage creativity and enhance the ministry’s e-services.
He joined the faculty of Shariah at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University and gained a bachelor’s degree in 1976-1977. He became a lecturer in the university’s faculty of social sciences in 1978.
Al-Dawood then went to the US and obtained a master’s degree and doctorate in education curriculum and teaching methods from the University of Northern Colorado.
After gaining his doctorate, he served as an assistant professor in the department of education at the faculty of social sciences at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in 1983.
The following year, he became an associate professor in the department of education and was dean of the university’s faculty of social sciences in 1988.
Al-Dawood became director general of education in Riyadh in December 1991, serving in the role until August 1993.
He has been undersecretary of Riyadh since 2005 and was appointed as undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior in June 2018 while serving as a member of the Shoura Council.
King Salman issued a royal decree to appoint Al-Dawood as an adviser to the royal court.
He was also given the job of overseeing the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Kingdom’s founding, in the position of a secretary-general to the acting committee.
Al-Dawood has taken part in a number of conferences and events inside and outside of Saudi Arabia and has had research and study papers published in a range of scientific journals.