Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, head of the task force of the G20 Support for Sustainable Development Goals and Development Cooperation, said that three recommendations would be submitted to the G20 summit, including restructuring the financial system to support sustainable development and maximize its economic impact while adopting comprehensive health care by making use of modern technologies to reduce costs and raise operating efficiency.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the virtual meeting of the Think 20 engagement group, which discusses strategic visions to support development within the activities of the G20 summit, currently chaired by Saudi Arabia, Suwailem said the recommendations would include restructuring the financial system to support the sustainable development goals and maximize their economic and social impacts, with an emphasis on the importance of health care as a global social good.
He also pointed to the need to adopt comprehensive health care for all members of society and to use modern technologies to reduce costs and raise operating efficiency.
The recommendations also include, according to Suwailem, the implementation of moral, social, and faith values to support programs of action aimed at achieving the sustainable development goals.
In this regard, he highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the overall development in the world and the percentage of losses it has caused, indicating that international estimates show that economic losses reached around 6.5 percent of total global output.
“If the global economy was estimated in 2019 at about $90 trillion, then this means that the loss is estimated at $5 trillion,” he said.
However, Suwailem warned against greater long-term losses due to two main reasons: first, the poor distribution of wealth that threatens to raise poverty rates to much higher levels; and second, the surge of government debt around the world due to the consequences of the global financial crisis in 2008.
Asked about the impact of the measures taken by the Saudi government to curb the negative effects of the Coronavirus disease on development projects, he said: “The Saudi government has been quick to contain the epidemic crisis by taking efficient measures that have surpassed those adopted in a number of developed countries.”
According to Suwailem, the G20 Support Team for Sustainable Development Goals and Development Cooperation will focus on setting implementation and monitoring strategies to ensure the achievement of the sustainable development goals, in addition to strengthening the G20 strategies for development cooperation with the least developed countries.
The team’s priorities include supporting regional development initiatives to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth, increasing G20 support for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, addressing challenges emerging from the platform economy, universal health coverage, as well as making urban areas appropriate and sustainable for all.