Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said Sunday that in light of the coronavirus outbreak, cooperation among G20 countries has been important more than ever.
“In light of the outbreak of COVID-19 and its health, economic, and social repercussions, our cooperation has been important more than ever. Together we have addressed this challenge with seriousness necessitated by the responsibility to preserve human life, protect livelihoods, mitigate the ensuing damage of this pandemic, and raise readiness to face any future crises,” the Crown Prince said in a speech at the end of the G20 Leaders Summit.
“This pandemic knows no borders. It has reached all countries and affected, directly and indirectly, every person living on this planet, which has necessitated the activation of the pivotal role played by the G20. To this end, the G20 leaders met twice during one presidency, a precedent since the foundation of the G20,” he added.
The G20’s priorities this year included addressing the healthcare, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, he said in his speech. “We also took all necessary measures to protect lives and livelihoods and support the most vulnerable groups.”
This was done by immediately providing the necessary resources to those at the frontline of the battle against the COVID-19 disease and taking extraordinary measures to support the economies of the G20 and their peoples, as part of this year’s G20 Action Plan.
Other measures included providing emergency support to the most vulnerable countries in the world, where the coronavirus risks jeopardizing development, said the Crown Prince.
“Our strength lies in our unity. This is exactly what the G20 was created for – to bring countries from every continent together to address collectively the greatest challenges of the day and implement joint and effective solutions.”
“We must draw lessons from this crisis. To ensure that, the Saudi G20 Presidency proposed an initiative to enhance access to pandemic tools. This initiative works to achieve three goals: Promote R&D, and distribution of diagnostic tools, therapeutics, and vaccines for all infectious diseases; encourage and facilitate international funding for global pandemic preparedness; and support the training of epidemiologists from all over the world.”
He said that the G20 members agreed on a number of vital initiatives that will act as a foundation for global recovery.
“We have launched the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO to provide necessary support for WTO reforms, under WTO’s own umbrella,” he stated.
They also continued their efforts to empower women and youth through quality education and financial inclusion.
“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,” he said.
The Crown Prince also mentioned the G20 Initiative to reduce land degradation and preserve coral reefs, and collective efforts to ensure that everyone on earth has access to safely managed freshwater while addressing the key challenge of ensuring food security for everyone.
He said Saudi Arabia will continue to support the international efforts related to providing equitable and affordable COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines for all, once they become available.