Saudi Arabia has adopted two new initiatives aimed at protecting the environment during its presidency of the G20 amid the coronavirus pandemic, announced Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Jadaan on Saturday.
While the COVID-19 pandemic had caused significant disruption across the world, it had also created an opportunity to transition to more sustainable economic, social, and environmental systems, said al-Jadaan in his video address to The High-Level Political Forum 2020, a United Nations forum dedicated to sustainable development.
Al-Jadaan then announced two initiatives that “will significantly affect the preservation of the environment and sustainability of natural resources.”
The first initiative is aimed at slowing desertification in the Kingdom, while the second “utilizes the carbon circular economy,” he said.
Al-Jadaan added that the Kingdom has joined the framework agreement of the 122-member International Solar Alliance, a group of countries that lie close to the Earth’s equator dedicated to working on improving solar energy globally.
The High-Level Political Forum is the main UN platform for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.
This year’s forum’s them was: “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development."
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Saudi Arabia’s response to coronavirus
Al-Jadaan also addressed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, both globally and on the Kingdom.
“If there is only a single lesson to be learned from this crisis, it would be our need for cooperation and concerted international efforts to find effective solutions,” he said, pointing to the Kingdom’s leading role in G20 as working toward constructive dialogue and collaboration on sustainable development goals.
Al-Jadaan also praised the Kingdom’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Kingdom prioritized the health and safety of citizens and residents alike, implementing precautionary and preventive health measures in accordance with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques guidance to take all necessary measures to confront this pandemic and limit its impact,” he said.
Al-Jadaan, who as the Kingdom’s finance minister has made a series of key announcements on spending programs and cuts in response to the pandemic, added that the Kingdom had reviewed and redirected spending to the health sector and other affected sectors.
He explained that the Kingdom had adopted a series of initiatives directed at supporting the private sector and injecting liquidity into the economy.
“In addition, Saudi Arabia was able to adapt to the rapid changes by harnessing the digital and technological means to provide primary services including virtual learning, e-government services and remote working,” he added.