G20: A timeline of events since Saudi Arabia assumed the presidency

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December 1, 2019: Saudi Arabia assumes the G20 presidency, leading up to the Leaders’ Summit to be held in Riyadh November 21-22, 2020. The Kingdom will guide the work of the G20 under the theme of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All,” with a focus on three aims, empowering people by creating the conditions in which all people – especially women and youth – can live, work, and thrive; safeguarding the planet by fostering collective efforts to protect our global commons; and shaping new frontiers by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share benefits of innovation and technological advancement.

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January 27, 2020: The G20’s Women 20 (W20) kick-off meeting takes place to officially launch the first session of the annual national dialogs on women’s issues. The W20 is one of eight engagement groups established by the G20 to discuss financial and socioeconomic challenges. Central to these meetings is the 25 by 25 goal in which G20 countries have committed to in order to reduce the gender gap in labor participation by 25 percent by 2025.

February 5, 2020: Representatives of city mayors from the powerful G20 group of leading world economies meet in Riyadh for the Urban20 (U20) delegation’s first meeting of the year to discuss some of the major challenges facing urban communities.

February 22, 2020: Riyadh hosts the inaugural G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meeting to discuss the global economic outlook and possible policy responses to support growth and safeguard against risks.

March 26, 2020: The G20 members hold an emergency virtual summit, maintaining social distancing amid COVID-19, to plan a coordinated global response against the pandemic. Chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the leaders commit to sharing epidemiological and health data, strengthening health systems globally, and expanding the manufacturing capacity of medical supplies, and pledges over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy.

April 21-24, 2020: A host of extraordinary meetings – convening agriculture ministers, employment ministers, tourism ministers, digital economy ministers and an emergency meeting of the Trade and Investment Working Group – are held to discuss measures taken to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 1, 2020: G20 dialog on AI: The S20 Digital Revolution Task Force Lead, Dr. Tareq Al-Naffouri, addressed the G20 leaders with a speech regarding the uses for, and challenges associated with artificial intelligence in the COVID-19 pandemic response.

June 25, 2020: A meeting on the Riyadh Initiative on the future of WTO: This program – a far-reaching platform for WTO reform – grew out of the meetings of trade ministers of the G20 countries all year under the Saudi presidency.The initiative seeks to resolve key areas of disagreement between WTO members on crucial issues such as the recognition of “developing country” status with all the special treatment that brings, state subsidies to industry, and the use of the consensus principle in reaching decisions on the organization’s affairs.

September 3, 2020: The Extraordinary G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is staged. Discussions center on strengthening international cooperation across borders in the wake of COVID-19 and the exchange of national experiences and lessons learned from the cross-border management measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

September 7, 2020: The Labor 20 engagement group launches its Saudi L20 Summit, under the title New Social Contract for Recovery and Resilience. Held in Riyadh in accordance with COVID-19 safety measures, and streamed online, participants deliberated on some of the most prominent challenges that were brought out by COVID-19. Panelists discussed the ongoing dynamic reforms of the Saudi labor market and explored the role of reskilling and regulations in building a workforce that is ready for the future, while also ensuring the inclusion of women and youth in the workforce.

September 13, 2020: G20 agriculture and water ministers meet to address agricultural trade, food security, water management, and recovery from COVID-19.

September 25, 2020: The Science Group Summit (S20) brings together several scientific organizations from the G20 countries with a focus on future health, a circular economy, and the digital revolution.

September 30 - October 2, 2020: Global experts – mayors, civic leaders, and urban planners among others – come together in the U20, the urban track of the G20 leaders’ organization. The diverse agenda addresses climate action, social consolidation and integration, and sustainable economic growth toward prosperous communities.

October 6, 2020: The C20 “virtual” summit – led by the civil society engagement group for the G20 countries – begins, with more than 20,000 participants from 109 countries. The C20 submits recommendations on COVID-19 response and recovery, economic and social justice, and the wellbeing of people and our planet.

October 7, 2020: Hosted by the G20 Saudi Secretariat, The Saudi Space Commission meets with its counterparts from the other G20 countries in the first-ever Space Economy Leader Meeting 20 to address present and future space enterprise.

October 13, 2020: The five-day G20 Interfaith Forum (Interfaith 7) begins. The forum – attended by 500 religious leaders, experts in various fields, and representatives of humanitarian organizations, global institutions, and policymakers – is live-streamed from Riyadh and seeks to support efforts of individuals and religious figures to help them bring about a change in policymaking to promote peace and the culture of dialog and tolerance.

October 15, 2020: The three-day Y20 Youth Summit 2020 begins where global leaders of young people from more than 23 countries are present. Y20 participants call upon the G20 countries to take action in three overarching priority areas: future preparedness, youth empowerment, and global citizenship.

October 20-22, 2020: The virtual Women 20 (W20) meeting is hosted by Saudi Arabia as part of its G20 presidency, with participants stressing the importance of ensuring inclusivity across the G20’s different working groups, the promotion of women’s economic development, financial and digital inclusion, employment, and entrepreneurship.

October 26, 2020: Saudi Arabia opens the two-day G20 Business 20 (B20) Summit. The virtual event, in Riyadh, highlights the accomplishments of the G20’s private sector and discusses 25 policy recommendations arising from several issues, including women in business, digitalization, trade, finance, infrastructure, energy and sustainability, in the wake of COVID-19.

October 21 - November 1, 2020: In the Think 20 (T20) Summit global academic leaders and experts make a number of recommendations on evidence-based solutions that promote multilateralism, international cooperation, the digital economy, sustainable energy, and the impact of COVID-19 on workers.

November 18, 2020: A two-day global healthcare forum – Sustainable Production in the Health Sector Global Forum – begins in Riyadh on the sidelines of the G20 Saudi Presidency under the theme “Recovering Better after COVID-19 with Sustainable Production and Procurement of Health Commodities” to explore post-pandemic recovery.

November 21-22, 2020: The 2020 G20 Leaders’ Summit is to be held virtually and will be chaired by the Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. It aims to build on the success of the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit held in March, and on the outcomes of over 100 virtual working groups and ministerial meetings.

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