Engagement Groups allow G20 to hear voices of billions: Executive Director Al-Frayan

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Engagement Groups such as Women 20 and Youth 20 allow the G20 to hear the voices of billions, said G20 Saudi Secretariat Executive Director Reem al-Frayan in a talk on Friday.

“The Engagement Groups are independent entitites that reflect and bring the voices of the civil society, billions of people from the civil society and the private sector,” said al-Frayan, speaking at the G20 media briefing “From an Idea to Reality.”

Read more: At a glance: G20 Engagement Groups and their roles

Al-Frayan highlighted the influence of a newly standardized process for Engagement Groups to coordinate with the G20 leaders.

“This process of giving access and providing to the Engagement Groups did not exist. The way the engagement groups did it, they communicated with the working groups and tried their best to find places,” she explained, adding that this year was the first time there had been a designated cooperation officer to help provide access to the groups.

The new process had enabled Engagement Groups to participate in over 140 events and interact with the G20 around 200 times, she said.

The G20 had also welcomed various unofficial engagement groups including Interfaith 20, Values 20, and Girls 20.

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The eight official G20 Engagement Groups:

• The Business 20 (B20), which represents the international business community and focused on inclusive growth.

• The Youth 20 (Y20), which represents youth from over 23 countries, calling on G20 countries to take action in youth empowerment, global citizenship and future preparedness.

• The Labor 20 (L20), which represents labor unions from G20 countries, who submitted recommendations in social protection and labor market policies.

• The Think 20 (T20), which represents the academic community, who submitted recommendations on multilateralism, international cooperation, the digital economy, among others.

• The Civil 20 (C20), which submitted recommendations on COVID-19 response and recovery, economic and social justice, and the wellbeing of people and our planet.

• The Women 20 (W20), which discussed gender equality as a key driver of sustainable and inclusive growth.

• The Science 20 (S20), which represents the scientific community.

• The Urban 20 (U20), which represents city mayors from around the globe that provide the urban perspective.

Salman al-Rashed, the Women 20 Sherpa. (Twitter)
Salman al-Rashed, the Women 20 Sherpa. (Twitter)

Read more: Meet Salma al-Rashed: Saudi Arabia’s Women 20 Sherpa

Engagement linked to Vision 2030

Al-Frayan linked the Riyadh summit's engagement to the Kingdom's ambitious Vision 2030 reform plan.

“A vibrant society is a pillar in our Vision 2030, this is how our leadership would like to see Saudi Arabia: empowered people, empowered women, empowered youth. The G20 was an excellent way to accelerate the process,” she said.

“I’ve seen an amazing contribution by an important part of policymaking, those billions of people around the G20 presidency,” added al-Frayan.

Saudi Arabia holds the 2020 presidency of the G20, which rotates among members, and will be hosting the G20 summit across Saturday November 21 and Sunday November 22.

Due to the coronavirus, this year’s Riyadh summit is being held virtually, with leaders and ministers attending via webcam.

Read more: Saudi Arabia will be ‘one of the first’ to procure coronavirus vaccine: KSRelief head

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