The coronavirus pandemic has been an unprecedented shock for the world in an extraordinary year, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said during his G20 Riyadh Summit opening remarks, which he delivered virtually on Saturday evening.
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“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented shock that affected the entire world within a short period of time, causing global economic and social losses,” King Salman said, adding, “Our peoples and economies are still suffering from this shock. However, we will do our best to overcome this crisis through international cooperation.”
He emphasized the need for cooperation and to “give a strong message of hope and reassurance to our people through adopting policies to mitigate this crisis.”
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also said that despite the world being optimistic about the progress made toward the development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests, “we must work to create affordable and equitable access to these tools for all.”
To mitigate challenges brought on by the pandemic, G20 countries have provided emergency support to developing countries, including the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative for low-income countries, the King added.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud opened the #G20RiyadhSummit with a speech on delivering significant results that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world. https://t.co/rFMTxMAx2S pic.twitter.com/vP0ndWXrsg— G20 Saudi Arabia (@g20org) November 21, 2020
He also called for reopening borders and economies in order to continue supporting the global economy.
The G20 countries will work to overcome the coronavirus crisis through “international cooperation,” according to Saudi Arabia’s King.
This year’s G20 summit is not just addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, but also aims to build a sustainable future.
King Salman said G20 countries must lead the international community in preserving and conserving the environment.
“We also need to create the conditions for a more sustainable economy,” he said. “We have advocated the Circular Carbon Economy as an effective approach for achieving our climate goals and ensuring cleaner, more sustainable, and affordable energy systems. We advocate the need to combat land degradation and conserve coral reefs and biodiversity to send a strong signal about our commitment to safeguard our planet,” the King added.
King Salman pointed out that the G20 leaders first met 12 years ago in a response to the financial crisis.
“The outcomes achieved are ample proof that the G20 is the most prominent forum for international cooperation and for tackling global crises,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman concluded his speech by saying he is confident that the G20 Leaders’ Summit this year “will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world.”
The summit is usually held in person, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year it will instead take the form of online sessions on pressing global issues, ranging from climate change to growing inequality.
Discussions are expected to be dominated by the pandemic's implications and steps for reviving the global economy.
Saudi Arabia is the first Arab nation to host a G20 summit.