Saudi Arabia and G20: The need for reforms in global financial institutions
Reforms in global financial institutions are necessary for the worldwide economy. As per the recent report of the World Trade Organization (WTO), G20 economies imposed 20 new trade-restrictive measures last year. These restrictions amount to tens of billions of dollars which even affect G20 countries. These restrictions could affect Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, as the project will be the key factor in the Kingdom’s trade relations in the coming years.
Saudi Arabia is the 21st largest exporter of products in the world, and a significant trading partner with G20 nations as well. In his speech at the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasized the reforms in international economic and financial institutions, especially the WTO. It can be observed that global liberal economic institutes like the WTO and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are not playing an effective role in resolving the economic problems of the digital economy, or ending the trade war between the US and China.
Based on its recommendations in Osaka to introduce reforms in the WTO, Saudi Arabia can exploit the summit to introduce reforms in global financial institutes.
The need for addressing socio-environmental issues at the G20 Summit:
The G20 Summit is a global forum primarily committed to economic cooperation between 19 states and the EU. The modern economy is not just related to the economy of the world, but also to socio-economic and environmental issues. Realizing that vital fact, the crown prince focused on women’s empowerment, youth empowerment, climate change, ecological degradation, limiting carbon emissions and sustainable development in his speech in Osaka.
With the production of 12.49 million barrels of oil per day, Saudi Arabia was the second-largest oil-producing country in 2018. That puts a significant responsibility on the Kingdom to participate in mitigation and adaptation strategies to offset the adverse outcomes of climate change, especially in Third World countries.
Saudi Arabia is facing severe environmental issues, like desertification and air pollution. Another environmental issue that the world is facing is the presence of plastic in the ocean produced by anthropogenic sources. Every day, around 8 million metric tons of plastic is thrown into oceans, threatening marine life. Saudi Arabia must introduce Japan’s Marine Initiative, called “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision,” to Vision 2030 to attain ocean sustainability. The initiative aims to enhance capacity-building of developing countries for waste management, to achieve the goal of having no additional plastic waste in the ocean by 2050. Introducing this agenda at the G20 Summit will improve Saudi Arabia’s environmentalism.
Dr. Yahya Al-Zahrani is an expert on international affairs and security. He has an extensive academic and professional background, combining global experience in strategy and international relations.