KSA ‘continues to lead with vision’ to mitigate impact of pandemic

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Princess Maha bint Mishari bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, fourth from right, says it is her role to work alongside international experts on migration who bring a wealth of research to help formulate policy. (Social media)
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HRH Princess Maha Bint Mishari Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the lead co-chair of the Migration and Young Societies Task Force of T20. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 August 2020

KSA ‘continues to lead with vision’ to mitigate impact of pandemic

  • Migrants and youth remain the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak

RIYADH: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has sent policymakers scrambling to mitigate its impact, especially on the most vulnerable segments of society such as migrants and the youth.

As a lead co-chair of the Migration and Young Societies Task Force of Think20 (T20 — the research and policy advice network of the G20), Princess Maha bint Mishari bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud said they recognize these segments face a great challenge.
“It is my role to work alongside some of the world’s most renowned international experts on migration who bring to us a wealth of research to help us formulate policy based on evidence,” Princess Maha told Arab News.
“Saudi Arabia continues to lead with heart, vision and grace during these unprecedented times using a virtual platform to bring together dedicated professionals and trailblazing members of our community engaging all G20 leaders,” she said.
Princess Maha’s job as co-chair is to head panel discussions and present recommendations to the 11 T20 Task Forces.
“For example, we have identified that it is possible to mitigate short and long-term consequences of the pandemic on migrant and young communities. Italy and Sweden illustrated this by considering new residency and work permit initiatives for immigrants.”

Our researchers have provided evidence-supported research on the social, political, and economic impacts of migrants.

Princess Maha Al-Saud

Princess Maha said that their recommendations for G20 look at “fiscal sustainability in the face of demographic change” where they suggest raising productivity through human capital investment; financial inclusion for the internally displaced using displacement data to support financial inclusion policy; and how to solve global burden-sharing problems through a new suggested G20 protocol on forced migration.
Princess Maha said that the lack of attention on the more vulnerable populations was the reason why the T20 group called for multi-stakeholder approaches to find solutions to the current crisis and to focus on keeping the education of these groups at the top of the agenda.
“We believe that it is necessary to find solutions to mitigate the effects of the dropout from education and the lack of basic services such as nutritional and mental health support resulting from school closures.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The T20 task force is working on several issues such as fiscal sustainability in the face of demographic change, financial inclusion of the internally displaced people.

• The think tank also calls for comprehensive virtual consultative services for refugees.

• It urges the integration of migrants and opening education channels for the migrant youth population.

“Stakeholders from different sectors realize that education is not only about providing opportunities for professional growth and increasing family incomes, but also has more important societal consequences where education can contribute to lifting societies out of poverty. Girls’ and women’s access to education is directly related to a decrease in both child mortality and child labor. Despite the documented benefits of education, financing education for vulnerable populations does not match demand,” she said.
Princess Maha explained how much they had accomplished since the beginning of T20.
“To have reached where we are now is in itself an accomplishment at a time when the world is challenged by the impact of the global pandemic.”
“In January this year, we were fortunate enough to have met at the T20 Inception Conference in Riyadh as a task force — as a think tank, but most evidently as a community of committed professionals that share the same vision: To help shape the world as a better place,” she said.

Princess Maha said that they have explored macro and microeconomic  policies that address the problem of high youth unemployment and help to provide skills and opportunities for young people. They have also explored how to create innovative policies and programs that encourage intergenerational participation.
“It is well known that economic and demographic factors and the outbreak of regional conflicts have driven a large proportion of the world’s population to voluntary or forced migration, and that most of these migrations are from developing countries to the more advanced G20 countries, where migrants and refugees often face problems in social and economic integration.”
“In addition to this we discussed political options that might enable these migrants to achieve better social and economic integration, including providing access to basic services and education for migrant and refugee children,” she said
“Our researchers have provided evidence-supported research on the social, political, and economic impacts of migrants. Moreover, my team has sought a better understanding of the migration mechanisms and sought to benefit from success stories,” she said.
Princess Maha talked about the 500 experts from 65 research agencies who gathered for the T20 Inception Conference in January, and who have been seeking to develop solutions for the themes of the G20 Summit.
“We have discussed a set of fundamental issues that include climate, energy, migration, youth, innovation, technology, multilateralism, economic development, finance, food security and access to water.”
Princess Maha said that the Kingdom is ready to host the G20 meeting in November.
“This was evident in the three-day T20 conference in June organized by two major Saudi establishments, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Center (KAPSARC) and King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS).”
“Preparations for upcoming meetings are going well and we are looking forward to very informative sessions,” she said.


Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

Sultan Al-Zaidi (L) and Fahad Al-Jubeir.
Updated 21 September 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

  • Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents

JEDDAH: Alkhobar municipality, along with Europe’s largest industrial manufacturing company Siemens, has been hailed as a role model for management excellence and business continuity.
The municipality has been awarded international certification for its excellence in managing crises and risks under difficult circumstances, in recognition of its administrative achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quality Austria (QA) awarded Alkhobar Municipality and Siemens with ISO 22301 and ISO 9001 certificates, which are concerned with business continuity management, especially during the pandemic.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent and nongovernmental body. Its standards are internationally agreed by experts and are seen as the best way of doing something.
Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents.
Its mayor, Sultan bin Hamid Al-Zaidi, said that the municipality’s ISO achievement was in line with achieving the goals of the Eastern Province municipality. He added that the aim was to make Alkhobar a distinguished city, like other places in the province.
The Mayor of the Eastern Province, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Jubeir, said that municipalities were keen to implement the most advanced administrative systems and provide the best services to beneficiaries.
“This comes in line with the objectives of municipal transformation, part of the National Transformation Program 2020 of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan which states that the Kingdom, with its outputs and services, should provide an international role model of quality and mastery, and raise the level of services provided by services and economic development agencies and enterprises,” Al-Jubeir told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.

He added that the municipality had launched initiatives and programs seeking to make the Eastern Province and its governorates pioneers in administrative and service qualities, as well as improving public services.
According to QA’s regional manager, Dr. Mohamed Hassan, business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.
“These instructions are then transformed into applicable programs and strategies at the amana (provincial government) level,” he wrote in an article. “Since the Eastern Province is, in this respect, the leading province in the Kingdom, the guidelines are finalized in consultation with the EP’s mayor, Fahad Al-Jubeir.”
The article gave examples of Alkhobar’s strategic emergency plans and said it had made arrangements with companies such as Al-Yamama for the prevention of damage from flash floods or storms.
It added that other public contractors, such as Nabatat, ensured that green spaces and parks in the city remained relaxing destinations for people, even on exceptionally hot summer days.
“A successful example of service digitization is the Balady software, which makes all municipality services available to citizens online. Moreover, the Balagat software offers a service in which complaints and suggestions from citizens can be reported and followed up online,” the article said. “If a complaint is not solved within 24 hours, it is automatically forwarded to the mayor of the Eastern Province, Al-Jubeir.”
The ministry’s foresight in initiating plans and preparations, the online software systems used and the high-quality standards in the municipality all helped in increasing the effectiveness of the business continuity management system.