Saudi Arabia’s global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic
“Our utmost current priority is overcoming the pandemic and its health, social and economic impact.”
King Salman at the L20 Summit, Sept. 8, 2020
Global cooperation is the key to fighting COVID19, and to reflect on the issue I would like to go back to the G20 Leaders’ extraordinary summit, called by the Saudi Presidency on March 26 this year. It was followed by a strong statement in which the leaders committed to working closely together to fight the pandemic: “We will overcome this. We will protect human life, restore global economic stability, and lay out solid foundations for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.”
The leaders’ statement expressed the determination of the G20 leaders to spare no effort in protecting lives, safeguarding people’s jobs and incomes, restoring confidence, preserving financial stability, reviving growth, minimizing disruption to trade and global supply chains, providing help to all countries in need of assistance and coordinating public health and financial measures.
With the aim of enhancing global cooperation Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud called for an extraordinary meeting of G20 foreign ministers, along with international organizations and guest countries, on Strengthening Global Cooperation Across Borders. The meeting offered an opportunity to share countries’ and organizations’ practices and perspectives. To quote Prince Faisal’s remarks from the meeting, which took place on Sept. 3: “We are one world and we are one community, and we must work together to support each other through this crisis.”
On Sept. 8, the L20 Labour Summit opened with a speech by King Salman, delivered on his behalf by Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Eng. Ahmed bin Sulaiman Alrajhi. The speech reaffirmed how overcoming the pandemic and its impact are of the utmost priority: “Our efforts in the G20 this year are focused on several key areas, the most important of which is international collaboration in developing vaccines for COVID-19, ensuring equitable and fair access to vaccines for everyone while taking into account the needs of low income countries, and drawing on the lessons learned from this pandemic to ensure a better future in the face of health and economical challenges.”
“We are one world and we are one community, and we must work together to support each other through this crisis.”
Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud
On Sept. 12, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a united response to COVID-19, as put forward by Saudi Arabia in accordance with the G20 Leaders’ extraordinary virtual summit.
It welcomed the outcome of leaders’ summit, stressed the constant need for international cooperation, now more than ever, and encouraged multilateral efforts to address this issue, in terms of health, the economy, development and humanitarian aid. The resolution emphasized that global collaboration is essential to ensure that the adverse social, economic, humanitarian and financial impacts of COVID-19 are addressed in a timely and non-discriminatory manner.
International coordination and cooperation will guide the world towards finding solutions to this crisis. Optimism and hope will support our steps to walk into a better future, which will be our everyday safe present.
- Sara Al-Assiri is first secretary at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs