Saudi G20 women’s group rep calls for ‘gender-equitable’ COVID-19 recovery

Saudi G20 women’s group rep calls for ‘gender-equitable’ COVID-19 recovery
Speaking to media ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Riyadh, Women 20 (W20) sherpa Salma Al-Rashid called for a “more equitable approach” to post-pandemic recovery. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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Updated 19 November 2020

Saudi G20 women’s group rep calls for ‘gender-equitable’ COVID-19 recovery

Saudi G20 women’s group rep calls for ‘gender-equitable’ COVID-19 recovery
  • Al-Rashid pointed out that it was important to recognize the “gendered” impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Al-Rashid said there was a lack of female participation in government initiatives to address COVID-19

DUBAI: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has highlighted and possibly deepened existing gender inequalities, Saudi Arabia’s representative to the official G20 engagement group on women has claimed.

Speaking to media ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Riyadh, Women 20 (W20) sherpa Salma Al-Rashid called for a “more equitable approach” to post-pandemic recovery.

“We need to highlight how critical the full and equitable participation of women is for sustainable and faster socio-economic recovery, as we rebuild our economies in the post-COVID-19 era,” she said.

Al-Rashid pointed out that it was important to recognize the “gendered” impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that women had faced unique challenges ever since the virus outbreak.

The prominent Saudi social worker said that the global health crisis had provided an opportunity for G20 leaders “to reset economies through a more inclusive approach.”

She noted that the W20’s main function was to ensure gender considerations were inserted into G20 negotiations, particularly on issues such as labor and employment, political representation, and digital inclusion.

Al-Rashid said there was a lack of female participation in government initiatives to address COVID-19.

“Women’s voices were largely missing, despite the fact that women constitute the majority of frontline health and social workers and continue to bear a greater burden of unpaid care work within their families and communities,” she added.

One of the W20’s key recommendations, which was written through a communique to be shared with G20 leaders, was to ensure a balanced growth by supporting women empowerment as the world navigates the impact of the pandemic.

Women should be represented at all levels of decision-making in the private and public sectors, Al-Rashid said, adding that fiscal planning should be “gender-responsive.”

There should also be increased investment on social infrastructures for women, she said, as well as income protection mechanisms for female workers in the developing world.

The Saudi sherpa recognized the difficulty of creating recommendations because of the severe impact of COVID-19 on women, but she said the group remained agile in championing gender equality.


Saudi mayor honors British expat for 27 years of beach cleaning

Updated 04 December 2020

Saudi mayor honors British expat for 27 years of beach cleaning

Saudi mayor honors British expat for 27 years of beach cleaning
  • Expat Neil Walker has been cleaning the beaches in the area for 27 years
  • He has spotted a lot of debris left behind by other bathers

RIYADH: It was a visit to a Saudi beach that prompted a British expat to spend his day off cleaning the area – he continued his efforts for 27 years – now Neil Walker is being rewarded for his efforts.

The Brit had gone to a beach south of Half Moon Bay in Alkhobar when he discovered a vast amount of debris that was both washed up by the sea, or left behind by other visitors and decided to clean the area.

Now, after more than a quarter of a century, as Walker prepares to return home to Britain, he has been rewarded for his environmental work by the mayor of the Easter province, Fahd Al-Jubair.

Neil Walker — who  is returning to the UK after more than a quarter-century in Saudi Arabia — ‘is deeply humbled to be recognized for his cleanup drive’. (Supplied)

“For the last 27 years I have been visiting a stretch of beach in that area on my day off to spend the day on a potentially lovely beach looking out on the glorious Arabian Gulf,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it was marred by litter and manmade rubbish, either brought in by the tides or dumped by previous visitors. So I took it upon myself to clean the beach before settling down and then in the late afternoon to extend my cleaning activities to either side of my camping spot.”

The diverse ecosystem of the Arabian Gulf supports a range of coastal and marine life, including mangroves, sea grass, coral reefs – as well as a variety of creatures including dolphins, turtles and a rich variety of fish.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Eastern Province Mayor Fahd Al-Jubair presented Neil Walker with his certificate.
  • The mayor thanked Walker for his service to the Kingdom’s environment.
  • Walker is returning to the UK after more than a quarter-century in Saudi Arabia.
  • Eastern Province municipality has previously recognized the efforts of 200 Filipinos over the years for helping to clean the beaches and to promote awareness among other residents.
  • It has launched a number of initiatives intended to involve the public in keeping public areas free of waste.

The rapid industrialization of the area has introduced many environmental challenges that require human intervention, the fishing industry has also caused problems with discarded nets and traps that wild life get trapped in..

There have been numerous global campaigns encouraging people to pick up litter on beaches to help preserve the environment, ranging from arranged group clean ups to something as simple as encouraging each visitor to beaches to pick up three pieces of rubbish and place them in the bins provided.

Neil Walker has inspired creative environmental initiatives in Alkhobar. (Supplied)

“Although I have seen a slight improvement, a lot still needs to be done and hopefully the publicity I have received will be of value to this end,” Walker said.

“As I see it, the problem is that the majority of the public are unaware and are used to having other people cleaning up for them, they automatically think that it is somebody else’s responsibility. This needs to change,” Walker said, adding that he was deeply humbled and honored to be recognized for his limited contribution in cleaning up the beaches.

“A few years ago, I assume there was a change in management in the municipality, resulting in a new logo and cleaning crew, which has led to a greatly improved street cleaning and public area routine and the introduction of many waste bins, which are now being used by the public,” he continued.

Neil Walker has inspired creative environmental initiatives in Alkhobar. (Supplied)

Eastern Province Mayor Fahd Al-Jubair presented Walker — who is returning to the UK after more than a quarter-century in Saudi Arabia — with his certificate and thanked him for his service to the Kingdom’s environment.

“We hope this message gets across to residents of the Eastern Province. We are keen to honor all efforts to protect the environment and to recognize creative initiatives aimed at preserving the environment whether from Saudi nationals or expatriate residents,” Al-Jubair told Arab News, urging all members of the public to work together to protect the environment.

Eastern Province municipality has previously recognized the efforts of 200 Filipinos over the years for helping to clean the beaches and to promote awareness among other residents.

Like several other municipalities nationwide, it has launched a number of initiatives intended to involve the public in keeping public areas free of waste in order to better preserve the environment.