Collaborative approach of G20 key to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic: Saudi minister

Collaborative approach of G20 key to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic: Saudi minister
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A roundtable discussion moderated by Noor Nugali, Arab news Assistant Editor-in-Chief, Adel Al-Jubair Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State, about the how the G20 can reconnect the world. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
Collaborative approach of G20 key to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic: Saudi minister
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A roundtable discussion moderated by Noor Nugali, Arab news Assistant Editor-in-Chief, Adel Al-Jubair Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State, about the how the G20 can reconnect the world. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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Updated 21 November 2020

Collaborative approach of G20 key to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic: Saudi minister

Collaborative approach of G20 key to overcoming COVID-19 pandemic: Saudi minister
  • Adel Al-Jubeir said nations had rallied together with a village-like mentality to combat the virus outbreak

RIYADH: Joint efforts by the G20 to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had proved that through collaboration the world could overcome the health crisis, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs said on Friday.

Speaking at the International Media Center for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Riyadh, Adel Al-Jubeir pointed out that nations had rallied together with a village-like mentality to combat the virus outbreak.

He noted that the G20 had provided billions of dollars to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19, and added: “The lessons learned from this are that by working together, we can develop a vaccine faster and more effectively. We can develop protocols for how to deal with this pandemic.”

His comments came during a roundtable discussion — which was moderated by the minister alongside Arab News’ assistant editor-in-chief, Noor Nugali, and UAE minister of state, Reem Al-Hashimi — on how the G20 had reconnected the world.

Al-Jubeir said that the world had always been connected. “The only difference is that now we’re connected much more intensely and at a much greater speed, which means we have to perform at a much greater speed than we used to in the past.

“I see much more benefit from it than anything negative. And I see that when we can use technology and use our different backgrounds, we just enrich our global culture that much,” he added.

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Al-Hashimi said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown how much nations depended on each other.

“The global challenges are not going to be solved by one nation no matter how strong. And any fragility in one part of the world is going to have a ripple effect everywhere else,” she added.

Al-Jubeir said the G20 had showcased to the world how Saudi Arabia was empowering its youth and women and making significant reforms through its Vision 2030 plan. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had curtailed some aspects of the Kingdom’s presidency year.

We want to make our government more efficient … to empower our youth and our women so that the future generations can realize their hopes, their dreams, and their ambitions.

Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of state for foreign affairs

“It (the pandemic) prevented most of the meetings from happening physically. And it would have been nice to have thousands of people come to Saudi Arabia, walk the streets, meet Saudi men and women, see the changes that have happened in the country, feel the changes that are happening in the country, but … we will be able to do that as time goes by,” he added.

Al-Hashimi said: “It’s been phenomenal. I think that the challenge that 2020 has brought was very well-handled by the Kingdom that was able to bring everybody together in such difficult and extraordinary circumstances.

“Nobody wants a conference for the sake of a conference. And here you see that the Kingdom has taken a very robust and rigorous approach in really trying to bring together the things that matter to everybody else.

“I mean, when the theme is realizing opportunities of the 21st century for all, it talks about unlocking that potential,” she added.

On Saudi Arabia playing a more vocal and visual role in international organizations, Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom had a huge interest in the world and in the stability of the region.

“We want to make our government more efficient … to empower our youth and our women so that the future generations can realize their hopes, their dreams, and their ambitions.

“So, to do this, we need stability in the region. We don’t need conflict. We have a series of conflicts around us, and to stabilize them, we need to work with the international community.

“So of course, our role will continue to be strong when it comes to dealing with the international community and dealing with international organizations,” he added.


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.