G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world

G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world
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Media watches Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz's virtual speech live at the media centre during an opening session of the 15th annual G20 Leaders' Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21, 2020. (REUTERS)
G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world
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King Salman in Riyadh presides over the G20 Summit on Saturday, virtually attended by world leaders because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (SPA)
G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world
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In this handout image provided by Saudi Royal Palace, King Salman gives his opening remarks at a virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP)
G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world
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King Salman said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia was pleased with the meeting of the leaders of the G20 countries, stressing that the G20 had demonstrated its ability to join efforts against COVID-19. (G20)
G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world
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King Salman said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia was pleased with the meeting of the leaders of the G20 countries, stressing that the G20 had demonstrated its ability to join efforts against COVID-19. (G20)
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King Salman gives his opening remarks at a virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 22 November 2020

G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world

G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in the post-COVID world
  • King Salman says member countries must work toward equitable access to coronavirus vaccines
  • Adds that economies and borders must be reopened to facilitate the movement of trade and people

RIYADH/LONDON: G20 leaders must work toward fair and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines, King Salman said during his opening remarks at the G20 summit in Riyadh on Saturday.

“Although we are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics tools for COVID-19, we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples,” he said, opening the unprecedented meeting held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“It is unfortunate that we are unable to host you in person in Riyadh, due to the exceptional circumstances that we are all facing this year,” King Salman told G20 leaders.

“Our peoples and economies are still suffering from this shock. However, we will do our best to overcome this crisis through international cooperation,” the king said. 

King Salman gives his opening remarks at a virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Nov. 21, 2020. (Royal Palace photo via AP)

Together, King Salman said, people can protect their lives and livelihoods while shaping a better world.

The G20 leaders are holding a two-day virtual meeting via video-conference due to the pandemic, under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, which holds the rotating presidency of the G20 until the end of November.

The pandemic, which will throw the global economy into a deep recession this year before an economic rebound expected in 2021, is at the top of the agenda.

The king noted that the 20 largest global economies had so far contributed $21 billion to confronting COVID-19 and “took extraordinary measures to support our economies by injecting over $11 trillion to support individuals and businesses.”

Environmental protection

G20 countries should provide support to developing countries to maintain development progress, the king said.

The role of women and youth in society and the labor market must be strengthened, he added.

King Salman added that G20 countries must lead the international community in conserving and protecting the environment, combating land degradation and preserving coral reefs. 

He added that G20 countries have adopted the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO which aims to make the multilateral trading system more capable of facing any challenges.

Economies and borders must be reopened to facilitate the movement of trade and people, the king said. 

The Kingdom launched the summit with an aerial display of passenger and aerobatic planes over Riyadh and on Friday, a virtual “family photo” of G20 heads of state was displayed on the walls of the historic Salwa Palace in Diriyah at a cultural dinner for journalists, guests and envoys. 

Individual photos of the G20 leaders were joined together with King Salman at the center.

“I am confident that the Riyadh Summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world,” King Salman said at the end of his speech. 

Earlier on Saturday, King Salman said that Saudi Arabia was pleased with the meeting of the leaders of the G20 countries, stressing that the G20 had demonstrated its ability to join efforts against COVID-19.

“The group demonstrated its strength and ability to cooperate in order to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the world,” he tweeted.

It’s everyone’s responsibility “to move towards to a better, healthier and prosperous future for all,” King Salman added.

 

Dealing with COVID-19

G20 leaders are concerned that the pandemic might further deepen global divisions between the rich and the poor.

“We need to avoid at all costs a scenario of a two-speed world where only the richer can protect themselves against the virus and restart normal lives,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the summit.

To do that, the EU urged G20 leaders to quickly put more money into a global project for vaccines, tests and therapeutics called Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

“At the G20 Summit I called for $4.5 billion to be invested in ACT Accelerator by the end of 2020, for procurement & delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines everywhere,” European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter. “We need to show global solidarity.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin offered to provide Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and said Moscow was also preparing a second and third vaccine.

China, where the pandemic originated a year ago, also offered to cooperate on vaccines. 

“China is willing to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the research and development, production, and distribution of vaccines,” Xi told the G20 Summit.

“We will ... offer help and support to other developing countries, and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens of all countries can use and can afford,” he said.

 


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.