Saudi presidency focuses on global long-term issues beyond the pandemic

Saudi presidency focuses on global long-term issues beyond the pandemic
King Salman explained the concept of the circular carbon economy, which aims to reduce, reuse, recycle and remove carbon from industrial processes and energy production. (Photo/Social media)
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Updated 23 November 2020

Saudi presidency focuses on global long-term issues beyond the pandemic

Saudi presidency focuses on global long-term issues beyond the pandemic
  • Summit addresses major issues such as the future of education and climate change

RIYADH: The second day of the G20 summit focused on education and safeguarding the planet — issues critical to humanity — which could easily have been forgotten in the middle of a health and economic crisis.

However, the Saudi presidency ensured that the G20 looked beyond the immediate economic and health challenges, true to the theme of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.”
Day 1 had focused on the G20 ensuring access to coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines for all and access to finance for the poorest nations. This included supporting the ACT accelerator and GAVI as well as a quest for strengthening multilateral efforts, and the WHO went toward the first.
The debt service suspension initiative had 73 countries which qualified for it, and 46 of these have so far availed themselves of this. These are some of the most pressing issues the world faces, because COVID-19 has thrown the global economy into a recession not seen since the Second World World. The fiscal and monetary stimulus packages totaling $11 trillion so far would not have been possible without the coordination efforts of the G20, which has had to focus on the economic necessities of the time.




The summit focused on education and safeguarding the planet. (Photo/Basheer Saleh)

However, it was crucial that the G20 addressed other issues defining the future of humanity. To that end, Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh gave a briefing on the future of educational continuity in times of crisis, during which he highlighted the importance of education during the pandemic and lockdowns.
Al-Sheikh explained the Saudi model, in which the curriculum went online using a learning management system. He admitted that reliable online education, while a big opportunity for the future of education, may not be that easy to achieve for poorer countries and poorer segments of the population. Nonetheless, he praised the educational groups within the G20 for focusing on the future of education for the whole world. Education proves once more that cooperation at the G20 is vital during and after the pandemic.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The G20 highlighted once more the importance of multilateralism and working together.

• The $11 trillion worth of stimulus fiscal and monetary stimulus packages also necessitated close cooperation at the G20 level.

• The collaboration on the ACT accelerator and GAVI would not have been possible to that degree without the G20.

• The focus on education is important to GCC, the whole Arab world, and many developing countries.

• Climate change and the environment are especially important to a major energy producer like Saudi Arabia.

If there ever was one issue requiring global cooperation and which is taking us well into the 22nd century, it is the environment and climate change. It was the big global topic before the pandemic struck and was somewhat on the backburner after that.
The side event, “Safeguarding the Planet — the Circular Carbon Economy Approach,” was important in that context: King Salman was joined on the virtual stage by leaders from the world’s most populous countries, as well as Japan, Australia, the US and Italy, which holds next year’s G20 presidency.
The king stressed that it was critical to safeguard the planet and that “we must create the conditions conducive of robust, inclusive, balanced and sustainable economies.” He explained the concept of the circular carbon economy, which aims to reduce, reuse, recycle and remove carbon from industrial processes and energy production.
The leaders may have their own views on how to safeguard the planet, however they needed to work together to do so. In the words of China’s President Xi Jinping they needed to “work together for a clean and beautiful world.” The final communique endorsed the circular carbon economy.

What it means for the world
The G20 highlighted once more the importance of multilateralism and working together. There is no way that the multilateral lending agencies could have achieved the debt service suspension initiative without the support of the global heavyweights of the G20.
The $11 trillion worth of stimulus fiscal and monetary stimulus packages also necessitated close cooperation at the G20 level.
The collaboration on the ACT accelerator and GAVI would also not have been possible to that degree without the G20. This holds especially true with regard to future support and funding of the WHO.
It is to the credit of the Saudi presidency that it did not let its theme of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All” be derailed by the pandemic, which could have happened all too easily. Instead, the G20 addressed other major issues such as the future of education and climate change.

What it means for GCC
It was important for the Arab world that one of their own, Saudi Arabia, the only Arab member of the G20 and one of only three Muslim majority countries in the club of the world’s most powerful nations, hosted the summit. In the words of King Salman: “Due to its unique stature regionally and internationally, and its unique location which interconnects three continents and lies at the intersection of emerging and developed markets, the Kingdom will continue to play a key role within the G20 to achieve global cooperation and find solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”
The focus on education is important to GCC, the whole Arab world, and many developing countries, because they have huge and growing young populations. If education cannot be provided on a sustained basis, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the world risks losing a generation.
Climate change and the environment are the defining global issues. They are especially important to a major energy producer such as Saudi Arabia, which has to address the conundrum of uninterrupted energy supplies to the world to ensure economic stability while safeguarding the planet. To that end, it was important that the Kingdom could present its approach on the circular carbon economy.
It was a testament to the G20 presidency of Saudi Arabia that the leaders’ declaration was unanimously accepted, which is never a given at these gatherings.


Saudi Arabian Military Industries signs deals at IDEX

Saudi Arabian Military Industries signs deals at IDEX
Updated 27 February 2021

Saudi Arabian Military Industries signs deals at IDEX

Saudi Arabian Military Industries signs deals at IDEX
  • SAMI also agreed to be a strategic partner of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI in next year’s IDEX

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) signed several cooperation agreements with international companies and government authorities during the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) this week.

SAMI, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), aims to enhance the Kingdom’s defense capabilities and localize its military industry as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

“We are pleased to achieve outstanding success through our participation in IDEX 2021,” Walid bin Abdulmajeed Abu Khaled, CEO of SAMI, said.

“This will lead us to new achievements and make Saudi Arabia one of the leading manufacturers of military systems in the world.”

SAMI signed a joint venture agreement with the US firm Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest military defense company. The venture will develop capabilities in manufacturing software technologies, along with the production, maintenance, and repair of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

SAMI also signed a cooperation agreement with Nimr, which is part of the Abu Dhabi-based EDGE Technology Group. The deal will allow both companies to work together on armored military and security vehicles. It also marks the first collaboration in the field of military industries between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) also signed an agreement with SAMI to be a strategic partner in next year’s IDEX.

During the five-day exhibition, GAMI Gov. Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ohali visited the Saudi pavilion along with Saudi Ambassador to the UAE Turki bin Abdullah Al-Dakhil.

The pavilion also welcomed Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s deputy prime minister.

 

 

 

 


US not aiming ‘to rupture relationship’ with Kingdom: Politico

King Salman and US President Joe Biden recently discussed strengthening partnership during phone call. (Reuters/File Photo)
King Salman and US President Joe Biden recently discussed strengthening partnership during phone call. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 27 February 2021

US not aiming ‘to rupture relationship’ with Kingdom: Politico

King Salman and US President Joe Biden recently discussed strengthening partnership during phone call. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Saudis show wide support at home for MBS, describe CIA report as speculative

RIYADH: US President Joe Biden and his administration may be seeking a recalibration of its relationship with Saudi Arabia, but is adamant not to rupture the relationship with the Kingdom, a senior US official said.

Speaking to Politico, the official said that there are “important interests” the US shares with Saudi Arabia. The administration views the Kingdom as an important partner in the Middle East, and it has promised to keep supporting the country as it defends itself against attacks blamed on Iran.

The official’s comments came after a classified CIA report was released on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, who was killed by a group of rogue Saudi agents in Istanbul in 2018.

Despite a lot of hype that preceded the release of the report, many observers have described it as too analytical and lacking evidence.

“No smoking gun,” CNN’s International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson said.

Israeli journalist and commentator Barak Ravid wrote on Twitter: “US intelligence report on Khashoggi, which is 100% analysis and 0% information, raises real concerns about the quality of access US intelligence agencies have in Saudi Arabia.”

Meanwhile, in the Kingdom, Saudis took to social media to show support for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who underwent a successful surgical procedure on Wednesday morning to treat appendicitis.

Saudi journalist Abdulrahman Al-Rashed tweeted there was nothing new in the declassified CIA report. He described those who were betting on Biden to damage the relationship with Saudi Arabia as “ignorant of how the world operates.”

Saudi columnist Salman Al-Dossari tweeted that the Biden administration should be praised for publishing the CIA report, saying that the findings support Saudi court rulings.

Last September, Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution announced the final sentences for the eight people convicted of the Khashoggi murder.

Five of them received 20-year jail sentences for their involvement in the killing. Another was sentenced to 10 years while two others received seven years. Commenting on the verdict, the Khashoggi family called the judgment “fair and dissuasive.”


Saudi envoy meets UN Women’s executive in New York

Saudi envoy meets UN Women’s executive in New York
They also discussed ways to enhance cooperation in various fields. (SPA)
Updated 27 February 2021

Saudi envoy meets UN Women’s executive in New York

Saudi envoy meets UN Women’s executive in New York
  • Al-Mouallimi virtually met the newly-appointed permanent representative of Mozambique to the UN, Pedro Comissario Afonso

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, held a virtual meeting with Asa Regner the assistant secretary-general of the UN and deputy executive director of UN Women.

The two sides reviewed the latest preparations for the upcoming session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), in which the Kingdom will take part.

They also discussed a number of topics of common interest, and ways to enhance cooperation in various fields.

Al-Mouallimi also virtually met the newly-appointed permanent representative of Mozambique to the UN, Pedro Comissario Afonso.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed topics of common interest and ways to enhance cooperation in various fields.

Both meetings were attended by the director of Al-Mouallimi’s bureau, Faisal Al-Haqbani, and the head of public relations and information of the delegation, Taful Al-Aqbi.

 


Who’s Who: Ziyad Al-Shiha, new CEO of Saudi Investment Recycling Co. 

Who’s Who: Ziyad Al-Shiha, new CEO of Saudi Investment Recycling Co. 
Updated 27 February 2021

Who’s Who: Ziyad Al-Shiha, new CEO of Saudi Investment Recycling Co. 

Who’s Who: Ziyad Al-Shiha, new CEO of Saudi Investment Recycling Co. 

Ziyad Al-Shiha has been appointed CEO of the Saudi Investment Recycling Co. (SIRC).

SIRC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, the National Waste Management Center and the municipality of the Eastern Province recently signed an agreement to start integrated waste management and waste recycling activities in the province.

Al-Shiha has been a board member of the National Petrochemical Company, a Saudi joint-stock company, since 2019, and was deputy chair of the Business 20 (B20) Trade and Investment Taskforce.

He was president and CEO of the Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) from 2014 to 2018 and, prior to that, was a SEC board member from 2012 to 2013.

Al-Shiha has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, a master’s degree in engineering and control systems from Rice University, and a second master’s in executive business administration from MIT.

He had a number of positions at Saudi Aramco after joining the company in 1984. He was an electrical engineer and vice president of general planning in one of the international joint ventures in the Philippines. He was also a public relations manager at Aramco, the director of facilities planning, and the executive director of power systems.

Al-Shiha has participated in several leadership training programs, including MIT’s Sloan Fellowship Program.


Saudi universities opening coronavirus vaccine centers

Saudi universities opening coronavirus vaccine centers
Universities used human and technical capabilities in university hospitals and health centers to support state institutions. (SPA)
Updated 27 February 2021

Saudi universities opening coronavirus vaccine centers

Saudi universities opening coronavirus vaccine centers
  • The Kingdom is ranked first in the Arab world, 12th among G20 countries, and 14th at the global level in publishing scientific research on coronavirus

RIYADH: Several Saudi universities have begun preparing coronavirus vaccination centers for use by faculty, their families, citizens and residents.

Vaccines will be given to people according to priority and age group, and as per the approved electronic systems.

The move comes as part of the Ministry of Education’s efforts under the guidance of Education Minister Hamad Al-Asheikh to join national efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The launch of vaccination centers in universities emphasizes their role in serving the community. It is is also part of a long series of joint programs between Saudi government bodies.

As per the directives of Al-Asheikh, universities have prepared emergency plans since February last year to fight the pandemic. These include programs, events and community activities that raise awareness of the threat of coronavirus.

Universities also used human and technical capabilities in university hospitals and health centers to support state institutions, and allocated buildings for isolation and quarantine.

Saudi institutions also encouraged faculty members and researchers in universities to present scientific studies, research, and innovations to aid the global fight against the pandemic.

The Kingdom is ranked first in the Arab world, 12th among G20 countries, and 14th at the global level in publishing scientific research on coronavirus.

In addition, Saudi universities have organized conferences, forums, scientific seminars and workshops. The events were part of the success of clinical trials for the production of a Saudi vaccine by the scientific team at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University.

Vaccination centers are being prepared at King Saud University, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, Majmaah University, Bisha University, Umm Al-Qura University, Taif University, Hail University, Jazan University, the University of Hafr Al-Batin, and others.

Specialized administrative workers will organize medical teams to ensure the smooth flow of vaccines at the new centers.