RIYADH: After successfully completing the G20 summit in Riyadh on Sunday, Italy took over the forum’s annual rotating presidency from Saudi Arabia during the ceremonial ceremony.
The two-day summit, the 15th forum meeting, brings together economic leaders who account for about 85 percent of global gross domestic product to discuss the most challenging socio-economic issues.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman officially handed over the presidency of the G20 to Italy, which will chair next year’s summit of leaders.
Delivering a short speech to mark the occasion, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the decision had been taken that the focus of the world’s premier forum for economic cooperation would continue to be “people, planet and prosperity.”
He told fellow G20 leaders on the summit’s closing day: “To achieve a safe and sustainable world, we must first restore the balance between people and nature. On this basis, we will then support economic recovery, advance women’s empowerment, and tackle poverty and inequality, both new and old, so that nothing is left behind. “
The G20 will “facilitate the energy transition and combat climate change, take advantage of the great opportunities that come from digitization and enhance the multilateral trading system, based on the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and inclusiveness, to adopt a multilateral approach that is correct and efficient,” he added.
Conte underlined the importance of joint efforts towards a better future. “The target will only be achieved if we work together, unite as a global community with intentions, cooperation and solidarity,” he said.
“If there are very clear lessons that we have learned in recent months, no country can win the global challenge alone. This pandemic clearly shows that we cannot do it alone, ”he added.
“In today’s world, which is so intertwined and interdependent, multilateralism is not one of many options – it is the only viable option.”
Conte said he was confident that Italy could count on the support of all G20 member states during his presidency, which will culminate in the 2021 G20 Leaders Summit on October 30-31 in his country.
The G20 presidency rotates among member countries. Each presidency usually concludes with the G20 Leaders Summit, a powerful gathering of heads of state which debuted in 2008. Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to take on the role in December 2019.
The normal G20 calendar was changed due to restrictions imposed across forum memberships in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Leaders and ministers have held virtual meetings since March to coordinate the international response to the crisis and put the global economy on a recovery path.
In his closing remarks at the end of the summit in Riyadh, King Salman said the G20 countries had succeeded in sending a message of hope and assurance to their citizens and the global community.
Referring to the latest statement, he said: “It is my honor to announce that the G20 members have adopted this communique. This is what the world expects of us. Today’s achievements are the culmination of our joint efforts throughout this challenging year. “
He added: “Our collective and individual action will be critical in addressing the immediate global challenges we face. Going forward, through empowering people, safeguarding the planet and shaping new frontiers, we will work to lay the groundwork for achieving the central theme of our presidency: Realizing the opportunities of the 21st century for all. “
King Salman said the G20 countries have upheld their commitment to work together to face the pandemic and to protect lives and livelihoods.
“We have adopted important policies that will achieve recovery towards a resilient, sustainable, inclusive and balanced economy,” he added.
“This policy will also maintain momentum for the global trade system to work for all, and create the conditions for achieving sustainable growth.”
King Salman said that although this is the first time Saudi Arabia has held the presidency, it is able to “answer the challenges” amid the pandemic with the support of member states.
“Due to its unique stature regionally and internationally, connecting three continents and located at the crossroads of emerging and developing markets, the Kingdom will continue to play a key role in the G20 to achieve global cooperation and find solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” he added.
The summit’s final statement said: “We, the leaders of the G20, are meeting for the second time under the Saudi presidency, united in our belief that coordinated global action, solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more needed now than ever to overcome current challenges and. realizing the opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, protecting the planet and shaping new frontiers. “
G20 leaders also vowed to “make no effort” to ensure fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs worldwide.
“We are taking immediate and extraordinary action to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated health, social and economic impacts, including through the implementation of unprecedented fiscal, monetary and financial stability measures,” the statement said.
“We recognize the role of extensive immunization as a global public good. We laud the Saudi presidency for initiating discussions on the need for long-term solutions to address gaps in global pandemic preparedness and response. “
Along with tackling the pandemic, the statement calls for protecting the planet and continuing to act against climate change.
“Preventing environmental degradation, conserving, using sustainably and restoring biodiversity, conserving our oceans, promoting clean air and clean water, responding to natural disasters and extreme weather events, and addressing climate change are among the most pressing challenges of our time,” the statement said. the said.
During the leadership of Saudi Arabia in the G20, there were 170 meetings involving the ministers of finance, trade and investment, health, education, energy, climate, anti-corruption, agriculture, environment, employment, tourism, digital economy, water and foreign affairs.
In addition, civil society and business groups are represented by eight engagement groups: Business 20, Youth 20, Workforce 20, Think 20, Civil 20, Women 20, Science 20, and Urban 20.
They held eight summits and issued eight final statements with the aim of bringing the views of civil society and the private sector to the table for policymaking.