Abu Dhabi: Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and UAE Sherpa, has underlined the challenges countries continue to face from COVID-19, during the Second Extraordinary G-20 Sherpa Meeting on Friday.
The UAE attended in its capacity as a guest invitee at the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit, which will take place in November 2020 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Today's meeting was conducted virtually. The Sherpa Meeting gathered official representatives of G-20 member countries to discuss preparations for the Summit, and also to provide a stock-take of progress on combatting COVID-19.
Al Sayegh conveyed his "gratitude to the Saudi Presidency for its tremendous leadership in paving the way towards a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic", and reflected on the change since the last Sherpa Meeting in March, where countries are now working progressively to ease measures "with a view to restore growth and promote job creation, all while protecting the health of our citizens."
As a truly global challenge, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts requires a strong global response. Al Sayegh said that with less than five months left before the Riyadh Summit, the G20 Sherpas had a pivotal role in taking stock of the progress and continuing to formulate key messages for the Leaders' Summit Declaration in November.
He continued to emphasise the importance of the G-20 focusing on COVID-19's impact on developing and least-developed countries, and welcomed plans for a G-20 Emergency COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan in African and Low Income and Developing Countries, as well as the G-20's endorsement of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) had announced that it would suspend debt service repayments during 2020 for eligible countries. The UAE has also played a constructive role in supporting countries in dealing with COVID-19, through the provision of over 1,100 metric tons of aid to 89 countries in support of over a million health professionals.
Al Sayegh emphasised that the UAE's recent successful launch of Hope', the first-ever Arab-led probe to Mars was "truly an exercise in international collaboration, with UAE scientists working closely with counterparts from many other countries to prepare the probe for launch and beyond."
He reminded Sherpas that "we can achieve great things when we collaborate for the common good" and that the "UAE believes in the importance of a strong message of unity emerging out of the Leaders' Summit in November.
"During the run-up to the Leaders' Summit in November, G-20 Members and invited countries have already participated in more than 13 Ministerial meetings, 45 Working Group meetings and 29 side events. In addition, the first-ever G20 Leaders' Virtual Summit took place on 26 March, and committed to take decisive actions on the economy, health, trade, and investment. In December 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invited the UAE, in its capacity as current Chair of the GCC, to engage in the 2020 G-20 process. This Second Extraordinary Sherpa Meeting followed the First Extraordinary Sherpa Meeting, which took place on 25 March 2020. Established in 1999, the G-20 Summit is an annual gathering of representatives of the world's largest economies that works to strengthen international economic cooperation. This year's theme under Saudi Arabia's G-20 presidency is "Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All", with the broad aims of "Empowering People, Safeguarding the Planet, and Shaping New Frontiers."