Leadership Talking Points in the U20 Summit

جهينة نيوز -Leadership Talking Points in the U20 Summit 
October 2, 2020

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,
Peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you,
First, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Urban 20  Engagement Group this year represented by the Chair 
H.E. Fahad bin Abdulmuhsen Alrasheed, Sherpa, participating members, and knowledge partners globally for working together under the G20 umbrella, which our capital city of Riyadh had the honor of chairing and hosting it, in the aim of highlighting the views of urban communities, especially as cities of the world are at the forefront of the COVID-19 outbreak challenges.    
Urban citizens represent today more than 50% of the world’s population. Recent statistics indicate that city populations are expected to grow to two-thirds of the world population by 2050. Accordingly, it is more important than ever to have cities’ representatives participate in international multilateral platforms; given that such platforms discuss a wide range of citizens needs on a daily basis, and have extensive knowledge of key challenges and opportunities related to multiple pressing global issues including infrastructure, smart cities, civil societies, energy, innovation, and many other areas related to urban society.
We have reviewed the Urban 20 communique that was issued prior to the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit last March, which called on the G20 Leaders to take urgent measures to support cities in containing COVID-19.
According to the commitments we have made as G20 Leaders in the Summit, we reaffirm that our primary and immediate priority is combating COVID-19 and its health, social, and economic impacts. 
Our efforts within the G20 remain focused on providing the suitable conditions for developing a vaccine for COVID-19, while ensuring fair and equitable access to it for everyone, taking into account the needs of the developing countries. Additionally, we are utilizing the lessons learned from this pandemic to ensure that future generations are prepared in face of future health and economic challenges. 
Protecting lives and safeguarding jobs and livelihoods are top priorities for us as G20 leaders. In this regard, the Saudi G20 Presidency has focused its efforts on tackling these challenges; bearing in mind the importance of Empowering People which is the first aim of the Saudi G20 Presidency agenda. At the same time, a core focus for us is developing policies to foster equal opportunities for all, especially vulnerable groups.     
In general, The Saudi G20 Presidency agenda has addressed several issues related to developing urban communities, such as: developing smart cities, infrastructure investments and regional integration, tourism as a driver for economic growth, trade and investment cooperation, and promoting environmental sustainability.   
These areas are of high importance to us in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as they are aligned with Vision 2030 and its urban development projects and programs, which include NEOM, the city of the future, through which we aim to improve the concept of modern cities, as well as the Red Sea Development project which aims to add a new undiscovered & unique destination to the global tourism map.  
Moving Forward, the G20 will focus on two key issues: the first is protecting lives and restoring growth by tackling and overcoming the pandemic, and the second is recovering stronger by addressing the vulnerabilities exposed during the pandemic and promoting long-term resilience. 
In the upcoming Leaders’ Summit, we will strive to achieve consensus-based solutions and initiatives for this year’s priorities, as well as advance the G20 role to create a unified international response to tackle the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19. 
Finally, we hoped to conduct a physical U20 summit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this year, but we look forward to your visit and meeting you face to face after the pandemic recedes. 
We wish you a successful summit and we look forward to your communique.
All the best 

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