Tuesday 26 January 2021 - 6:28:07 am

Global health, climate change and education to top UAE's agenda at G-20 Summit

ABU DHABI, 19th November, 2020 (WAM) -- Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and UAE Sherpa, has underlined the priority issues that the UAE will champion during its engagement at the G-20 Summit -- which include global health, quality education and the environment.

In a press briefing held virtually on Thursday ahead of the UAE's participation in the 2020 G20 Riyadh Summit being held between November 21st-22nd, the Minister said the UAE is "honoured and humbled by the invitation, given that we only join seven other guest country invitees for this year’s summit."

This would be the second time the UAE had been asked to join at the invitation of Saudi Arabia, following its attendance in 2011 at the invitation of France.

Al Sayegh said that the UAE, since the beginning of the year, has worked closely with bilateral and regional partners to identify priority issues during its engagement at the Summit -- issues that matter to the UAE, the GCC, and to many smaller countries who are often not represented at fora like the G-20.

"In light of this, we identified a number of priority areas, including: the Global Health Agenda; Sustainability and Climate Change; Food and Water Security; Quality Education; and Financial Inclusion," he added.

He continued, "We have taken the opportunity of being part of the G-20 process to highlight some of the UAE’s critical perspectives, including emphasising the importance of global coordination and multilateralism; supporting efforts to ensure equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments; championing inclusive access to quality education; highlighting the need to support developing and least developed countries; stressing the importance of women’s empowerment; calling for more ambitious climate targets; underlining the importance of food and water security; and referencing a post-COVID-19 recovery that will be sustainable and inclusive."

The Minister added, "We have been happy to see that our views are aligned with many G-20 countries on a number of these important topics.

"Moreover, this process has given us an opportunity to better appreciate the global challenges that the international community is facing and how the UAE could support the international community to address these issues."

Moreover, Al Sayegh noted that the Saudi Presidency has set itself a very ambitious agenda before the start of the year. "The onset of COVID-19, and the need to coordinate a global response, only lent more importance to the G-20 forum as the year progressed.

"And now, having spent significant time coordinating with my G-20 counterparts and recognising their tireless commitment to finding consensus, I honestly cannot think of another forum more suited than the G-20 to illustrate our ability to come together and address shared challenges.

"From our side, we have found participation in the G-20 process extremely valuable, in terms of knowledge and experience sharing, as well as strengthening bilateral relationships."

The Minister said he is looking forward to the Leaders’ Statement, "which will set a bold blueprint for future action on many of our common challenges, as well as for a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive post-COVID recovery. We must seize the opportunity presented by this crisis to build back better."

"We recognise that this year’s Leaders’ Declaration is a starting point. As such, we are eager to work with our G-20 counterparts over the coming years. As host of Dubai Expo 2020, with its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, the UAE is especially well placed to support the global agenda and the critical work of the G-20 moving forward," the Minister concluded.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Esraa Ismail