Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – With the whole world experiencing a swift digital transformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia, as the G20 host, shoulders the responsibility to help the world move forward by swiftly adopting new health protocols and setting an example, Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel stated.
“Saudi Arabia did not let the pandemic become an unfortunate moment. The G20 swiftly adopted new health protocols, and an online mechanism was prepared for the upcoming summit in November,” he said in an interview with Arab News.
“The extraordinary summit in March ran well online, showing how well Saudi Arabia handled the G20’s meetings during the pandemic. I hope that we can learn from the Saudi presidency for handling the G20 in 2023,” the ambassador remarked.
He pointed out that the G20 was born out of crisis back in 1999, and was again challenged in 2008-2009 by the global financial crisis.
“That crisis came alongside the European sovereign debt crisis, and several eurozone members were unable to repay or refinance their government debt. World GDP growth had fallen from 4.3 percent in 2007 to 1.8 percent in 2008, and then continued to minus 1.6 percent in 2009,” Agus Maftuh explained.
According to him, the G20 has played an essential role in enabling international cooperation, and taken responsibility for global leadership in times of crisis.
“World GDP growth in 2010 successfully returned to 4.3 percent, with an average level of 2-3 percent in the next several years,” he noted, adding that COVID-19 has had a more adverse impact on activity in 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be slower than previously predicted.
“It is important to collaborate to ensure universal and equitable access to vaccines. It is important to work together to safeguard the global economy and avoid global depression. It is important to send a strong message that global recovery after the pandemic must be aligned with the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals to create more inclusive and sustainable growth,” the ambassador stressed.
He continued that the G20 Summit in Riyadh would face major issues and high expectations, especially in areas devastated by COVID-19.
“G20 members face many common and pressing challenges, even more now with COVID-19. Consequently, the theme brought by Saudi Arabia, ‘Realizing opportunities of the 21st century for all’, is relevant with the situation today. This is the time when countries share their collective efforts and responsibilities to address those challenges together, to make sure no one is left behind,” Agus Maftuh said.
He underscored that empowering people needed good decisions, and that the pandemic had reversed decades of progress on closing the gender gap in the labor market.
It was important to put this issue in every aspect of new policy, he said.
Reporting by Indonesia Window