2020 G20 Riyadh summit

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2020 G20 Riyadh summit
G20 Saudi Arabia 2020 Official Logo.png
Host countrySaudi Arabia
Date21–22 November 2020
MottoRealizing Opportunities of the 21st Century For All
CitiesRiyadh (host), virtual
ParticipantsG20 members
Follows2019 G20 Osaka summit
Precedes2021 G20 Rome summit

The 2020 G20 Riyadh summit was the fifteenth meeting of Group of Twenty (G20).[1] It was scheduled to take place in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, on 21–22 November 2020.[2] However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was held virtually.[3]

Participating leaders[edit]

Invited guests[edit]



The G20 Riyadh Summit was chaired by the Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz.[5]

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia assumed the G20 Presidency in December 2019, leading up to the Leaders’ Summit to be held in Riyadh on 21–22 November 2020. The Kingdom would guide the work of the G20 under the theme of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All” and would officially focus on three aims:[6]

  • Empowering People by creating the conditions in which all people – especially women and youth – can live, work and thrive.
  • Safeguarding the Planet: by fostering collective efforts to protect our global commons.
  • Shaping New Frontiers: by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share benefits of innovation and technological advancement.

Saudi Arabia released a 20 riyal commemorative banknote to mark the G20 presidency.[7]

First Sherpa meeting[edit]

The meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Fahad Almubarak, the Saudi Sherpa, who elaborated: “The G20 has a responsibility to the world to overcome current and emerging issues, to tackle global challenges together, and to make the world a better place for all."[8]

Sideline events[edit]

In the sideline of the summit, Saudi Arabia will be organizing preparatory ministerial meetings as well as other meetings of high governmental officials and representatives from the private sector and non-governmental organizations.[5]

Emergency meeting[edit]

On 26 March 2020, the G20 members held an emergency summit via video conference, maintaining social distancing amid COVID-19, in order to plan a coordinated global response against the COVID-19 pandemic. Chaired by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who presided the 2020 summit, the meeting aimed at finding ways to tackle the economic implications of the virus on global economy, with people losing their jobs and incomes due to lockdowns and curfews imposed globally.[9]

Human rights organization Amnesty International expressed disappointment at the exclusion of human rights-compliant action plans in the emergency summit. A series of demands such as moving towards a zero-carbon economy, guaranteeing access of information to all, and fully integrated gender perspective plans, were made by Amnesty. In addition, the NGO also demanded the release of pre-trial detainees, where possible, and prisoners of conscience such as Saudi Arabia’s Raif Badawi, Loujain al-Hathloul, and Samar Badawi, to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus in prison populations owing to their low immunity.[10]

Historical background[edit]

Saudi Arabia's first participation in the G20 meetings was in 2008 Washington summit. By then and as the world suffered from a global crisis, Saudi Arabia was the tenth largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and the second largest oil reserves. Initially, the Saudi entrance to the G20 was due to its economic importance as an effective pricing force in the energy market.[5]


On 7 October 2020, the European Parliament released a resolution denouncing the human rights violations of Saudi Arabia. The resolution passed by Member of the European Parliament (MEPs) published highlighting the Kingdom's brutal treatment of the Ethiopian migrants, who were abandoned by the Houthis in Yemen and later detained by Saudi authorities. The MEPs also criticized the country for keeping women's and other human rights defenders in detention, and urged the European Union members to downgrade their diplomatic and institutional representation at the Riyadh G20 Summit.[11]

Under the Group of Twenty (G20) Riyadh summit, Saudi Arabia planned on hosting the B20 event, for which it was criticized by human rights groups and pro-democracy activists over the treatment of women in the country. Activists urged diplomats, politicians and blue chip companies like HSBC, MasterCard and PepsiCo., to boycott the business event and said Saudi Arabia's real change-makers are behind bars, continuously facing abuse in prison cells, including electric shocks, flogging and sexual assault.[12]

The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab, received calls in November 2020 to boycott the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia because of the Kingdom's atrocious human rights record and recent attempts of driving the Bedouin tribe from their land to make way for its upcoming futuristic megacity project, Neom.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Saudi Arabia to host G20 summit in 2020". The National. 8 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Saudi Arabia hosts the 15th G20 Leaders' Summit in 2020". spa.gov.sa. 17 April 2019.
  3. ^ "All-virtual G20 summit opens with Saudi Arabia as host". Associated Press. 21 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020 – via CBS News.
  4. ^ "G20 2020 Saudi Arabia". G20 2020 Saudi Arabia. Archived from the original on 10 October 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "The history of Saudi participation in the G20 summits". english.alarabiya.net. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Presidency Agenda". g20.org. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  7. ^ "New 20 Saudi riyal banknote launched by Saudi Arabia to mark G20 presidency". Archived from the original on 1 November 2020.
  8. ^ "First G20 Sherpa Meeting" (PDF). g20.org (Press release). G20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  9. ^ "G20 to hold emergency video summit to discuss coronavirus". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  10. ^ "G20: AFTER VIRTUAL SUMMIT, ACTION PLANS MUST BE HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLIANT" (PDF). Amnesty International. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  11. ^ "European Parliament resolution on the situation of Ethiopian migrants in detention centres in Saudi Arabia". European Parliament. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Saudi G20 event slammed over kingdom's treatment of women". NBC News. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Dominic Raab urged to boycott G20 over Saudi Arabia's bid to evict Bedouin tribe from homeland". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2020.

External links[edit]