2020 G20 Riyadh summit
|2020 G20 Riyadh summit|
|Host country||Saudi Arabia|
|Date||21–22 November 2020|
|Cities||Riyadh (host), virtual|
|Follows||2019 G20 Osaka summit|
|Precedes||2021 G20 Rome summit|
The 2020 G20 Riyadh summit was the fifteenth meeting of Group of Twenty (G20). It was scheduled to take place in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, on 21–22 November 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was held virtually.
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 will guide the work of the G20 under the theme of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All” and will focus on three aims:
- 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.
- Commemorative: Saudi Arabia released a 20 riyal commemorative banknote to mark G20 presidency .
First Sherpa meeting
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."
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.
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 is presiding the G20 Summit for 2020, 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 across globe.
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, 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 prison population and the potential spread of coronavirus owing to their low immunity.
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. This G20 summit will also be the last for United States President Donald Trump as he is expected to hand power to Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.
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.
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.
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.
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