UAE highlights the need to balance economy and health at virtual G-20 Sherpa meeting

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh Image
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At the Second Extraordinary G-20 Sherpa Meeting, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and UAE Sherpa emphasized the difficulties countries continue to face from COVID-19.

The UAE attended the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit, to be held in November 2020 at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as a guest invitee. The meeting was held virtually. The Sherpa Meeting brought together official representatives from G-20 member countries to review plans for the Summit, as well as to include a description of progress on COVID-19 combat.

The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States) and the European Union.

Al Sayegh thanked the Saudi Presidency for its tremendous leadership that has paved the way towards a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, he reflected on the change since the last Sherpa Meeting in March as countries are now working progressively to ease measures. He said that the countries are now working with a view to promote job creation and restore growth all while keeping the health of the citizens a priority.

Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts is a genuinely global problem that needs a strong global response. He highlighted the importance of the G-20 focusing on the effect of COVID-19 on developing and less developed countries and welcomed proposals for a G-20 Emergency Response and Recovery Plan COVID-19 in African and Low Income and Emerging Countries. He also extended support, on behalf of the UAE, to the G-20 initiative of Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

Earlier, it was declared that the debt service repayments would be suspended for qualifying countries in 2020 by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). The UAE has also played a constructive role in supporting countries by providing more than 1,100 metric tons of aid to 89 countries in support of more than one million health workers to deal with the pandemic.

Al Sayeg stressed that the recent successful launch of ‘Hope’ by the UAE, the first ever Arab-led probe to Mars. He described it as “a truly international collaborative exercise, with UAE scientists working closely with counterparts from many other countries to prepare the probe for launch and beyond.”

He told Sherpas that “when we work for the common good, we can accomplish great things” and that the “UAE believes in the value of a powerful message of unity that will emerge from the Leaders ‘ Summit to be held in November.