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Opening Statement

Thu 19/11/2020

Thank you all very much for joining this discussion today. 

I’m very glad to have this opportunity to brief you on the United Arab Emirates’ engagement in this year’s G-20 Process, in my capacity as the UAE Sherpa and especially in the lead up to the Leaders’ Summit, which will take place in two days’ time. 

As you know, the UAE was invited by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend this year’s G-20 Summit, in the UAE’s capacity as Chair of the GCC. 

And we were very honored and humbled by the invitation, given that we only join seven other guest country invitees for this year’s summit. 

This is only the second time the UAE is attending the summit, following our attendance in 2011 at the invitation of France. I can only marvel at the expansion of the G-20’s work between 2011 and today. Since then, we have seen the G-20 evolve into the major forum to discuss global economic and emerging issues. In 2011, there were in effect only three Working Groups under the Sherpa Track. This year, there are around fourteen.  

The Saudi Presidency 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 recognizing 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. From the beginning of the year, we worked closely with our bilateral and regional partners to identify priority issues that the UAE would champion during its engagement at the G-20 – 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.  

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

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. 

I am very much 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 recognize 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.

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