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Saudi Arabia Calls for Achieving SDGs at G20 Summit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Arabia Minister of State Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf at the G20 summit in Hamburg, on July 7, 2017. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia welcomed the work accomplished during the German Presidency of the G-20 Leaders’ Summit within the framework of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, calling upon states to assume their responsibilities to ensure effective implementation, and to help developing and least developed countries achieve sustainable development goals and meet the many challenges they face.

The Kingdom also welcomed the launching of the G20 Charter Initiative with Africa and stressed the active role of African countries and regional and international financial organizations and institutions in implementation, noting that the Group’s commitment to partnership with Africa is a fundamental and pivotal support for sustainable development.

This came during a speech by the Minister of State Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf at the “Partnership with Africa, Migration and Health” meeting, which was discussed by G20 leaders today at their summit which ended in Hamburg, Germany.

“Saudi Arabia has a strong and old relationship with Africa in various economic and developmental aspects. In the 1970s, we established financial institutions either to finance development in Africa or to focus on Africa in particular, such as the Saudi Fund for Development, the Arab Bank for Development in Africa, And the OPEC Fund. A few days ago, the Kingdom announced that it would host a Saudi-African summit in Riyadh in the coming months.

On health issues, the minister stressed the Kingdom’s keenness on the role of the G20 and its cooperation in addressing global health risks and crises, urging states to increase international coordination of knowledge exchange and cooperation in research and development.

He also called on the United Nations to place global health and fight epidemics among its priorities, seek to strengthen health systems around the world and provide support for the pivotal role of the World Health Organization.

In his speech, Dr. Assaf emphasized the importance of international cooperation to bridge the digital divide, support small and medium enterprises, promote competition in the digital economy, stimulate investment and encourage innovation, while enhancing consumer protection, reliability, information security and privacy.

He warned from the potential risks of the negative effects of digitization on traditional employment, urging the countries of the world to work on reforming the labor market, strengthening training, and developing skills to help the workforce to adapt to digital and new employment opportunities.

He expressed the Kingdom’s aspiration to cooperate with other countries to promote exchanges and successful experiences in various fields and to develop cooperation between the public and private sectors to make the workforce more compatible with the requirements of the labor market.

With regard to women’s economic participation, the Minister stressed that women’s participation in economic activities was essential to the building of a strong and balanced economy, with the importance of promoting access to the labor market and improving the quality of women’s jobs.

Furthermore, Dr. Assaf welcomed the launch of the Skills Initiative for Girls to promote women’s participation in the functions of the digital economy, and to improve infrastructure and supporting services, particularly in developing and emerging countries, and to provide financial services to them.

He pointed out that the vision of the Kingdom 2030 focused on supporting Saudi women as one of the important elements of building the nation by developing their talents, investing their potentials and enabling them to obtain suitable opportunities in the labor market.

The Kingdom has committed itself to implementing the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 as the vision of the Kingdom 2030 aims to improve the lives of citizens and promote economic growth, he said, pointing out that the Kingdom’s vision provides the foundations to ensure that the objectives of sustainable development are successfully integrated into the national planning process, economic and social development efforts in developing countries.