Press Statement by the Global Governance Group (3G) on the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit, 21 to 22 November 2020

1                      The Global Governance Group (3G)[1] commends the Group of Twenty (G20) under Saudi Arabia’s Presidency for its efforts this year to coordinate an international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus remains a salient threat with new waves of transmission across the world, we call on the G20 to sustain its momentum in tackling the pandemic and its intertwined health, economic, and social impact. The upcoming virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit from 21 to 22 November 2020, whose focus is on “protecting lives and restoring growth”, presents an important opportunity for its members to endorse further measures to support the G20’s extensive agenda to address both the pandemic and longer-term structural changes in the global economy. We look forward to a positive outcome from that meeting.



2                      The 3G applauds the progress made on the G20 Action Plan – Supporting the Global Economy Through the COVID-19 Pandemic, including its proposals for health, financial, and economic response and providing international support to countries in need. The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health issue. Therefore, the 3G calls on the G20 to work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant United Nations (UN) agencies and international organisations to galvanise collective efforts to address the gaps in the global pandemic preparedness and response and to strengthen health systems to enhance our resilience against current and future epidemics. To support such efforts, the 3G has contributed a non-paper on “Strengthening Global Preparedness and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Other Public Health Emergencies” to stimulate discussions on this issue and to underscore the importance of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility, as well as the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP). The non-paper signals the 3G’s commitment to building public health resilience via the continued sharing of information and best practices, and supporting affordable and equitable access to therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines.



3                      At the same time, the 3G remains concerned with continued protectionist tendencies and trade conflicts, which will hinder our efforts towards a strong, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery. Given the prevailing difficult circumstances, it is even more paramount to maintain a free, open, transparent, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system centred on the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which has underpinned global economic growth and development over the past few decades. The 3G encourages all WTO Members to work together to expeditiously complete the selection and appointment of a new WTO Director-General in accordance with the agreed rules and procedures. In addition, the 3G commends efforts undertaken by the Saudi G20 Presidency to promote the maintenance of cross-border flow of vital medical supplies, agricultural and food products and the strengthening of global supply chain resilience, in particular reiterating the importance that any emergency trade measures should be targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary and consistent with WTO rules. The 3G has submitted a non-paper on “Maintaining Open and Connected Supply Chains: COVID-19 and Future-Proofing our Resilience” to contribute to G20’s important work in this area. The non-paper expresses the 3G’s support for measures that will facilitate trade, strengthen the openness and connectedness of supply chains, and ensure the smooth operation of logistics networks. It also calls on the G20 to translate the commitments made in the G20 Actions to Support World Trade and Investment in Response to COVID-19 into specific and concrete outcomes, to lay the foundation for a global recovery and strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.



4                      The 3G further commends the G20’s efforts to build on the global momentum for digitalisation as a vital part of our pandemic management and response strategy, as well as the G20’s commitment to take steps to enhance the security, inclusivity and resilience of our digital infrastructure.  The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need to accelerate the digital transformation of our businesses and societies so that they will be more resilient to similar shocks in the future. In this regard, the 3G welcomes the Saudi Presidency’s Policy Options to Support Digitalisation of Business Models during COVID-19 which shares policies and practices to strengthen business continuity and resilience consistent with national circumstances. As Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are an integral force of the domestic and global economy, the 3G calls on the G20 to explore ways which governments could better support the digital transformation of MSMEs to boost job creation and innovation, bolster development, and foster equity. The 3G has contributed a non-paper on “Supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Digital Transformation” to present ideas on this issue. We believe that all countries, big or small, developed or developing, should have the means to reap the benefits of digitalisation rather than allow it to become another source of socio-economic schism. We should ensure that no one is left behind in this digital push.



5                      The 3G welcomes the G20’s continued efforts to advance development, which remains an essential part of G20’s agenda, amid its preoccupations with other pressing issues. The 3G applauds the G20’s strong focus on climate action, as well as their calls to align investments with the Paris Agreement and promote pathways towards climate-resilient development, in the COVID-19 recovery. The 3G further welcomes the six-month extension of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) till June 2021, which allows the poorest countries to suspend payments on official bilateral debt in order to concentrate their resources on fighting the pandemic.



6                      The 3G reiterates its support of Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the G20 in 2020, in particular, its efforts to build on the work by previous G20 Presidencies in strengthening the G20’s engagement with the UN, relevant regional organisations and non-G20 members, including the 3G. The 3G appreciates the briefings given by Saudi Arabia on its G20 priorities on the sidelines of UN meetings in New York, in particular, the participation by His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, at the virtual Thirteenth 3G Ministerial Meeting on 23 September 2020. The 3G further welcomes the Saudi Presidency’s invitation to the UN Secretary-General to participate in the upcoming Leaders’ Summit, and affirms the importance of maintaining this practice. The 3G looks forward to Saudi Arabia’s update on the outcomes of the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit and the continuation of our constructive engagement with the Italian G20 Presidency in 2021.



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20 November 2020



[1]                                            The 3G comprises the following Member States of the United Nations (UN): Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Costa Rica, Finland, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Viet Nam.



Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Singapore