Saudi Arabia holds T20 summit, asks leaders to work together to fight COVID-19

Saudi Arabia convened the first day of the T20 Summit on Saturday, with panelists and speakers calling for nations to work together around the world to help solve the unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Think20 (T20) is the research and policy advice network of the Group of 20 (G20), serving as a place to build ideas that the G20 can put into action. The two-day summit is the capstone event to the T20 summit season; which has so far already seen over 4,000 registrants attend 11 webinars featuring over 153 speakers; the highest amount of participation in the think tank engagement group; since T20’s inception.

“The past year has proven the T20’s work is needed now more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown one again how a single nations problem can become a global problem,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, chairman of the board of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies additionally said in his opening remarks.

Think tanks hub

“Saudi Arabia has become a center of global research and catalyst for think tanks in the region … Through our work; Saudi Arabia is contributing to international efforts to foster healthy economies; and societies in our region and beyond,” Prince Turki added.

Dr Fahad M Alturki, the vice president of research at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC); and chair of T20, called on global joint action to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“These are unprecedented times that also call for unprecedented collective action,” he said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reconfirmed that health is a global public good and it can only be achieved to effective collaboration;” Alturki added.

In detail Alturki went on to warn that leaders to focus on establishing health as a global public good; noting that this is only achievable with effective collaboration.

First time virtual

The T20 Summit traditionally takes place at a physical event in the host country, but this year organizers took the decision to hold the event virtually as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

“As the world began to react to the increasing threat of COVID-19 and priorities shifted, T20 continued; to see high levels of engagement as it transitioned from physical meetings to a virtual conference;” Alturki said in the lead up to the conference.

The Summit will also conclude on Monday, with T20 presenting its Communique to representatives of the G20. The document comprises of 32 policy proposals across seven categories for consideration by G20 leaders at the G20 Virtual Leaders’ Summit next month.