The G20 Labour 20 (L20) Summit kicked off yesterday. The summit was opened by a speech of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, which was delivered on his behalf by Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Eng. Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi.
The speech reads as follows:
"In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,
Peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you,
First, I would like to express my gratitude for the L20, and the participating labor organizations, unions and committees around the world for their remarkable work during these extraordinary times.
I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Saudi National Committee of Workers Committees for leading the L20 Engagement Group for this year, which exemplifies their eagerness to improve the labor system by collaborating with prominent global labor organizations and platforms within and beyond the G20.
The L20 has produced outcomes that live up to its role of supporting workers in G20 countries and around the world, as it put the interests of workers at the center of all its proposed policies and recommendations throughout the course of its activity during the Saudi G20 Presidency, whose efforts had become all the more important in tackling past and existing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in an unprecedented fashion.
We have reviewed the joint statement which was released by the Engagement Groups upon the extraordinary leaders’ summit last March, which discussed avenues of collaborations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This evidently shows the important role that labor organizations, represented by the L20, play. The L20 represents the voice of all workers, which was clearly demonstrated in the four statements that you released during the Saudi Presidency year.
Building upon what we agreed on as G20 leaders during the extraordinary summit, we reiterate that our utmost current priority is overcoming the pandemic and its health, social, and economic impacts.
Our efforts in the G20 this year are focused on several key areas, the most important of which is international collaboration in developing vaccines for COVID-19, ensuring equitable and fair access to vaccines for everyone while taking into account the needs of low income countries, and drawing on the lessons learned from this pandemic to ensure a better future in the face of health and economical challenges.
Safeguarding lives and livelihood is at the top of our priorities as G20 leaders. The Saudi G20 Presidency has focused on discussing policies related to labor, maintaining financial stability, minimizing trade tensions, promoting global supply chains, offering assistance to all countries in need, , and coordinating public health and financial measures.
Considering the current pandemic, the importance of social protection networks prevails for all forms of work and all worker categories, especially freelancers and online platform workers. The G20 is focusing this year on scaling up efforts to strengthen social protection and make it more inclusive.
One cannot speak about labor policies without looking toward the future of work considering the occurring technological developments and demographic changes. This requires creating new jobs, revising our understanding of work environments, and the significance of keeping up with changes through up-skilling and re-skilling for all segments of society, especially women and youth. We pay careful attention to women, youth, and young entrepreneurs to facilitate their access to labor markets.
In the context of empowering people and expanding opportunities, the G20 Saudi Presidency agenda has focused on empowering women holistically under its different tracks, which include a set of sectorial initiatives that target groups who have the least access to opportunities.
The G20 believes that enabling women to access opportunities is an integral part of any sustainable and comprehensive developmental approach. In this regard, women empowerment in leadership positions has become an important factor of ensuring women's participation in decision-making and contribution to the prosperity of societies.
We have accelerated international efforts through the G20 to discuss financial inclusion and access to financial services as key pillars of expanding opportunities, and harnessing new technologies and innovations to enable disadvantaged groups, especially women and the youth, to have access to financial services.
At the Riyadh Summit, we look forward to agreeing on solutions and initiatives that promote the G20 role in unifying the international response to tackle the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19.
Finally, we hoped to conduct a physical L20 summit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but we look forward to your visit after the pandemic recedes, god willing.
We wish you a successful summit and we look forward to your communique.
All the best."