Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have a historic and close relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation with a strong partnership built on the foundation of Islam, our shared faith.
This is unsurprising given that Mecca is the birthplace of Islam and Indonesia is the home to the world’s largest Muslim population. Our ties date back to the 13th century and remain as strong as ever with up to 200,000 pilgrims making the journey from Indonesia for the haj every year, the highest number of any nation.
These historic bonds were further reinforced during the historic visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Indonesia in 2017 and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 2019.
The mutual respect and international cooperation that are at the heart of Indonesia and Saudi Arabia’s close relationship are the very same values the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is bringing to its Group of 20 presidency — a G20 that meets at a challenging time for us all.
Throughout the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic and social disruption, wreaking havoc on communities, plunging our economies into the worst recession in decades and tragically revealing our vulnerability to devastating crises.
It has also brought together the members of the G20 to take action to protect lives and livelihoods.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made our G20 theme of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All” more relevant than ever before.
It is this theme and futurelooking agenda that have informed us in leading and coordinating G20 action to face the impacts of COVID-19.
Faced with the devastating impacts of the pandemic, the G20 took swift, collective and unprecedented action to protect lives, livelihoods and the most vulnerable.
Together, we have contributed over US$21 billion to support health systems and the hunt for a vaccine, made available over $14 billion in debt relief for developing nations and injected an unprecedented $11 trillion into the global economy.
Global challenges, including structural inequalities, the climate crisis, the lack of opportunities for women and youth and the digital divide have been exacerbated by the dreadful consequences of the pandemic, posing a risk to our collective future prosperity and security.
More than ever, they need to be energetically and collectively addressed at the G20 and that is exactly what we are doing.
COVID-19 knows no borders. It has reminded us that today’s difficulties are inherently global and interconnected, that no country can succeed in solving them in isolation. The G20, which was founded on the very ethos of addressing issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one nation or organization, has a responsibility to lead collective action to overcome this crisis and shape a better world for all.
The Saudi G20 presidency is seeking to deepen global cooperation around our theme, recognizing that the 21st century comes with unprecedented global challenges but that there are also extraordinary opportunities to capitalize on. Thus, the presidency is working with G20 members on three essential pillars that are vital to the world’s success.
First is empowering people, with a focus on youth and women, and tackling inequalities. Second is safeguarding the planet by fostering collective efforts to protect our natural resources and putting sustainability at the heart of the agenda.
And last is shaping new frontiers by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement and build a resilient future.
As we deal with the terrible impacts of COVID-19 and seek to restore growth, together, we must build a more sustainable, more inclusive and better world for all.
To this aim, the Saudi G20 presidency is committed to working with its G20 partners to ensure we recover stronger through an inclusive recovery that tackles structural inequalities, a sustainable recovery that implements longterm solutions for environmental challenges and a resilient recovery that harnesses the potential of digital technologies to enhance access to opportunities for all.
Now with the G20, with our international partners, civil society, businesses and communities around the world, we are working to lay the foundations to restore growth and recover stronger, ensuring we are better prepared and protected in the future and joining forces to shape a more resilient world.
Hosting the presidency this year is a great honor and a tremendous responsibility for the people of Saudi Arabia. We are determined to work closely with Indonesia, who we know shares that deep sense of responsibility and commitment, to ensure we realize opportunities of the 21st century for all.
The writer is Saudi Arabian ambassador to Indonesia.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.