How Global Leaders Can Address the Immediate Health Crisis of COVID-19 and Commence a Recovery Phase

6 July 2020

Blog by: Mr. Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan

Six Fundamental and Actionable Policy Recommendations

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing crisis is a consequence of an intricately woven ecological, health, social and economic system. Only global collaboration and consensus between governments, businesses and global governance institutions can overcome a multi-dimensional and systemic crisis. As the voice of the business community to the G20, we are well positioned to help identify solutions that support society at large while ensuring business continuity.

Through our COVID-19 Initiative, we have developed timely, informed and actionable recommendations on policy responses to address the immediate health and economic crisis, and for a post-COVID-19 recovery phase. We have published these recommendations in a special report , entitled Jump-starting the Global Economy in a Post-COVID-19 Phase, which was shared with G20 leaders for inclusion in their official communiqué this November.

Our six-point plan contains wide ranging focus areas and includes specific actions to:

  • Build health resilience
    • Accelerate development and availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, strengthen future pandemic preparedness, oppose new trade restrictions on medical products and services, address the risk of corruption in public procurement of critical supplies
  • Safeguard human capital
    • Avoid restrictions on movement of human and intellectual capital, minimize unemployment and increase employability, ensure implementation of OHS requirements suited for minimizing risks of infections
  • Prevent financial instability
    • Avoid negative spillovers on financial markets, increase support to vulnerable economies and MSMEs, increase capital allocation to enterprises and infrastructure projects
  • Unclog global supply chains
    • Immediately restore supply chains, urgently unclog medical supply chains, recapitalize global supply chains, reduce corruption risks in supply chains
  • Revive productive sectors
    • Cooperate in stimulus design, make stimulus sustainable, ensure energy market stability, revitalize travel and tourism
  • Digitalize responsibly and inclusively
    • Accelerate digital transformation

You can read our recommendations in full here.

In March, B20 Saudi Arabia established the COVID-19 initiative to address the impact of COVID-19 on the business world. The goal was to determine what businesses and governments need to do going forward to chart the path for recovery. These recommendations are a direct result of this effort.

The special report was developed through multiple efforts. This included discussion with global business leaders, recommendations from the leadership of Taskforces and Action Council, and alignment with other G20 Engagement Groups such as S20, W20 and L20, as well as with multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

We wanted to get consensus from the business world on how governments can better support the private sector during the crisis, protect the economy and prepare for future crises.  Business leaders from the G20 countries and beyond, including from multinational corporations and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), provided input.

The recommendations are aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as a further commitment by the global business community to achieving those priorities by 2030.In a world where health, social and economic contagion transcends borders, G20 leaders should agree on shared policy solutions such as these that embrace a global common good as well as uphold appropriate sovereign interests. Global institutions such as the UN, IMF, WTO, and the WHO play an important role by pushing governments and business to be more agile and adaptable in their operating models if we indeed are to return the global economy to a path of growth.

It is our hope that the G20 considers our recommendations from this report and the upcoming recommendations from our Taskforces\ Action Council, and includes them in their official communiqué. The G20 is the ultimate forum to reach an agreement on policy solutions that transcend sovereign interests for a global common good.

Mr. Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, B20 Chair

Mr. Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan is Chair of B20 Saudi Arabia and Vice Chairman & CEO of SABIC.

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