Q2/2020 - G20 Presidenciy of Saudi Arabia

G20 Finance Ministers, 15 April 2020, Video Conference

Regardless of the pandemic, the Saudi Arabian G20 Presidency has held many of the planned meetings in the form of video conferences. The Saudi government is also sticking to the date of the G20 Summit in Riyadh on 21 and 22 November 2020.

A virtual meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and central bank governors took place on 15 April 2020. The focal issue of the meeting was financial aid for countries and companies particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another discussion item were cyber attacks on banks. The Financial Services Board (FSB)[1] presented a working paper with recommendations on how financial institutions should react to such cyber attacks. The paper contains 46 recommendations, divided into seven categories.   

  • Governance – frames how cyber incident and recovery is organised and managed;
  • Preparation – to establish and maintain capabilities to respond to cyber incidents, and to restore critical functions, processes, activities, systems and data affected by cyber incidents to normal operations;
  • Analysis – to ensure effective response and recovery activities, including forensic analysis, and to determine the severity, impact and root cause of the cyber incident to drive appropriate response and recovery activities;
  • Mitigation – to prevent the aggravation of the situation and eradicate cyber threats in a timely manner to alleviate their impact on business operations and services;
  • Restoration – to repair and restore systems or assets affected by a cyber incident to safely resume business-as-usual delivery of impacted services;
  • Improvement – to establish processes to improve response and recovery capabilities through lessons learnt from past cyber incidents and from proactive tools, such as tabletop exercises, tests and drills;
  • Coordination and communication – to coordinate with stakeholders to maintain good cyber situational awareness and enhances the cyber resilience of the ecosystem[2].

The controversial issue of a global digital tax was not mentioned in the communiqué of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors of 15 April 2020[3].

G20 Digital Ministers, 30 April 2020, Video Conference

A virtual meeting of the G20 Digital Ministers took place on 30 April 2020. This meeting focused on the question of how digitisation can help to cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The ministers adopted a statement outlining seven fields of action with very detailed action plans. The G20 ministers assured to make every effort to grant secure and affordable access to the Internet for everyone. They requested the exchange of data, cyber security and research into the development of digital medical technology to be strengthened and enhanced. All in all, this document is the most comprehensive and detailed paper on digitisation and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on a global level[4].

G20 Digital Economy Task Force, 5 May and 1 to 4 June 2020

The G20 Digital Economy Task Force (G20-DETF) also continued its work under the Saudi G20 Presidency with two video conferences on 5 May 2020 and 3 and 4 June 2020. At the May 2020 meeting, the draft of a “G20 Roadmap Toward a Common Framework for Measuring the Digital Economy” was discussed. The virtual meeting in June 2020 was concerned with the “Future of Digitisation” in general. A press release lists data flow, smart cities and digital security as further topics. On 1 June 2020, a virtual discussion took place on the role of artificial intelligence in the COVID-19 crisis (G20 Dialogue on Trustworthy AI in Pandemic Response). However, there were no statements beyond the press releases. The results of the G20-DETF will be discussed at the virtual G20 Conference of Digital Ministers on 22 and 23 July 2020[5].

G20 Trade Ministers, 24 May 2020, Video Conference

A conference of the G20 Trade Ministers was held on 14 May 2020. The resulting statement emphasises the special importance of the interrelationships between trade and the digital economy. According to this statement, the G20 advocate a revival of the negotiations on an agreement on e-commerce and digital trade within the WTO framework on the basis of the “Joint Statement Initiative on eCommerce” and the “Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions”[6]. Under the Japanese G20 Presidency, this initiative was launched as the “Osaka Fast Track” under the slogan “Free Flow for Trusted Data” (FFTD). The WTO Ministerial Conference, scheduled for June 2020 in Kazakhstan, has been postponed to 2021.

Mehr zum Thema
  1. [2] Financial Service Board; Effective Practices for Cyber Incident Response and Recovery: Consultative Document, 20 April 2020, „Cyber incidents pose a threat to the stability of the global financial system. In recent years, there have been a number of major cyber incidents that have significantly impacted financial institutions and the ecosystems in which they operate. A major cyber incident, if not properly contained, could seriously disrupt financial systems, including critical financial infrastructure, leading to broader financial stability implications. Efficient and effective response to and recovery from a cyber incident by organisations in the financial ecosystem are essential to limiting any related financial stability risks. Such risks could arise, for example, from interconnected information technology systems between multiple financial institutions or between financial institutions and third-party service providers, from loss of confidence in a major financial institution or group of financial institutions, or from impacts on capital arising from losses due to the incident. The toolkit lists 46 effective practices, structured across seven components“. In: https://www.fsb.org/2020/04/effective-practices-for-cyber-incident-response-and-recovery-consultative-document/
  2. [3] Communiqué: Virtual meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, 15 April 2020, http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2020/2020-g20-finance-0415.html
  3. [4] Extraordinary G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting: COVID-19 Response Statement, Virtual meeting, 30 April, 2020: „We, the G20 Ministers responsible for the digital economy, emphasize the promising role of digital technologies and relevant digital policies to strengthen and accelerate our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to enhance our ability to prevent and mitigate future crises. We will work together to deliver on the commitment to leverage digital technologies made at the G20 Leaders' Extraordinary Summit on March 26.1. Communication infrastructure and network connectivity: Given the unprecedented near-term importance of access to Internet connectivity, we will work together on an urgent basis with the private sector and business entities, in particular with telecommunications and Internet service providers, and civil society, to maximize inclusive, secure, and affordable connectivity, especially in underserved areas and for vulnerable people. In addition, we underscore the importance of keeping telecommunication networks and digital infrastructure, in particular in health provider and research environments, robust, secure, accessible, and resilient. Furthermore, digital capacities should be expanded, in particular by increasing broadband connectivity using fixed, mobile, and satellite technologies and by exploring non-traditional means of connectivity, such as community networks. We recognize the importance of working with telecommunication providers to ensure the proper functioning of these critical networks, particularly in times of crises. 2. Exchange of data in a secure manner: Acknowledging the uncertainty associated with COVID-19 and the power of data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate pattern recognition and enable evidence-based policy-making, we encourage collaboration to collect, pool, process, and share reliable and accurate non-personal information that can contribute to the monitoring, understanding, and prevention of the further spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases. COVID-19-related data should be collected and processed in an ethical, transparent, safe, interoperable, and secure manner that protects the privacy and data security of individuals, in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, and national laws and regulations. We acknowledge the need to ensure that potential biases in the data or algorithms are appropriately addressed. 3. Research and development of digital technologies for health: We recognize the potential of digital technologies, including AI, to contribute to the fight against and prevention of pandemics by accelerating development of potential diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines, playing a critical role in diagnosis, supporting health professionals, monitoring of patients' vital signs remotely or in the hospital, facilitating remote care through virtual care and telemedicine, optimizing hospital logistics and operations, and providing information to the public via chatbots. We commit to use all digital means at our disposal, including the high-performance computing capacities available to us, to accelerate progress in developing, manufacturing, and deploying drug therapies and vaccines. We welcome increased investment in AI research and the expanded use of diverse computing infrastructures, including high-performance and cloud computing applications, to realize this vast potential. We support that the research and deployment of digital health technologies are evidence-based and human-centric, including respecting privacy. We support research on technologies to help individuals, notably health workers, families, and communities, and to support outbreak responses. 4. Use of digital technologies and solutions: Given the extreme importance and urgency of slowing down the spread of COVID-19, we will endeavor to work collaboratively to leverage digital technologies and solutions to enable individuals and firms to continue to participate in the economy. We support the evidence-based, trustworthy, and human-centric deployment of digital technologies and solutions and any resulting policies, in a manner that respects individuals' privacy, security, and human rights. We will further promote digital work and the development of basic digital skills in companies, public institutions, schools, and universities. We encourage the expanded and secure use of tools that facilitate remote working and learning, and thereby support the continuity of economic and social activity as much as possible in a pandemic. We will encourage and collaborate with the research community, private sector, and business entities to promote the use of digital technologies and solutions for the development and manufacturing of critical medical equipment and supplies (including disinfectants, Personal Protective Equipment, and ventilators) to fight COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. 5. Secure and trusted online environment Given the increased digital vulnerability in the context of a pandemic, we will endeavor to share best practices within existing national processes to enable timely national response to counteract malicious cyber activities that present material risks to the security of the digital economy and the individuals and businesses of which it consists. We encourage online platforms as well as other businesses and organizations to continue to share trustworthy information and prevent disinformation, hoaxes, and online scams, while respecting freedom of expression. In addition, we will work to ensure that reliable official crisis communication over digital channels is available. 6. Business resilience: To support and strengthen the resilience of businesses, in particular MSMEs, women, and young entrepreneurs, and help them overcome digital divides, we note the importance of access to capital and the inclusive uptake of more sophisticated digital technologies. We encourage MSMEs to leverage digital technologies and solutions in carrying out production, business activities, and international trade cooperation, so as to maintain the stability of global supply chains. In parallel, we encourage the transition to digitalized production systems, e-commerce, digital supply of services, e-invoicing, and e-payments, and other services, as well as smart working solutions, including remote working, and innovative new business models. To enable this acceleration to digital business models, the G20 Saudi Presidency will work with stakeholders and International Organizations to develop a menu of policy options that will serve as a knowledge asset for governments of G20 countries and beyond. 7. Conclusions and way forward: To achieve the urgent progress in these areas that the current crisis demands, we encourage the sharing among G20 countries of digital economy policy interventions, practices, lessons learned, and solutions in response to COVID-19. This will help us identify critical common challenges, proven policy interventions and implementation practices to help G20 countries and beyond, in particular developing countries and regions, to mitigate the immediate challenges of COVID-19 and those that may emerge in the future. This present crisis carries with it an opportunity for governments to encourage the use of our most advanced technologies in order to prevent, mitigate, treat, and defeat future pandemics, and to facilitate the development of digital innovations that will enable a full economic recovery. The Digital Economy Task Force will encourage the dissemination of current and emerging digital tools for fighting this pandemic. Taking stock of and building on this experience, Italy is open to support and continue dialogue on the application of advanced technologies to fight pandemics in the upcoming G20 Presidency.“ http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2020/2020-g20-digital-0430.html
  4. [5] G20 Discusses the Long-Term Vision for the Digital Economy, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 4 June 2020“ „The G20 Digital Economy Taskforce (DETF) held consecutive virtual meetings on June 3 to June 4 to discuss a comprehensive approach to digital economy policymaking and the future of digitalization. Members from G20 countries, guest countries, international and regional organizations, addressed the relevance of digitalization in maintaining business operations following the COVID-19 outbreak:.Data Flows, Smart Cities, Digital Economy measurement and Digital Security were also on the agenda as well as the Connecting Humanity 2030 initiative. Delegates also discussed digitalization in the context of the current crisis with a long-term vision for the best use of digital tools to build economic resiliency and promote job retention. Prior to the DETF meeting, on June 1, the Dialogue on Trustworthy AI in Pandemic Response brought together experts from both the public and private sectors, and academia to explore the optimal role of government in Artificial Intelligence. The potential use of the technology in diverse sectors was raised, along with how AI can be an efficient tool in pandemic responses. The Dialogue also examined the G20’s role in policy discussions and the long-term inclusion of AI on the G20 agenda. G20 Digital Economy Ministers will review and continue the work of the Taskforce at their meeting on July 22-23.“
  5. [6] G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting:Ministerial Statement: 14 May 2020: „Paragraph 2.1.6: We reaffirm the importance of interface between trade and digital economy, and note the ongoing discussions under the Joint Statement Initiative on Electronic Commerce and the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions, and reaffirm the need to reinvigorate the Work Program on Electronic Commerce at the WTO“, in: http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2020/2020-g20-trade-0514.html