"We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance", King Salman said in his opening remarks.
High on the agenda is the purchase and global distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that can not afford such expenses themselves. "Coordinated efforts by the largest economies of the world will surely lead to faster recovery from this pandemic", PM Modi tweeted Saturday.
G20 nations must help plug the $4.5-billion funding gap in the so-called ACT-Accelerator, Norway's prime minister, South Africa's president, the heads of the European Union and the World Health Organization demanded in a joint letter to the group.
"We must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples".
He added: "If we harness the collective ingenuity and resources of the G20, we can chart a path out of the pandemic and build a better, greener future".
The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate global cooperation in crises - but has also underscored their shortcomings. Members are expected to finalize a framework for providing poor nations debt-relief, alongside continuing discussions for financing covid-19 vaccine collaborations.
"Preventing environmental degradation, conserving, sustainably using and restoring biodiversity, preserving our oceans, promoting clean air and clean water, responding to natural disasters and extreme weather events, and tackling climate change are among the most pressing challenges of our time", the G20 draft statement said.
European nations in the G20 will also seek fresh impetus to the stalled reform of the World Trade Organization, hoping to capitalize on the upcoming change of USA administration.
"The G20, its essence, is activating multilateralism, and of course this has taken a backseat over the last few years", Falih said.
Trump, who favoured bilateral deals, has reduced support for multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization, and this year threatened to quit the World Health Organization unless it was reformed.
Climate change was also expected to top the agenda, with the change of United States leadership raising hopes of a more concerted effort at G20 level to fight global warming.
Ahead of the summit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she hoped the USA would adopt a more multilateralist stance under Biden.
This would help attract the massive private investment needed because many investment funds are keen to invest in environmentally sustainable projects, but there is no agreed way of selecting them.