Highlights from Davos 2017
By admin January 19, 2017

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Every year in the end of January, the tranquil mountainous resort Davos in the eastern Alps region welcomes thousands of policy and business leaders to discuss challenges of today on the World Economic Forum (WEF). More than 2,500 participants from nearly 100 countries are meeting in the small town and participating in over 300 sessions.

Under the theme of Responsive and Responsible Leadership, the Forum calls for recognition of segments of society that are left behind economic and social progress. Discussions are focused on five key areas: strengthening systems for global collaboration, addressing identity through positive narratives, revitalizing global economy, reforming market capitalism and preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In a time of increasingly complex growth challenges, promoting inclusive and equitable development is key. As Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the WEF explained, “A new model of responsive and responsible leadership is needed to allow us to address the challenges the world faces, from security to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with long-term, action-oriented thinking and solidarity on a national and global level.”

While topics of climate change, economic growth, and global security are still on the agenda, this year will be different. The gathering is expected to contemplate important political, economic and social themes against the backdrop of rising nationalism and the backlash of anti-globalization. At the end of the second day of the 4-day meeting, a variety of topics have been discussed. Below highlight messages from leaders on important topics concerning global development.



It is clear on day one of the event that one of the most important discussion this year is on globalization. Amid the emergence of isolationism, Xi Jinping, the first Chinese president to attend the annual meeting, delivered a speech in strong defense of globalization. “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” Xi said, firmly championing free trade and economic globalization. President Xi gets a round of applause for saying that China will open arms to the people of the world and welcome them on board the “express train of development”. This year, a large number of sessions at the WEF are focused on Asia, including one entitled “Asia Takes the Lead”.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an important framework to help economies navigate a transition to more inclusive and sustainable growth. The WEF also actively responds to accelerate actions through formal and informal sessions that cover all the 17 SDGs. In particular, the WEF emphasizes opportunities for business to create value and stronger public-private cooperation. During the session on Advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda, partnership has been identified by policy and business leaders as the most important in the journey to achieve SDGs. As Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International suggested, business, local NGOs and all relevant organizations should come together to create a whole value chain of partnership.

Sustainable investment

Greater emphasis has been placed on achieving sustainable economic growth that are socially inclusive and environmentally responsible. Leaders at the WEF are calling for inclusive globalization, fair trade and coordinated action on climate change. In particular, there is huge potential for public-private collaboration to crowd in private capital that supports sustainable infrastructure in emerging and frontier markets. According to Rick Samen, the WEF board member charged with overseeing climate issues, trillions of dollars will be needed to re-develop global infrastructure in a resilient way. “The only solution is to optimize the blending of public and private capital in the system and apply it toward sustainable infrastructure in the various domains that matter for climate and the SDGs.”

The Meeting will end on Jan 20. There are more on inclusive growth and sustainable development to be expected from sessions on Creating Profits through Purpose, Global Economic Outlook, Responsive and Responsible Leadership in 2017.


Read more:

Davos: A rough guide to the World Economic Forum

Opinion: What the development community can expect from Davos

Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017

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