DAVOS: The annual gathering of world leaders during the World Economic Forum in Davos-klosters, Switzerland from January 17th to 20th this year highlighted current threats to businesses from megatrends such as population growth, migration, climate change and water scarcity, with numerous sessions showcasing solutions and examples of leadership in tackling such challenges. Convening under the theme, ‘Responsive and Responsible Leadership,’ the WEF drew over 3,000 participants from almost 100 countries.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted the increasing interconnection of global megatrends, including population growth and movements of people, climate change, food insecurity and water scarcity, all of which create increased potential for conflict. In the face of these challenges, he highlighted that the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could bring in around US$30 billion in profits for companies, including through a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ in new technologies such as genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.
B & R initiative gains global support
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the circle of friends along the Belt and Road is growing bigger, and Chinese investment in the countries along the routes has surpassed 50 billion USD in the past three years. He added that China plans to host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in Beijing this May to brainstorm on interconnected development.
The upcoming forum will explore ways to address regional and global economic problems, generate fresh energy for interconnected development, and ensure that the Belt and Road Initiative delivers greater benefits to people of the countries involved, Xi said.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat drew attention to the WEF 2017 Global Risks Report, which investigates threats to global security, including from extreme weather events, large natural disasters and failure to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report concludes that the environment “dominates the 2017 global risk landscape.”
Addressing the panel, Naoko Ishii, CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), stressed that there is “no other option” than a fundamental transformation of the world’s economic systems, if humanity is to avoid pushing the Earth beyond the limits of its resilience. Speakers agreed that both political and market forces are important in protecting the global commons and the global economy.
The Government of Norway launched a fund that aims to raise US$400 million by 2020 to support deforestation-free agriculture investments. UNEP launched the Green Digital Finance Alliance, a partnership among financial institutions using digital technology to advance green finance in lending, investment and insurance.