Assembled in this Swiss ski resort town for five days, global leaders agreed that speed, cooperation and resilience are must to mend a fragmented world.
As the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2023 came to an end on Friday, its president Borge Brende said that despite many difficult issues facing the global community, progress had been made at the meeting, especially in tackling the most urgent crises of food, energy and climate.
“For me, the greatest lesson of the week has been that although the world is more fragmented today, it does not need to be tomorrow,” he said in his closing remarks.
During the meeting, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for urgent action on interconnected challenges, including the climate, nature and energy crises.
There was some good news for the world economy as China’s Vice-Premier Liu He reaffirmed commitment to strengthening international cooperation.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Europe will avoid a recession due to its work on limiting impact of the regional energy crisis.
More than 50 high-impact initiatives were launched or profiled at the annual meeting, each which can be scaled or replicated to improve the state of the world, WEF said.
This was the first major international gathering of the year to address ongoing economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world, it added.
While many economists forecast recessionary risks in 2023 and see geopolitical tensions continuing to shape the global economy, WEF said there are glimmers of hope that pressures on food, energy and inflation may be peaking.
“Our world is plagued by a perfect storm on a number of fronts,” Guterres, who called for urgent action on a number of interconnected challenges, said.
China’s Vice-Premier declared his country open to the world after three years of pandemic isolation, and emphasised international cooperation, economic stability and re-globalisation.
Cooperation became more virtual and the forum’s Global Collaboration Village showed how the metaverse can be harnessed for inclusive and effective international action. With the golden age of artificial intelligence under way, technology will provide more ways to bring people together.
“Through the power of collaboration, innovation, human goodwill and ingenuity, we have the capacity to turn challenges into opportunities. This is the spirit of solving problems through mutual respect and cooperation. This is the spirit of Davos,” WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said.
With over 480 sessions, more than 2,700 leaders — including over 350 public figures government leaders and 47 heads of state — came together at the meeting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed participants virtually from Kyiv while his wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, spoke in person in Davos. Both urged world leaders to support Ukraine’s 10-point proposal to end the war, which includes an end to hostilities, restoration of the country’s borders with Russia, release of all prisoners and deportees as well as assurance of food and energy security and justice.
European leaders, including from Germany, Spain, Poland and Finland, pledged their support for Ukraine, highlighting the importance of European solidarity and the need to continue supporting Ukraine’s right to defend itself.
Latin American nations, including Colombia, Brazil and Costa Rica, said they were bullish about the region’s potential to become a global leader in providing clean energy, and exporting renewable energy could be a central driver of Latin American economic growth.
The forum launched a new network of online regulators from the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and Fiji, which aims to create synergies across geographies and protect end users.
The Global Risks Report 2023 ranked the cost-of-living crisis as the most severe short-term global risk while the failure of climate mitigation and climate adaptation are the biggest long-term concerns for humanity.
The 2023-2024 term for the Network of Global Future Councils was launched at the Annual Meeting: the network consists of 29 expertise-based thematic councils and convenes 500 experts from academia, government, international organisations, business and civil society, of which 89 of were at the meeting.
The forum advanced dialogue through its Special Dialogue community of Israeli and Palestinian business leaders.
Under the umbrella of this community, the Swiss Envoy for the Middle East will work together with the forum to launch a joint working group on climate and science, which will focus water scarcity, waste management and agriculture.
Leaders were brought together to strengthen dialogue in the Western Balkans and also address the political crisis in Myanmar.
The US announced new resources for the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation to advance work in bright spot countries making tough reforms.
A forum initiative is supporting the WTO’s Draft Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement, which is expected to be completed by the first half of 2023.
The forum and the Maharashtra Institution for Transformation (MITRA) signed a partnership to work together on the urban transformation agenda, providing strategic and technical direction to the Maharashtra government.
The forum also launched its first thematic centre on healthcare and life sciences in Telangana, India, in collaboration with the state government.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) has set a 100-day goal for the deployment of new vaccines for future pandemics.