Davos (ABC Live): The theme of the World Economic Forum 2018 is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” is both thoughtful and apt. At the close of the 20th century, the presumption was that greater economic interdependence among countries, buttressed by liberal democratic institutions, would ensure peace and stability well into the new century.
The global context today has changed dramatically: geostrategic fissures have re-emerged on multiple fronts with wide-ranging political, economic and social consequences. Realpolitik is no longer just a relic of the Cold War.
Economic prosperity and social cohesion are not one and the same. The global commons cannot protect or heal itself. Politically, governance is being transformed by new and contending strategic narratives. Such narratives have emerged in response to national, regional and global divides, but many of them are bereft of the innovation, inspiration and idealism essential for transformational change.
Economically, policies are being formulated to preserve the singular benefits of global integration while limiting its shared obligations. Yet, such policy prescriptions are fragmented, biased or uninformed when considered in the context of sustainable development, inclusive growth and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Socially, citizens yearn for responsive leadership that addresses local and national concerns; yet, a shared identity and collective purpose remain elusive despite living in an age of social networks. All the while, the social contract between states and their citizens continues to erode.
Changing the situation on the ground requires more responsive governance, but this cannot absolve governments of their regional and global responsibilities. The fractures that have emerged politically, economically and socially must not foster intolerance, indecision and inaction.
The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting therefore aims to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world. The programme, initiatives and projects of the meeting are focused on Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World By coming together at the start of the year, we can shape the future by joining this unparalleled global effort in co-design, co-creation and collaboration.
The Annual Meeting in Davos remains a global platform unmatched in engaging leaders from business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society in peer-to-peer working sessions. The programme’s depth and breadth make it a true summit of summits.