Davos 2020 Agenda: Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World

Davos 2020 Agenda: Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World

World’s leaders are gathering in Davos to discuss key changes shaping business and society. Sustainability is their most urgent priority.

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters is the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape the global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year.

This year the 50th Annual Meeting will bring together 3,000 participants from around the world, who will discuss technology, trade governance and “stakeholder capitalism”, and assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The elitist Annual Davos gatherings are often regarded with a degree of scepticism. “It is where billionaires tell millionaires what the middle class feels,” somebody once told Davos regular Jamie Dimon, the head of investment bank JPMorgan. Yet, it is a place where world’s leaders are supposed to set the coming years’ agenda for how businesses and governments could make the world a better place for all.

“People are revolting against the economic ‘elites’ they believe have betrayed them, and our efforts to keep global warming limited to 1.5°C are falling dangerously short,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman at the World Economic Forum. “With the world at such critical crossroads, this year we must develop a ‘Davos Manifesto 2020’ to reimagine the purpose and scorecards for companies and governments. It is what the World Economic Forum was founded for 50 years ago, and it is what we want to contribute to for the next 50 years.”

At the core of the World Economic Forum’s DNA is the stakeholder concept: no institution or individual alone can address the economic environmental, social and technological challenges of a complex, interdependent world.Healing a divisive world, however, requires a change in both mindset and behaviour, believes Klaus Schwab. At the core of the World Economic Forum’s DNA is the stakeholder concept: no institution or individual alone can address the economic environmental, social and technological challenges of a complex, interdependent world. And, true to its origin, the Forum has had a single guiding vision for the past 50 years: to be the platform where business, government, international organizations, civil society and academia can act together to achieve a global impact.

In the past, Davos’ agenda tackled the wider issues of gender inequality, poverty, LGBTI rights, mental health, reducing deforestation, and eliminating electronic waste and plastic pollution. Since the Global Gender Gap Report was launched by the Forum in 2005, the number of female leaders attending the Annual Meeting in Davos has doubled to 24%.

This year, the programme for the Annual Meeting will prioritise several key areas:

  • How to Save the Planet
  • Society & Future of Work
  • Tech for Good
  • Fairer Economies
  • Better Business
  • Healthy Futures
  • Beyond Geopolitics

The programme will aim to achieve impact by:

  • Improving global governance through public-private cooperation and close collaboration with key international organizations
  • Providing substantial, yet informal, input into key multilateral processes related to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth
  • Mapping a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape and emerging cyberthreats to mitigate and manage global risks
  • Promoting the agile governance of emerging technologies and the business models they enable
  • Examining in depth the social and economic transformations occurring in key regional blocs
  • Addressing important trade, taxation and investment-related issues in their bilateral and national contexts
  • Engaging industry leaders with their peers to examine strategic issues that are transforming business models, technological innovation and global competitiveness
  • Facilitating private- and public-sector collaboration to accelerate entrepreneurial, educational and employment opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Sharing and promoting ideas, innovations and discoveries that will benefit societies globally
  • Engaging those at the vanguard of change from such fields as the arts, media, medicine, science and technology, as well as the next generation of leaders

This year’s world-class speakers will include:

  • Donald Trump, President of the United States of America
  • Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany
  • Winnie Byanyima, United Nations Undersecretary-General; Executive Director UNAIDS
  • Christine Lagarde, President of European Central Bank
  • Deepika Padukone, Founder, Live Love Laugh Foundation
  • Greta Thunberg, Climate and Environmental Activist

This year, members of the public are also invited to participate in the Forum directly. If you have ideas on how to make the world a better place, you can send a video to the Forum’s organisers. The best videos will be posted on the website and shared with the hashtag #fairerworld.

Additional reporting by Cynthia Fleming and Barbara McGuinn

Image: Davos, Switzerland, by HappyAlex / Adobe Stock

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Francesca Giarelli writes about world's leaders and reports on business events.