World Economic Forum ’23: Participants braced for profound systemic transformation

It says a lot about this gathering that the managing directors and chairmen of most of Denmark’s largest companies – including the managers responsible for Mærsk, Carlsberg, DSV, Lego Group, Novo Nordisk, PensionDenmark, Vestas and Ørsted – will be present, but they won’t even be considered VIPs.

So it’s no wonder snipers can be seen on the roofs of snow-covered luxury hotels and Swiss army guards block the roads. They are on high alert as helicopters circle the mountains, flying in presidents, billionaires and tycoons to join the business leaders.

Yes, it’s Davos time again. From today, Monday, January 16th until the 20th, the 53rd annual meeting of the (WEF) will take place in Davos, Switzerland.

Huge turnout
“This year’s annual meeting has record attendance,” confirms WEF founder Klaus Schwab. The upcoming meeting will convene more than 2,700 leaders from 130 countries, including 52 heads of state/government.

They include Olaf Scholz (Germany), Cyril M Ramaphosa (South Africa), Pedro Sánchez (Spain), Alain Berset (Switzerland), Ilham Aliyev () and (Belgium) along with a few former leaders such as . Denmark’s first female prime minister, .

Perhaps even more important are the heads of supranational organizations present, including (European Commission), Antonio Guterres (UN), Kristalina Georgieva (), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (World Trade Organization), (NATO), (World Health Organization), (), Catherine Russell (UNICEF) and Mirjana Spoljaric Egger (Red Cross).

Collaboration is the key in 2023
For more than half a century, the Davos meeting in January has helped the world prepare for a new year, but this time Schwab hopes it can be a new era. “We need a deep systemic transformation,” he urges.

In these post-pandemic, and hopefully not pre-world war days, global action is needed, Schwab argues. That is why the WEF has chosen ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’ as its theme for this meeting.

“One of the root causes of this fragmentation is actually a lack of cooperation. This increases the fragmentation in society and leads to even more short-term and independent policy-making. It’s a really vicious circle,” notes Schwab.

The former business professor has made it his life’s mission to break this vicious cycle and to demonstrate that compassion, values ​​and decisions—which serve the greater good of all—can be beneficial, especially for billion-dollar companies.

Where magic can happen
The global press coverage that follows every move made by a world leader in Davos makes it irresistible to many to be ‘the good guy’ – or at least to pretend to be ‘the good guy’.

This makes Davos particularly unique, and sometimes even a magical place that has prevented many wars, crises and other disasters from happening.

Some compare the WEF to a large laundromat. It has not been uncommon for opponents and enemies – such as Shimon Peres, when he was prime minister of Israel, and Yasser Arafat, the former leader of the Palestinian National Authority – to be locked in a private room.

Having banded and banded and openly spoken their minds, the opponents can hopefully start fresh as they hold hands against the snowy backdrop of Davos.

This year’s hot potatoes
This year’s potential peace talks in the Middle East is the war in Ukraine, and it will be at the top of many agendas. But unlike previous forums, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been invited to Davos, nor have any potential members of a Russian delegation.

Delegates from Ukraine will be present, but for security reasons, WEF President Börge Brende has not disclosed any names.

At the hundreds of high-level sessions, participants will work hard to find solutions to the most pressing global challenges, such as climate change, the expected post-pandemic global recession and the explosion of the cost of living.

And another important issue will be the increased hatred and polarization that is so visible in our society.

Decisive delegations
This year, the WEF expects strong participation from the MENA region. Delegates from the UAE will use the platform to prepare for the next major climate conference, COP28. The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC will meet in the UAE from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, currently chairs BRICS. Ramaphosa will most likely use Davos to prepare for upcoming major BRICS meetings in South Africa. BRICS, the umbrella organization for the five leading emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is currently debating whether to admit Saudi Arabia to the group.

Ultimate melting pot
Davos is a seismograph of the state of the world. The almost insane accumulation of wealth and power in a small Swiss town inspires not only action and spy films, but also conspiracy myths.

Some myths are not too far from what really goes on, as many world leaders are known to shake hands on deals in secretive closed rooms.

Much less has been written, however, about the transformative power unleashed when spiritual leaders, social entrepreneurs, youth activists, NGO representatives and innovators spend a week with 600 CEOs, presidents and other world leaders.

This melting pot of idealistic, determined delegates and world leaders – all with the same WEF badge on their lapels – ensures that Davos can be a global powerhouse forever.

World Economic Forum '23: Participants braced for profound systemic transformation
The Good Shepherd: It’s no wonder that WEF founder Klaus Schwab likes Saint Bernard dogs, as they possess a unique ability to find and rescue avalanche victims. Will Schwab be able to save the world from the avalanche of crises it is currently facing? (photo: Irene Hell)

Source: The Nordic Page

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