Shaping the Global Agenda
- Prime Minister Abe of Japan used a special address to commit his country’s G20 Chairmanship to launch an agenda for global data governance. Abe said that the process, dubbed the Osaka track, would work the auspices of the World Trade Organization.
- A group of 70-plus countries confirmed intentions to commence WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce following a ministerial meeting in the margins of the Annual Meeting on Friday 25 January. Shortly before, members of the Forum’s business and civil society trade community issued a statement calling for a new digital trade deal that should be both ambitious and inclusive. The community urged governments to move forward with this agenda at the WTO in order to reduce costs and facilitate greater participation in the global digital economy.
- The leaders of Brazil, Colombia and Brazil, along with the Foreign Minister of Canada, used a joint statement Wednesday to offer their countries backing to Mr Juan Guiado, leader of Veneuzuela’s opposition-controlled Parliament after he had declared himself Interim President. A day earlier, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez, called on Mr Guiado to take action.
- Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, used his appearance at the Annual Meeting to commit his country to democracy. Ghani used his address to remind participants that Afghanistan has passed 390 new laws since 2015 and significantly increased the number of women in politics.
- The President of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister of Armenia used a meeting at the World Economic Forum to advance negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
- The government of the UK announced a five-year plan to tackle the global threat of antimicrobial resistance. The plan envisages containing and controlling AMR worldwide by 2040.
- The Forum continued multistakeholder diplomacy dialogues aimed at advancing peace efforts on other key global fault-lines including the Western Balkans and Syria. The Forum also convened a public-private community of leaders for a Special Dialogue on Israeli-Palestinian relations. With the help of Prime Minister Abiy of Ethiopia, a diplomatic dialogue was held on the Horn of Africa.
- Discussions were also initiated on the Sahel, the Korean Peninsula, European-Russian relations and on a new development architecture for Africa-Europe engagement.
- Many of these conversations will be pursued and further advanced in our upcoming Meeting in the Dead Sea, Jordan on 6-7 April, which we have decided to turn into a global summit for peace and reconciliation.
Shaping the New Economy and Society
- The Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Initiative, launched in 2017 with a target to reskill or upskill 10 million workers by 2020, announced it has already secured pledges for training more than 17 million people globally, 6.4 million of whom have already been re-skilled. The Forum also announced that the initiative is now supporting public private partnerships aimed at promoting future skills in four countries: Argentina, India, Oman and South Africa.
- The Forum also announced it was expanding its network of Closing the Gender Gap national taskforces to eight countries; Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Panama and Peru.
- Voice for the Planet, a global campaign to build a movement for a new deal for nature and people was launched on Tuesday during a plenary with President Al Gore, Prime Minister Ardern of New Zealand and Anand Mahindra of Mahindra. The campaign garnered over 21,000 individual pledges within 48 hours.
- The Forum’s Centre for Global Public Goods helped launch a $15 million project to launch a formal electronic waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The amount of e-waste generated each year is set to more than double by 2050 and already is a major environmental hazard as well as health risk for millions of people working and living on close proximity to waste sites. The scheme in Nigeria is backed by $2 million in funding from the Global Environment Facility which will be leveraged by $13 million of financing from business.
- Peru joined the Forum’s Tropical Forest Alliance in a bid to help the country achieve its target of reducing deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. The country is home to the second largest area of Amazonian forest after Brazil.
- Five Asian countries dump more plastic into oceans than anyone else combined. The Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) announced its first national partnership in Indonesia to be launched March 12, 2019. Vietnam, 2020 ASEAN Chair, has also joined GPAP committing to a circular economy approach to tackle plastic pollution.
Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution
- The Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, established in 2017, announced it had grown to more than 100 businesses and governments, including five G7 nations. UNICEF, OHCHR and WFP became the first international organizations to join.
- Meanwhile, the Network also welcomed the countries of Colombia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates as Affiliated Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution — independent institutions committed to helping shape and pilot policies for emerging technology, such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.
- The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh announced it was to adopt the Network’s Advanced Drone Operator’s Toolkit: a policy framework developed in collaboration with 10 civil aviation authorities, eight international governmental organizations and 23 private companies, including the governments of Rwanda and Switzerland. The move paves the way for Andhra Pradesh to scale up commercial drone activity.
- The C4IR Japan launched a new global initiative focused on accelerating the responsible and sustainable development of smart cities – a coalition of G20 cities will be formed to help ensure that global smart city efforts are built upon a common set of human-centred principles and shared policy frameworks.
- A pilot project to protect airports and other critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks was launched at the Annual Meeting. Willis Towers Watson will be the first to pilot.
- Members of the Forum’s Platform for Good Digital Identity announced plans for supply chain pilots that bring together digital identity and digital payments to improve transparency, accelerate financial and digital inclusion of smallholder producers and directly rewarding them for sustainable practices.
- The ID2020 Alliance launched a digital identity Certification Mark, to incentivise the design and use of digital identity solutions that adhere to the highest standards of privacy protection, user control and interoperability.
On the Forum’s platform for Public-Private Cooperation
- With financial backing from PACT and the Children’s Investment Fund and backed by 25 civil society organizations, the Forum launched a new initiative, Preparing Civil Society for the Fourth Industrial Revolution aimed at helping civil society to meet the challenges presented to it by rapid technological change.
- A group of international businesses teamed to launch Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality. Members of the Partnership agree to operationalize the UN’s LGBTI Standards of Conduct worldwide across their business by 2020. The Partnership plans to enlist at least 50 other member companies by 2020.
- The Forum teamed with the World Bank and International Committee of the Red Cross to launch a High-Level Group on Humanitarian Investing to unlock private sector capital for investment in fragile economies.
- 25 global businesses announced they would work with Terracycle, a recycling specialist, to launch the Loop Alliance Initiative, a new concept of reusable packaging. The scheme which will involve customers paying a refundable deposit for the durable packaging with no extra fee for collection, will recover the environmental costs of production after three or four uses.
- The Wellcome Trust committed $200 million over 5 years to improving our basic understanding of depression and anxiety. The research will concentrate on psychological therapies that can be delivered early in life and early in the onset of illness, as mental health problems typically start at a young age.
- A new public-private partnership was announced between the government of Ghana and Novartis to improve and extend the lives of sickle cell disease in the country. Approximately 1,000 children are born with SCD in Africa every day and over half die of before their fifth birthday.
- The Global Youth Alliance was launched at the Annual Meeting by Facebook, Nestle and Nielsen to support skills for young people in emerging and developed countries
- Valuable 500, a new campaign aimed at releasing the social and economic potential of the 1.3 billion people around the world who live with a disability. This campaign will seek to sign up 500 global businesses to commit to putting disability on their board agendas in 2019.
- Rwanda became the first African country to join Alibaba’s global trading platform, which is aimed at increasing ecommerce in emerging markets.
- Google and SAP announced Circular Economy 2030, a $400,000 competition to support entrepreneurs that promote sustainable consumption and production.
- Eight global universities committed to establish a new community, the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) with the goal of collaborating on promoting measures the support the United Nations conventions on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals. The eight: Australian National University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Cambridge; Imperial College London; London School of Economics and Political Science; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Tokyo, and; Tsinghua University intend to include more universities in the coming years.