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‘Summer Davos’ To Focus on Preparing Leaders for New Era of Globalization

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More than 1,800 leaders from government, business, civil society, academia and the arts come together in Dalian next week for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019.

Themed Leadership 4.0: Succeeding in a New Era of Globalization, the meeting will spur leaders to find new strategic models to adapt to the world’s environmental challenges, regional competition, economic disparities and technological disruption.

“We are entering into a new phase of globalization which we may call Globalization 4.0. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will shape the next years of global cooperation. In Dalian at our Annual Meeting of the New Champions, we will look for solutions to ensure that our future is human-centred, inclusive, and sustainable,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The latest game-changing technologies and China’s dynamic innovation eco-system give context to the programme’s Achieving Technology Leadership track with sessions including, Scaling up Strategic Technologies, Tech Power Play and Using 5G Responsibly.

The Sustainable Economic Leadership track includes China Economic Outlook, Going Beyond a Trade War and ASEAN Deep Dive: Youth and the Future of Jobs – against a backdrop of 60% global economic growth coming from emerging markets.

The effects of climate change are predicted to generate losses of $43 trillion between now and the end of the century and 82% of last year’s wealth went to the world’s richest 1%. The third programme track, Promoting Responsible Leadership, urges action on the need for more inclusive and sustainable economies to address these challenges. Sessions include, Climate Change: The Next Financial Crisis?, Rethinking Capitalism and How to Tax Global Business.

A fourth programme track, Fostering Agile Industry Leadership, sees business leaders and policymakers harness the disruptive power of technology to remain competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Sessions include Is Organic Growth Dead?, Smarter Industrial Policy and Accelerating the Cleantech Transition.

With 70% of all participants coming from outside Greater China, this year’s 13th Annual Meeting brings together a record number of international participants. There are over 120 countries represented, more than 25% of participants are women and there are at least 130 academic leaders from around the world.

“Over the last 13 years, the Annual Meeting of the New Champions has established itself as the leading international summit for fostering strategic cooperation between the next generation of leaders and those from diverse regions, countries and industries. This year we bring together the world’s leading innovators to develop the creative solutions and unique partnerships necessary to address the world’s shared challenges,” said David Aikman, Chief Representative Officer, China, World Economic Forum.

“2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China as well as the 40th anniversary of its engagement with the World Economic Forum. Economic globalization is an irreversible trend, of which China will continue to be a committed champion, joining hands with stakeholders to safeguard world economic openness and inclusion. China will also comprehensively strengthen its international cooperation in technology innovation and grasp new opportunities for technological revolution to promote its quality economic growth. At this Annual Meeting of the New Champions, we hope that through the sharing and exchange of views, participants from diverse communities will learn how to succeed in a new era of globalization, thus providing strong momentum for China’s quality economic growth and global well-being,” said Li Bin, Counsel, Department of International Cooperation, National Development and Reform Commission.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and it is also the key year for Dalian to achieve comprehensive and all-round revitalization. The Annual Meeting of the New Champions is going to be hosted in Dalian, which will not only showcase to the world China’s developments and achievements, share China’s experiences, and present China’s solutions, but also comprehensively demonstrate the city’s spirit, operation capabilities and service standard in the new era, so as to further raise up the city’s international popularity, reputation, and openness. Dalian will be dedicated to its mission to build up the platform and provide the services, in order to ensure a wonderful and successful meeting to the world,” said Jin Guowei, Vice Mayor of Dalian Municipal Government.

To complement 200 sessions and workshops, the Annual Meeting of the New Champions provides a platform for knowledge with the publication of research reports and other announcements. These include:

  • Emerging Technologies Top Ten: The Forum’s Expert Network delivers another prescient and much-anticipated list of the breakthrough technologies most likely to change our world.
  • Technology Pioneers Class of 2019: The Forum announces the 2019 cohort of early stage companies selected for their design, development and deployment of world-changing innovations and technologies.
  • Young Scientists Class of 2019: 21 of the brightest young scientific minds join the Forum’s community of Young Scientists.
  • Incentivizing Responsible and Secure Innovation: The Forum’s Centre for Cybersecurity publishes a new assessment tool to help technology investors map areas at high risk of a cyberattack.
  • Empowering 8 Billion Minds: Mental Health for All: The Forum’s Global Future Council on Neurotechnologies highlights the role technology is now playing in helping to address mental health concerns, mapping the areas for special focus and highlighting the ethical considerations for governments, policy makers and health leaders.

Senior political leaders attending from China include Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China; Wang

Zhigang, Minister of Science and Technology; Hao Peng, Chairman of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission; Xiao Yaqing, Minister of State Administration for Market Regulation; Zou Zhiwu, Vice-Minister of General Administration of Customs; Tang Yijun, Governor of Liaoning Province; Xu Qin, Governor of Hebei Province.

The Co-Chairs of the meeting, who will take an active role in a number of sessions, are: Enass Abo-Hamed, Fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering, Imperial College London, United Kingdom; Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Carlsberg Group, Denmark; Suphachai Chearavanont, Chief Executive Officer, CP Group, Thailand; Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer, The Adecco Group, Switzerland; Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, United Arab Emirates; Charles Li, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), Hong Kong SAR, China; Ning Gaoning, Chairman, Sinochem Group, People’s Republic of China; and Sin Yin Tan, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd, People’s Republic of China.

Other participants include more than 1,000 business leaders, with 100 founders and chief executive officers of the most exciting and innovative start-ups and representatives from arts and culture, academia and the media. More than 300 Social Entrepreneurs, Global Shapers and Young Global Leaders represent the Forum’s communities.

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Human Rights

Gugu Mbatha-Raw named latest UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

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British actor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who has been named as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador visited Uganda in 2019. © UNHCR/Caroline Irby

British actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw was on Wednesday appointed a global Goodwill Ambassador with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR

Ms. Mbatha-Raw highlighted the need to support refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to work in support of refugees and help amplify their voices. I am always amazed by their courage and strength in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds and it’s a real honour to play a part in sharing their stories”, she said

“The Covid crisis has made us all aware of the fragility of the lives we build and the importance of doing all we can to support those who have had to leave the place they call home”, she added. 

“The crisis has also taught us that, in this interconnected world, we are only as strong as the most vulnerable in society. Inclusion of refugees is vital in ensuring the wellbeing of whole communities.” 

Advocacy and engagement 

Ms. Mbatha-Raw is no stranger to UNHCR as she has been working as a High-Profile Supporter for the agency since 2018. 

She has spent time in the field, including visiting Burundian and Congolese refugees in Rwanda and Uganda, meeting with women who survived conflict-related sexual violence and also with youth living with albinism. 

The new Goodwill Ambassador has also taken part in UNHCR’s EveryOneCounts campaign, challenging xenophobia and advocating for stronger partnerships to find solutions to global displacement.  

She also contributed to the agency’s COVID-19 awareness appeal and to Films of Hope, a partnership between UNHCR and IMDb, the online movie database, to raise funds for the Covid Solidarity Appeal. 

The partnership continues 

 “We appreciate Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s heartfelt advocacy and support for refugees and welcome her to the UNHCR family. We look forward to continuing our work together to help raise attention on the issues and needs facing refugees”, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. 

“Now more than ever, in the context of the unprecedented impact of the COVID pandemic, the voices of refugees – some of the most marginalized and forgotten people on earth – need to be heard and amplified”. 

Ms. Mbatha-Raw is known for her award-winning role in the 2013 film Belle, and has starred in other projects, most recently The Morning Show

She will next be seen in Loki, the Marvel limited series set to premier in June on the Disney+ streaming service.

‘Belle’ and the slave trade

In 2014, the star visited UN Headquarters in New York to discuss her film role in ‘Belle’, as part of the organization’s commemorations of the devastating Transatlantic slave trade that year. Watch the video below for more details:

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UNIDO works to scale up the ICT start-up ecosystem in Iran

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photo: UNIDO

Together with its national counterparts from the Information Technology Organization of Iran’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies and in partnership with the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is taking the next step to implement the project, “Promoting and upscaling innovative SMEs in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

The project aims to nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem for ICT start-ups and scale-ups through international exposure and fostering technology and know-how exchange. In this context, a comprehensive dialogue between governmental institutions and leaders in the private sector has been launched, thereby providing a mechanism for Iranian startups to connect with institutional actors and successfully start scaling up.

An ICT ecosystem mapping exercise has revealed that Iran already possesses extensive scientific, technological, financial and highly qualified human capital to boost its SME sector. However, it is currently not living up to its potential and there is a need to provide a mechanism for establishing linkages with key stakeholders, including access to finance and relevant advisory support. This way the project builds competitiveness and supports the development of innovative enterprises.

Amir Nazemi, Deputy Minister at Iran’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, said, “Aiming to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment, Iran has made a considerable effort to develop a dynamic national innovation system and is moving steadily towards a knowledge- and innovation-based economy. As a result, our human capital is now comprises highly educated and motivated workforce, including scientists, entrepreneurs and business people. Knowledge-based entrepreneurship is a key tool in Iran for employment generation, providing new opportunities for labour market integration of young professionals and serving as a powerful impetus for knowledge-based development of the country’s economy as a whole.”

Based on the findings regarding the existing constraints and opportunities of the ICT sector, the UNIDO project team has proposed a roadmap that envisages short-, medium- and long-term interventions in both public and private sectors, addressing several problem areas, such as knowledge generation and transfer; access to finance; nurturing of entrepreneurial talent and skills, as well as stimulating interaction and collaboration within the ICT ecosystem.

“The level of engagement from prominent public and private sector representatives related to the ICT sector has demonstrated the importance such initiatives have in making the ecosystem for ICT startups more vibrant and sustainable,” said Maryam Javan Shahraki, UNIDO representative in Iran.

She added, “UNIDO looks forward to further extending our support to the government of Iran in its efforts to promote internationalization of ICT-related entrepreneurs through the virtual entrepreneurship hub that will become a major platform for knowledge exchange and support services for ICT startups, as well as facilitating partnerships with domestic and foreign partners and inter-institutional networking.”

As part of the public-private initiative, in cooperation with its national and international partners, UNIDO conducted a two-day workshop for major ICT sector stakeholders, including government entities, entrepreneurs and other key players, to present key findings of the initial phase of the project and the forthcoming action plan, while also providing an opportunity for a thorough exchange on how to reduce the existing  development gaps between science and industry thereby raising Iran’s profile as a knowledge-driven economy.

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EU Politics

Explainer: New EU strategy on adaptation to climate change

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1. What is the objective of the new EU Adaptation Strategy?

The Strategy outlines a long-term vision for the EU to become a climate-resilient society, fully adapted to the unavoidable impacts of climate change by 2050. Complementing the EU’s ambitious goal to become climate neutral by mid-century, this strategy aims to reinforce the adaptive capacity of the EU and the world and minimise vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement and the proposal for the European Climate Law. The new Strategy seeks to step up action across the economy and society in synergy with other Green Deal policies such as biodiversity protection and sustainable agriculture. This will be done by making adaptation smarter, swifter and more systemic, as well as stepping up international action on adaptation. This means improving our knowledge of climate impacts and adaptation solutions; stepping up adaptation planning and climate risk assessments; accelerating adaptation action; and helping to strengthen climate resilience globally. This strategy sets out a whole-economy approach, with particular consideration for those among us who are most vulnerable to guarantee that resilience is achieved in a just and fair way.

2. Why do we need a new EU Adaptation Strategy now?

Halting all greenhouse gas emissions today would still not prevent the climate change impacts that are already occurring. The severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our health and socio-economic wellbeing are a stark warning of the dangers of insufficient preparation. The frequency and severity of climate and weather extremes is increasing. They range from unprecedented forest fires and heatwaves to devastating droughts; and from hurricanes ravaging EU outermost regions to forests decimated by unprecedented bark beetle outbreaks in Central and Eastern Europe. Water shortages in the EU have affected economic activities as diverse as agriculture, aquaculture, tourism, power plant cooling, and cargo shipping on rivers. In the EU, economic losses from extreme weather already average over €12 billion per year.

While the 2013 EU Adaptation Strategy was positively evaluated in 2018, there is a need to deepen and to expand adaptation actions, e.g. to make data more uniform and accessible, to bridge the climate protection gap – the share of non-insured economic losses – and to scale up finance for climate adaptation in the EU and globally. The EU’s adaptive capacity needs to be reinforced in line with the Paris Agreement and the proposed European Climate Law. The strategy comes at an important moment, ahead of the COP26 in Glasgow, where adaptation to climate change will play a key role.

3. What actions are planned in the EU as part of the strategy?

The Strategy pursues three objectives and proposes a range of actions in order to meet them:

  • To make adaptation smarter – improving knowledge and availability of data, while managing the inherent uncertainty brought upon us by climate change; securing more and better data on climate-related risk and losses, and making Climate-ADAPT the authoritative European platform for adaptation knowledge.
  • To make adaptation more systemic – supporting policy development at all levels of governance, society and the economy and in all sectors by improving adaptation strategies and plans; integrating climate resilience in macro-fiscal policy, and promoting nature-based solutions for adaptation.
  • To speed up adaptation across the board – by accelerating the development and rollout of adaptation solutions; reducing climate-related risk; closing the climate protection gap , and ensuring the availability and sustainability of fresh water.

At the same time, the Commission will continue to provide guidelines, technical capacity and funding opportunities to help Member States, regions, and local administrations to develop and implement comprehensive adaptation strategies and actions. The Commission will also continue to mainstream adaptation by integrating climate change considerations into EU policies and programmes to make them climate resilient.

4. How does the Strategy integrate international action into its framework?

Our climate change adaptation ambition must match our global leadership in climate change mitigation. The Paris Agreement established the global goal on adaptation and highlighted adaptation as a key contributor to sustainable development. Adaptation is a crosscutting element in the EU and Member States’ external action, spanning development cooperation, migration, trade, agriculture and security. The EU already has a history of cooperating with other countries on climate adaptation at all levels, but the strategy brings this into a coherent framework around three actions:

  • increasing support for international climate resilience and preparedness, for example in support of the development and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (under the Paris Agreement) in partner countries;
  • scaling up international finance to build climate resilience, for example through the EU instruments for external action and leveraging private sector investments;
  • strengthening global engagement and exchanges, learning from our international partners who have long been on the frontlines of climate change and have valuable experience that can help Europe become more climate resilient and sharing information for example from the COPERNICUS programme.

The EU and its Member States increased their overall climate finance support to third countries by 7.4% in 2019, amounting to €21.9 billion, 52% of which was spent on helping our partners adapt to climate change. In order to close the climate change adaptation financing gap, the Commission will aim to increase resources and mobilise larger scale adaptation finance, including through innovative mechanisms such as the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus, as well as making resources available through bilateral channels and through the Member States.

5. Where can I find more information on adaptation in Europe?

The adaptation strategy aims to make Climate-ADAPT the authoritative European platform for adaptation knowledge, linking it up with other relevant knowledge portals and sources and making it more accessible for citizens, local governments and other stakeholders. Already today, Climate-ADAPT provides access to reliable data on the likely impacts of climate change, their socio-economic aspects, and the costs and benefits of adaptation options. Its continued development will give decision-makers vital support, and will help policy-makers at EU, national, regional and local levels to develop informed climate change adaptation measures and policies.

Climate-ADAPT will also host the new European Climate and Health Observatory. This Observatory will boost our awareness and understanding of the growing health risks, which climate change will entail, such as heat stress, food and water safety and security threats, or the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. It will help us to better anticipate and minimise these risks, and to improve our individual and collective preparedness.

6. What will Member States need to do under the new Strategy and how will progress be measured?

Adapting to climate change is a process. Discussions on standardised indicators that accurately capture progress are ongoing at EU and international level. The strategy aims to enlarge and make more accessible a toolbox that adaptation actors can use in their work and adapt to their individual needs, be they national, regional or local administrations, SMEs or individual citizens. To help informed decisions, the strategy promotes knowledge sharing and data availability. Adaptation reporting requirements for Member States are already set out in dedicated legislative instruments, such as the Energy Union Governance Regulations. The European Climate Law will, once adopted, also set out obligations for the EU and its Member States in this respect.

7. What EU-level resources are available for adaptation?

Financial support for adaptation is made available through the European Structural and Investment Funds, the Common Agricultural Policy, the LIFE Programme, and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The proposed Horizon Europe Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change will also leverage significant resources in the effort to make Europe climate resilient. The Commission will support the local uptake of data, digital and smart solutions related to climate adaptation. To help local authorities move from planning to action, the EU will pilot a policy support facility to assist local and regional authorities under the EU Covenant of Mayors.

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