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.
Global collaboration is key to recovery and achieving the SDGs
The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the advancement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It is creating many challenges, yet also it unveils opportunities to build back better. In this context, inclusive and sustainable industrial development, which is at the core of SDG9, is expected to play a critical role in overcoming the crisis and setting countries back on the path of economic development.
The achievement of the SDGs in a post-COVID-19 world will require a holistic approach, including strong commitments towards the promotion of structural changes across all sectors of society. In this context, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) jointly organized a virtual event that addressed how the pandemic is impacting the SDGs, specifically SDG 9, and the Agenda 2030
UNIDO’s Director General, LI Yong, opened up the event by emphasizing how Agenda 2030 is and still should be the roadmap to recovery. He also touched on the importance of achieving SDG9 to create a more sustainable industrial future and the need for reliable statistics and data, including UNIDO’s Industrial Analytics Platform and SDSN’s new data platform, SDGs Today. Li stated, “We must seize the opportunity to use the disruptive impact of the pandemic on the global economy to seek collaborative solutions to drive the 2030 Agenda.”
Gerhard Küntzle, Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN in Vienna, stated, “It is crystal clear that we must make the next ten years a decade of action and aim to mainstream evidence-based policymaking in the development agenda.”
SDSN President, Jeffrey Sachs, highlighted the need for global collaboration, and how the world should turn toward six transformation pathways to achieve the SDGs amidst the pandemic. Sachs specifically highlighted the need for the first transformation relating to education, gender and inequality, and the sixth transformation relating to a Digital Revolution for Sustainable Development.
“No child can have a future without education,” Sachs said, noting how access to the tools for free digital education for children is achievable with the right global collaboration.
Lastly, Sachs highlighted the need for decarbonizing industry: “Renewable energy is our theme and we must get to zero.”
As Ethiopia has undergone an industrial revolution from agricultural to manufacturing, the next speaker, Arkebe Oqubay, Minister and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, discussed lessons learned for the world to apply to achieve progress toward the SDGs. Oqubay highlighted three lessons: 1) Leadership and policymaking will need to be redefined in the new environment; 2) A commitment to green and carbon-neutral industrialization is vital; 3) Smart technologies will enable the wider application and use of green industries.
Last but not least, Professor Oqubay noted that global collaboration has become the foundation for averting global threats and maximizing opportunities.
Ann Rosenberg, co-founder of SDG Ambition UNGC, provided aprivate sector perspective and echoed Oqubay’s insights that all companies need to redefine production lines and industries. She said, “The hope from larger companies is that these smaller businesses and entrepreneurs will come up with new, redefined ways of doing things…There is a collective responsibility for everyone to help.”
Rosenberg stated that it is up to countries to figure out how to collaborate and how to access technology, so that all companies can advance industrially and toward the SDGs. Moreover, Rosenberg highlighted the need for tools to know where we are, so we know how we can close the gap to achieve the SDGs.
Ambassador Martha Lungu Mwitumwa, Permanent Representative of Zambia to UNIDO and to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, remarked on the need for more concentrated efforts towards achieving the SDGs, “With the crisis upon us, it will be far more difficult for Least Developed Countries and other low-income countries to achieve SDG 9. In this Decade of Action, we – as Ambassadors in Geneva – have a crucial role to play, in advocating the importance of industry and innovation, in mobilizing more resources towards it, and in fostering partnerships for leveraging trade, investment and technology to achieve that goal. And, as representatives of our countries to key UN institutions, we can foster greater UN coherence in these matters.”
It was clear that all panellists agreed that global collaboration is imperative to take the world through the recovery from COVID-19. Once out of recovery, panellists stressed how the focus should be on embracing the new, digital world to further three key initiatives: to bring access to education for all, to build sustainable industrialization, and to reach net-zero emissions.
Make the Reskilling Revolution a Priority in the Recovery
“There has been a lot of talk during the last few years, but very, very limited action” on education, reskilling and upskilling efforts, said Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer, Adecco Group, Switzerland, in a session on Transforming Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit today. “Efforts must include a range of stakeholders “because reskilling, upskilling and training are not [just] an individual question or a business questions or a governmental question.”
The Palestinian National Authority has launched a novel effort aimed at “the rehabilitation of university graduates” through entrepreneurship, said Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. Many graduates end up unemployed because their degrees did not provide them with marketable skills. “We are teaching them to become computer coders, and we have introduced other vocational training courses,” he said. “Students must stop relying on a job with the private sector or a job with the government. I want them to be self-employed.”
“I’m so glad to hear that we have a national leader who really recognizes that entrepreneurship education is a priority, and it’s something which can be taught,” said Asheesh Advani, President and Chief Executive Officer, JA Worldwide, USA.
Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School, United Kingdom, agreed, adding that efforts to accelerate advances in education, training, reskilling and upskilling must be a multistakeholder effort, and inclusive: “Otherwise, in 10 years’ time, we won’t have the right people sitting in the right jobs.” She noted that such efforts should “leverage technology” and that new credentials need to be established and recognized for the attainment of emerging skills.
Inclusion should extend beyond diversity “to include young boys and girls growing up across the world,” said Mariéme Jamme, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, iamtheCODE, United Kingdom. “The starting point is actually to make sure their human rights are respected” and then giving them the tools they will need in the workplace.
“With today’s kids, the thing they want to learn most … are things like coding and computer science,” said Hadi Partovi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Code.org, USA. “Computer science and entrepreneurship are not only the skills that students need the most, but also the things they want the most.”
With regard to credentials, Advani noted that they are partnering with employers to recognize a new micro-credential, encouraging young people to add it to their online jobs profile, and working with governments to get access to schools.
Advani also noted that “Even after doing an entrepreneurship programme, [students] don’t become entrepreneurs. Soft skills, communication skills and adaptability skills become so important in the job market, knowing that young people are going to have potentially seven careers” during their lifetime.
Among the initiatives launched at the summit, government officials in Turkey today announced the launch of a Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator, joining 10 countries through the Forum platform in applying a similar framework to rapidly upskilling their workforce.
“Rapid technological progress, globalization and now COVID-19 are revolutionizing how we work. There will be a new set of skills needed to adapt and prosper. As policy-makers, we are obliged to ensure a smooth and equal transition that works for all. I trust that the Accelerator Network will further enhance real sector collaboration among nations. Turkey is ready to capture the opportunities of the new normal with its favourable demographics, flexible and skilled workforce,” said Mustafa Varank, Minister of Industry and Technology of Turkey.
“In today’s world where information and technology are changing rapidly, technology has gained a great momentum to become the new normal of our daily life with the pandemic process. This rapid momentum has made it inevitable to integrate new skills into our lives. This skills change will take place with a qualified education and, in this context, everyone from public institutions to non-governmental organizations has a great duty. I believe that the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Programme will play a role in strengthening cooperation in the new normal process and triggering the power of learning together,” said Ziya Selçuk, Minister of Education of Turkey.
“By adopting an industry-oriented workforce transformation approach and seizing the demographic window of opportunity, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services strives to prepare Turkey to meet the future labour market needs and challenges. With a view to leaving no one behind, we will improve the use of technology, ensure more productive and safer workplaces for emerging new types of work, and improve the digital skills of our workers within the perspective of tripartite dialogue,” said Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services of Turkey.
In January 2020, the World Economic Forum launched the Reskilling Revolution, a multistakeholder initiative aiming to provide better education, new skills and better work to 1 billion people around the world by 2030. It serves as a platform for connecting and coordinating initiatives within specific countries, industries, organizations and schools. In the past months, it has supported stakeholders in adjusting their efforts to the new context of the pandemic and promoted rapid exchange of best practices between initiatives. We invite leaders and organizations to contribute to the platform.
Step up action to achieve COVID-19 ceasefire- Guterres
The UN’s 75th anniversary this Saturday, which falls as countries continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, is an opportunity to accelerate action to achieve a global ceasefire during the crisis, Secretary-General António Guterres has said.
The UN chief initially issued the appeal for combatants to lay down their arms shortly after the pandemic was declared in March.
“Now is the time for a stepped-up push for peace to achieve a global ceasefire. The clock is ticking.”
UN mission ‘more critical than ever’
UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter, the Organization’s founding document.
The treaty outlines the UN’s goals of promoting human dignity, protecting human rights and saving humanity from conflict.
That founding mission “is more critical than ever”, said the Secretary-General.
Also crucial is the need to “make peace with our planet”, he added, stating “We must mobilize the whole world to reach carbon neutrality – net zero emissions of greenhouse gasses by 2050.”
Europe turns UN blue
Despite the constraints imposed by the global pandemic, countries are celebrating the UN’s historic birthday.
More than 180 iconic buildings across Europe will be lit up in blue, the Organization’s official colour: from monuments to museums, to bridges and beyond.
The initiative is a symbolic attempt to unite people worldwide, and to promote peace, sustainable development and human rights.
As the Secretary-General stated, more must be done to end poverty, inequality, hunger and hatred, and to combat discrimination based on race, religion, gender or any other distinction.
He drew attention to the situation of women and girls, as the pandemic has led to “a horrific rise” in gender-based violence.
A blueprint for better recovery
The UN chief also underlined the need to “build on progress”, pointing to the global collaboration currently underway to develop a safe, affordable and accessible COVID-19 vaccine.
This banner year has also seen the start of a Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their promise of a better future for all people and the planet.
For Mr. Guterres, the 17 SDGs provide an inspiring blueprint for recovering better after the pandemic.
Solidarity and a shared vision
Although the world faces colossal challenges, the UN chief was adamant that they can be overcome through global solidarity and cooperation, saying: “That’s what the United Nations is all about.”
Mr. Guterres asked people everywhere to unite on this UN anniversary.
“Together, let us uphold the enduring values of the United Nations Charter”, he declared. “Let us build on our advances across the decades. Let us realize our shared vision of a better world for all.”
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