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Stakeholder Capitalism: A Manifesto for a Cohesive and Sustainable World

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The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020, taking place on 21-24 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, will focus on establishing stakeholder capitalism as a way of addressing the world’s greatest challenges, from societal divisions created by income inequality and political polarization to the climate crisis we face today.

Underpinning the meeting will be the Davos Manifesto 2020. This document builds on the original Davos Manifesto of 1973, which set out for the first time the stakeholder concept that businesses should serve the interests of all society rather than simply their shareholders. The Davos Manifesto 2020 provides a vision for stakeholder capitalism that touches on a range of important issues of our time, including fair taxation, zero tolerance for corruption, executive pay and respect for human rights.

“Business has now to fully embrace stakeholder capitalism, which means not only maximizing profits, but use their capabilities and resources in cooperation with governments and civil society to address the key issues of this decade. They have to actively contribute to a more cohesive and sustainable world,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Building on the Manifesto 2020, this year’s programme focuses on achieving maximum impact on the Forum’s platform for public-private cooperation across six core areas of activity: Ecology, Economy, Society, Industry, Technology and Geopolitics. More than 160 individual initiatives, each capable of delivering system-wide transformation, are active on the Forum platform. Significant advances in a number of these, especially in the fields of responsible business, the environment and social mobility, are expected to be confirmed during the meeting.

Among the initiatives to be launched at the Annual Meeting is one that aims to plant 1 trillion trees over the next decade and to equip 1 billion people with the necessary skills in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More details on this and the others will be disclosed at the meeting. To learn more about the Forum’s Lighthouse initiatives, click here.

Nearly 3,000 leaders will participate in this year’s Annual Meeting. Top political leaders taking part include:

Donald Trump, President of the United States of America; Han Zheng, Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China; Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany; Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy; H.R.H. The Prince of Wales; Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister of Spain; Simonetta Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation; Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Sebastian Kurz, Federal Chancellor of Austria; Ivan Duque, President of Colombia; Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Lenin Moreno Garcés, President of Ecuador; Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland; Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana; Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece; Barham Salih, President of Iraq; Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland; Omar Al Razzaz, Prime Minister of Jordan; Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia; Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan; Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority; Andrzej Duda, President of Poland; Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore; Kais Saied, President of Tunisia; Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine.

Leaders from international organizations include:

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO); Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary-General, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); David Beasley, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP); Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Liu Fang, Secretary-General, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO); Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank; Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank; Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO); Jürgen Stock, Secretary-General, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL); and Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

More than 1,680 leaders from the private sector will participate in the Annual Meeting this year, including Members and Partners of the World Economic Forum.

Leaders from civil society taking part in the meeting include:

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC); Micah White, Co-Creator, Occupy Wall Street; Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch; Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International; David Miliband, President, International Rescue Committee; Seth F. Berkley, Chief Executive Officer, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT); and His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.

This year over 120 of our civic-minded young leaders will join as members of the our Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders, and Social Entrepreneur communities. We will also welcome 10 leaders under the age of 20 representing the viewpoints of younger generations. For more information on these young teenage changemakers, click here.

Adding a new dimension this year is the Arts and Culture Festival. Running alongside the Annual Meeting, the Festival will feature a number of sessions and immersive art installations, including those featuring the participation of the winners of the 26th Annual Crystal Awards and our Cultural Leaders.

The 50th Annual Meeting will also be climate-neutral for the fourth consecutive year. New initiatives to boost resource efficiency and reduce emissions will build on the Forum’s 2018 ISO 20121 certification for sustainable event management. Learn more about our strategy and efforts here.

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Philippines drug campaign directive seen as ‘permission to kill’

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Housing in Tondo, Manila, Philippines. (file) Danilo Pinzon/World Bank

A campaign to eradicate illegal drugs in the Philippines that began in 2016 has led to the killing of at least 8,600 people but the real figure could be three times that number, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Thursday. In a report citing “near-impunity” for the killings, which have continued along with other alleged abuses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN office noted that the High Commissioner for Human Rights stood ready to assist “credible efforts towards accountability”, both nationally and internationally.

“The Philippines faces major challenges – structural poverty, inequality, armed conflict, frequent natural disasters, and now the COVID-19 crisis”, Michelle Bachelet said in a statement, adding that it was “vital the Government’s responses be grounded in human-rights approaches…Unfortunately, the report has documented deep-seated impunity for serious human rights violations, and victims have been deprived of justice for the killings of their loved ones. Their testimonies are heartbreaking.”

‘Neutralization’ of suspects

According to the report – mandated by the Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2019 amid widespread international concern – police forces received a “command circular” containing terminology referring to the “negation” and “neutralization” of drug suspects, echoing pledges made by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“This ominous-sounding language was never really defined in this command circular, but this language, coupled with verbal encouragement at the highest level of government for police to kill drug suspects, may have been interpreted as permission to kill”, co-author Ravina Shamdasani said.

She noted that raids on private households were routinely carried out without warrants, while police reports where alleged drug suspects had been killed, shared “very similar

language”, raising the question whether they had been completed “pro forma”, rather than describing operations as they really happened.

Self-defence in question

Ms. Shamdasani also highlighted police claims of “self-defence” after it was found that officers “repeatedly recovered guns bearing the same serial numbers from different victims in different locations”, suggesting some victims were unarmed at the time of their killing.

Arrests of suspected drug offenders have also contributed to a 534 per cent prison congestion rate – among the highest in the world, the UN report noted.

Anti-terror law ‘makes things much worse’

The report also warned that proposed new anti-terror legislation grants even more sweeping powers to security services.

Among Government proposals are extensions to the length of time individuals can be held for questioning without warrant, from three days to potentially more than three weeks.

“This new proposed anti-terrorism law makes it much worse,” Ms. Shamdasani insisted. “There is much more discretion given to the authorities in their designation of individuals and organisations as terrorists, there is really not the opportunity for individuals to present their case (and) there’s no explicit provision, mandating a hearing.”

These concerns come amid a backdrop of “the vilification of dissent”, the UN official continued, along with attacks against those critical of the authorities that the report insists are “increasingly institutionalized and normalized in ways that will be very difficult to reverse”.

Civil society victims

According to OHCHR, between 2015 and 2019, at least 248 human rights defenders, legal professionals, journalists and trade unionists, have been killed in relation to their work in the Philippines.

Highlighting reports of death threats and the harassment of human rights defenders, Ms. Shamdasani explained that this included posters “that are plastered across, for example, Negros Island, where human rights defenders are called terrorists. They are ‘red tagged’ and they’re equated with the terrorist wing, the armed wing of the Communist Party…In

many of these posters, human rights defenders who were depicted were subsequently killed.”

Successive administrations had placed “an overarching focus on public order and national security” at the expense of human rights, Ms. Shamdasani said, suggesting that current Government policy represented a “continuum” of previous administrations.

“Of course, preventing and countering of violent extremism is important and tackling the impact of illicit drugs and crime is very important,” she explained, “but it is essential that this be done in line with the international human rights obligations of the State, in line with the due process rights of individuals, otherwise you are trying to resolve one issue by perpetrating massive human rights violations.”

COVID lockdown enforcement

The arrival of the new coronavirus had not caused a change in Government security policy, the report noted, with killings confirmed of drug suspects and human rights defenders in the first four months of the year.

“The violations that we document in the report are very much ongoing”, said Ms. Shamdasani. “The killing and the campaign against illegal drugs are not over, even in the context of the COVID pandemic.”

Attacks against human rights defenders and raids on the houses of civil society activists have continued, the OHCHR official added, along with the filing of sedition charges against political opponents and the criminalisation of dissent on social media.

“There are also concerns about the use of force in the enforcement of quarantine”, she said. “We’ve seen worrying reports of people being humiliated, there was one report of young people being held in dog cages in the sun” for breaking curfew.

The OHCHR report is based on 893 written submissions, with substantial input from the Government of the Philippines, analysis of legislation, police reports, court documents, videos, photos and other open source material, as well as interviews with victims and witnesses.

It is due to be discussed at the next UN Human Rights Council session. 

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India must follow Supreme Court orders to protect 100 million migrant workers

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Migrant workers in India cook a meal. World Bank/Curt Carnemark

The Indian Government must urgently comply with a Supreme Court order to ensure the wellbeing of more than 100 million migrant workers, after coronavirus measures left them jobless, forcing them to travel long distances home, UN independent human rights experts said on Thursday.

“We are appalled at the disregard shown by the Indian Government towards internal migrant laborers, especially those who belong to marginalized minorities and lower castes”, said the Special Rapporteurs on the right to housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, and on extreme poverty, Olivier De Schutter.

Instead of protecting their rights, the experts maintained that the Government has not only failed to address migrants’ “dire humanitarian situation” but further exacerbated their vulnerability, “with police brutality and by failing to stop their stigmatization as ‘virus carriers’”.

Heed the Supreme Court

After losing their income and with many migrants forced by their landlords to vacate their homes, the experts said many were living in intolerable conditions, hungry and without shelter, saying: “We hope the Supreme Court order will be promptly implemented and help to dramatically improve the situation of internal migrant workers”.

The Supreme Court has ordered the Government to properly register them, ensure free transportation and provide the migrants with shelter, food and water until they reach their homes. 

Moreover, railway companies are mandated to ensure trains are available to transport them back to home villages, as requested by the Government.

Inadequate relief 

Many internal migrants have also been assaulted by police for violating the sudden lockdown orders put in place by the Indian Government on 24 March, which, that took no account of the difficulties many vulnerable people faced in complying with them.

“While we applaud the Government’s efforts so far to provide ‘relief packages’ for people living in poverty, and to schedule extra train rides, these have been clearly inadequate and insufficient due to the vast majority of internal migrant workers not qualifying for relief packages, and the lack of coordination among state governments for the transportation of internal migrants”, the independent experts said.

Although the scale of the COVID-19 crisis in India is “testing the Government’s commitment to protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society”, they maintained that by urgently assisting internal migrant workers, in compliance with Supreme Court’s order, “it will give the Government the opportunity to show its willingness to comply with its responsibilities under human rights law.”

The experts’ call, also conveyed directly to the Indian Government, has been endorsed by Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri; the Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health, Dainius Pūras; and the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

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Environment

May confirmed as warmest on record, CO2 levels hit new high despite COVID economic slowdown

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Last month was the warmest May on record and carbon dioxide levels also hit a new high despite the economic slowdown from COVID-19, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday, in an urgent appeal for Member States to renew their efforts to tackle climate threats.

“Governments are going to invest in recovery, and there’s an opportunity to tackle the climate as part of the recovery programme”, said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Opportunities ahead

He added that if this course of action was taken, “there was an opportunity to start bending the curve (on emissions) in the coming five years”.

The appeal coincides with World Environment Day, celebrated annually on 5 June, and a warning that warmer temperatures and higher greenhouse gas concentrations will have a major impact on biodiversity, socio-economic development and human well-being.

Echoing the call that it is time to grow back greener and build back better for people and the planet, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that Nature was “sending us a clear message: we are harming the natural world – to our own detriment. Habitat degradation and biodiversity loss are accelerating.”

Climate and coronavirus

“Climate disruption is getting worse. Fires, floods, droughts and superstorms are more frequent and damaging,” said the UN chief. “Oceans are heating and acidifying, destroying coral ecosystems. And now, a new coronavirus is raging, undermining health and livelihoods. To care for humanity, we must care for nature.”

Any industrial and economic slowdown from COVID-19 is no substitute for sustained, coordinated action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Taalas explained. 

This is because gases such as carbon dioxide and methane last in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, so any short-term effects seen during lockdown is not expected to have a long-term benefit.

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