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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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Environment

New project to help 30 developing countries tackle marine litter scourge

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Litter is removed from a beach in Watamu in Kenya. UNEP/Duncan Moore

A UN-backed initiative aims to turn the tide on marine litter, in line with the global development goal on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources. 

The GloLitter Partnerships Project will support  30 developing countries in preventing and reducing marine litter from the maritime transport and fisheries sectors, which includes plastic litter such as lost or discarded fishing gear. 

The project was launched on Thursday by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with initial funding from Norway. 

Protecting oceans and livelihoods 

“Plastic litter has a devastating impact on marine life and human health”, said Manuel Barange, FAO’s Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture.  “This initiative is an important step in tackling the issue and will help protect the ocean ecosystem as well as the livelihoods of those who depend on it.” 

Protecting the marine environment is the objective of Sustainable Development Goal 14, part of the 2030 Agenda to create a more just and equitable future for all people and the planet. 

The GloLitter project will help countries apply best practices for the prevention and reduction of marine plastic litter, in an effort to safeguard the world’s coastal and marine resources. 

Actions will include encouraging fishing gear to be marked so that it can be traced if lost or discarded at sea. Another focus will be on the availability and adequacy of port reception facilities and their connection to national waste management systems.  

“Marine litter is a scourge on the oceans and on the planet”, said Jose Matheickal, Head of the IMO’s Department for Partnerships and Projects. “I am delighted that we have more than 30 countries committed to this initiative and working with IMO and FAO to address this issue.” 

Five regions represented 

The nations taking part in the GloLitter project are in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. 

They will also receive technical assistance and training, as well as guidance documents and other tools to help enforce existing regulations. 

The project will promote compliance with relevant international instruments, including the Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear, and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which contains regulations against discharging plastics into the sea.

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Development

Climate Finance: Climate Actions at Center of Development and Recovery

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) called access to climate finance a key priority for Asia and the Pacific as governments design and implement a green and resilient recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Speaking at the United Kingdom Climate and Development Ministerial—one of the premier events leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November—ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said expanding access to finance is critical if developing economies in Asia and the Pacific are to meet their Paris Agreement goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.

“We can no longer take a business-as-usual approach to climate change. We need to put ambitious climate actions at the center of development,” Mr. Asakawa said. “ADB is committed to supporting its developing member countries through finance, knowledge, and collaboration with other development partners, as they scale up climate actions and push for an ambitious outcome at COP 26 and beyond.”

ADB is using a three-pronged strategy to expand access to finance for its developing members as they step up their response to the impacts of climate change.

First, ADB has an ambitious corporate target to ensure 75% of the total number of its committed operations support climate change mitigation and adaptation by the end of the decade, with climate finance from ADB’s own resources to reach $80 billion cumulatively between 2019 and 2030. ADB has also adopted explicit climate targets under its Asian Development Fund (ADF), which provides grant financing to its poorest members. ADF 13, which covers the period of 2021–2024, will support climate mitigation and adaption in 35% of its operations by volume and 65% of its total number of projects by 2024.

Second, ADB is enhancing support for adaptation and resilience that goes beyond climate proofing physical infrastructure to promote strong integration of ecological, social, institutional, and financial aspects of resilience into ADB’s investments.

Third, ADB is increasing its focus on supporting the poorest and most vulnerable communities in its developing member countries by working with the United Kingdom, the Nordic Development Fund, and the Green Climate Fund on a community resilience program to scale up the quantity and quality of climate adaptation finance in support of local climate adaptation actions.

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Human Rights

Migrants left stranded and without assistance by COVID-19 lockdowns

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At least 30,000 migrants are stranded at borders in West Africa according to the UN. IOM/Monica Chiriac

Travel restrictions during the COVID pandemic have been particularly hard on refugees and migrants who move out of necessity, stranding millions from home, the UN migration agency, IOM, said on Thursday. 

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the first year of the pandemic saw more than 111,000 travel restrictions and border closures around the world at their peak in December.  

These measures “have thwarted many people’s ability to pursue migration as a tool to escape conflict, economic collapse, environmental disaster and other crises”, IOM maintained. 

In mid-July, nearly three million people were stranded, sometimes without access to consular assistance, nor the means to meet their basic needs.  

In Panama, the UN agency said that thousands were cut off in the jungle while attempting to travel north to the United States; in Lebanon, migrant workers were affected significantly by the August 2020 explosion in Beirut and the subsequent surge of COVID-19 cases. 

Business as usual 

Border closures also prevented displaced people from seeking refuge, IOM maintained, but not business travellers, who “have continued to move fairly freely”, including through agreed ‘green lanes’, such as the one between Singapore and Malaysia.  

By contrast, those who moved out of necessity – such as migrant workers and refugees – have had to absorb expensive quarantine and self-isolation costs, IOM said, noting that in the first half of 2020, asylum applications fell by one-third, compared to the same period a year earlier.  

Unequal restrictions 

As the COVID crisis continues, this distinction between those who can move and those who cannot, will likely become even more pronounced, IOM said, “between those with the resources and opportunities to move freely, and those whose movement is severely restricted by COVID-19-related or pre-existing travel and visa restrictions and limited resources”. 

This inequality is even more likely if travel is allowed for anyone who has been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19, or for those with access to digital health records – an impossibility for many migrants. 

Health risks 

Frontier lockdowns also reduced options for those living in overcrowded camps with high coronavirus infection rates in Bangladesh and Greece, IOM’s report indicated.  

In South America, meanwhile, many displaced Venezuelans in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil, lost their livelihoods and some have sought to return home – including by enlisting the services of smugglers. 

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