Monday, February 2, 2009

World Economic Forum highlights centrestage role of the Middle East in ‘Shaping the post-crisis world’

Dubai, UAE; February 2, 2009: The 39th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters concluded its deliberations, today, highlighting the centrestage role that the Middle East region will play in ‘Shaping the Post-Crisis World.’

Nearly 100 government heads and business leaders from the Middle East region attended the five-day summit in Davos-Klosters, participating in panel discussions and generating healthy debates on topics as wide-ranging as Sovereign Wealth Fund management to sustainable development.

The deliberations and call for action taken up at Davos-Klosters will be further revisited at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2009 to be held from May 15 to 17 at the Dead Sea, Jordan under the theme ‘Home-grown Strategies for Global Success.’ The Middle East meet will focus on the role of the region in addressing critical global challenges ranging from systematic financial risk to resource management and political extremism.

Subsequently, government heads, business leaders and civil society leaders will meet in Dubai from November 20 to 22 for the 2009 Global Agenda Summit. Dubai is hosting the Global Agenda Summit for the second consecutive year. The event is essentially a closed door meet of 70 specialist councils of over 1,000 subject experts, who will brainstorm the major global challenges and provide recommendations to policy makers.

The Davos-Klosters meeting put forth several reports that serve as effective pointers for future policy-making. Attended by more than 2,500 participants from 96 countries including 41 heads of state or government and over 1,500 business leaders, the meeting’s primary focus was on the current financial crisis and the ways to stablise and relaunch the global economy. Global risks including climate change, food and water security, as well as peace and security in the Middle East were key topics of discussion.

In one of the landmark initiatives, the governments of Qatar, Singapore and Switzerland extended their patronage to the creation of the Global Cooperation Project, an unprecedented multi-stakeholder, multi-media dialogue to develop a 21st century vision of a wider global co-operation system.

“There is a serious deficit in global cooperation when compared to the wide range of pressing challenges such as climate change, energy security, food security, terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons. With new players emerging on the world stage and a continuing mismatch between 20th century institutions and 21st century challenges, the international system needs to intensify collaboration and develop innovative solutions,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The report, ‘Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy Infrastructure,’ presented at the meeting warns that unless at least US$515 billion per annum is invested in clean energy between now and 2030, carbon emissions will reach a level deemed unsustainable by scientists, causing temperatures to rise by two degrees globally.

Another stark warning was on water use with experts reiterating that “water is the nexus linking together a web of food, energy, climate, economic growth and human security.” A report released at the meeting states that many places in the world are on the verge of “water bankruptcy” following a series of regional water “bubbles” over the past 50 years that fuelled economic growth.

The meeting also highlighted the need to finish the long-stalled Doha Round of multilateral trade talks, with trade officials and academic experts, stating that it is “the single most valuable step global leaders can take to keep the current economic crisis from triggering a destructive protectionist backlash.”

Participants at the meeting will continue their discussions about the key issues on the global agenda in a new virtual network WELCOM (the World Economic Leaders Community), a social network exclusively reserved for the Partners and Members of the World Economic Forum.

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