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Shifting Priorities for World’s Biggest Brainstormers, Survey Reveals

Oliver Cann, Associate Director, Media Relations, Tel.: +41 79 799 3405; E-mail:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 13 November 2012 – Members of the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils have revealed in a survey that the issues which concern them most in 2012 have changed markedly in the past 12 months. According to the annual Survey on the Global Agenda, released today at the Network’s annual meeting in Dubai, members saw the crumbling eurozone as the most significant trend of 2012. Two other trends, a lack of global leadership and global interdependency, which had been regarded as low priority in 2011, have also risen steeply to prominence.

The prospect of a break-up of the Eurozone only featured at 28th place in 2011’s Survey. Last year’s top trend, the public debt crisis, falls to 10th place. Such a shift in priorities among the 850 Council members surveyed suggests that experts now contemplate a considerable political as well as financial fall-out from the crisis, as eurozone countries continue to struggle to keep public debt levels in check.

“In early summer the heads of state have finally acknowledged that fiscal adjustment and structural reforms alone are not enough to establish market confidence.  The movement towards a banking union, which started with the June European Council, constitutes a second key element which stabilized markets,” said Daniel Gros, Director, Centre for European Policy Studies and a member of the Global Agenda council on Europe.

In a year in which peace efforts broke down in Syria, and amid continued frustration at the failure to address climate change, reignite trade talks or make progress on Millennium Development Goals, the survey respondents judged lack of leadership as the sixth most prominent trend, up from 24th position in 2011.

Yet despite the failure of many institutions at the global level to make progress on key goals, the survey’s 850 respondents nevertheless saw increasing global interdependency (7th) as the other key dynamic in 2012. Businesses, governments and civil society continued to be brought together by increasing globalization, which climbed steeply from its 20th place ranking in 2011.

“This year’s survey highlights interesting developments between 2011 and 2012 and suggests that last year’s top trend, the public debt crisis, has evolved into wider concern about the future of the Eurozone itself,” said Martina Gmür, Senior Director and Head of the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils. “But the survey also uncovers pockets of optimism, such as yet untapped opportunities for digital communications to have a transformative effect on economic, societal and governance issues.”

The annual Summit on the Global Agenda, dubbed the “world’s biggest brainstorm”, brings together nearly 1,000 thought leaders from across all regions of the world and all walks of life with the view to share ideas on how to overcome the most pressing global challenges. The Co-Chairs of the Summit on the Global Agenda 2012 are Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates and Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi, Director-General, Department of Economic Development of the Government of Dubai.

Notes to Editors


The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (