Nature and Biodiversity

Highlights: What was discussed at Davos 2015?

Emma Benameur
Head, Impact and Engagement, and Head, Water Agenda; Member of Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
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Davos is a truly global meeting. Not just in terms of the participants we engage and the issues we address but also the attention we attract around the globe. Davos convenes leaders from all sectors and regions but ultimately it is about all of us, citizens of a global village that is both moving closer together and drifting further apart.

How do we generate inclusive and durable growth in the face of dramatic oil price shocks, deflation and renewed prospects of currency crises? How do we manage global challenges from climate change to transnational crime in a context of rising geopolitical tensions? How do we respond to the rise of nationalism, populism and extremism that divides societies around the world? How do we speed up technical and scientific progress for growth and human development?

These were some of the questions discussed at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, from 21-24 January 2015. Here is a day-by-day guide to some of the key sessions which took place, along with some multimedia highlights from the meeting.

The Annual Meeting Themes

The programme featured four big narratives under this year’s theme, which was “The New Global Context“.

Society and Security

Advanced and emerging economies alike need new ways of responding to shifting demands without further weakening social cohesion. The thematic track “society & security” explored how excessive wealth and income inequality can be tackled while stimulating growth and innovation, and how societies can avoid a vicious cycle of distrust, polarization and unrest.

Programme Highlights

Forum Debate: Leadership in Crisis
Inequality, polarization, paralysis: Is public leadership failing?
(José Manuel Barroso, Mauricio Cardenas, Nik Gowing, Moisés Naím, Anne-Marie Slaughter)

Confronting the Challenge of Catastrophic Outbreaks
What critical lessons can be learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak to prepare us for the future?
(Seth F. Berkley, Margaret Chan, Alpha Condé, Tony O. Elumelu, Paul Stoffels, Peter Piot)

The BBC World Debate: A Richer World, but for Whom?
Are existing growth models failing to deliver jobs and address income inequality?
(Winnie Byanyima, Evan Davis, Klaus Kleinfeld, Christine Lagarde, Bob Shiller, Martin Sorrell)

Yahoo News: Ending Poverty through Parity
A new set of development goals will be launched in 2015. How can investing in women and girls accelerate progress on the new goals?
(Katie Couric, Melinda Gates, Paul Kagame, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Paul Polman, Erna Solberg)


Innovation and Industry

Technological, demographic and economic forces are profoundly transforming industries and markets. From the sharing economy to the internet of things, the thematic track “innovation & industry” examined how businesses can disrupt rather than be the disrupted, and how industries should respond both to technological change and emerging opportunities.

Programme Highlights

The New Banking Context
How are regulatory changes, technological and business model innovation reshaping the global banking landscape?
(André Esteves, Stuart T. Gulliver, Anshu Jain, Liu Mingkang, Brian T. Moynihan, Stephanie Ruhle)

In Tech We Trust
How can trust in the hyperconnected company be preserved?
(Marc R. Benioff, Tim Berners-Lee, Vittorio Colao, Nik Gowing, Marissa Mayer, Günther H. Oettinger)

An Insight, An Idea with Jack Ma
A conversation with Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, on leadership, entrepreneurship and the future of commerce
(Jack Ma, Alibaba Group, Charlie Rose)

Global Science Outlook
How will science solve global problems and change our lives?
(Enrique Acevedo, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Francis S. Collins, France A. Córdova, Mario Molina, Konstantin Novoselov, Brian Schmidt)

Crisis and Cooperation

The continuing erosion of trust in public and private sector institutions, and the deteriorating dialogue between government and business globally is resulting in an inability to significantly improve the management and governance of critical global commons, most notably natural resources and cyberspace. The thematic track “crisis & cooperation” looked at the rise of geo-economic competition and its impact on economic growth and cooperation.

Programme Highlights

The Geo-Economics of Energy
How are energy producers and consumers adapting to increasing uncertainty?
(Abdalla Salem Badri, Fatih Birol, Claudio Descalzi, Arkady Dvorkovich, Khalid A. Falih, Dalia Grybauskaite, Daniel Yergin)

The Future of the Digital Economy
What is needed to ensure a thriving, open and secure digital economy?
(Satya Nadella, Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt, Klaus Schwab, Jim Hagemann Snabe)

Tackling Climate, Development and Growth
What resources and commitments are needed now to tackle climate change, development and growth?
(Ban Ki-moon, Jakaya M. Kikwete, Jim Yong Kim, Christine Lagarde, Paul Polman)

The Future of the Military
How should military forces adapt to future security threats?
(Espen Barth Eide, Wolfgang Ischinger, Ray Johnson, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, Rowsch N. Shaways)

Growth and Stability

Economic recovery after the financial crisis has been mainly the result of expansionary monetary policy. However, the ecological, societal and business repercussions of unabated climate change, youth unemployment and income inequality remain unresolved. The thematic track “growth & stability” explored how economic growth and regulatory models can become more dynamic, inclusive and resilient.

Programme Highlights

Volatility as the New Normal
Do safe havens still exist in the global economy or is volatility the new normal across all markets?
(Thorold Barker, Arkady Dvorkovich, Guillermo Ortiz, Kenneth Rogoff, Anthony Scaramucci, Zhou Xiaochuan)

Ending the Experiment
How are major markets responding to the end of quantitative easing and the prospect of higher interest rates in the United States?
(Ana Botín, Gary D. Cohn, Ray Dalio, Francine Lacqua, Christine Lagarde, Lawrence H. Summers)

Recharging Europe
What fiscal and monetary options will strengthen the European Union while delivering employment growth?
(Geoff Cutmore, Luis Guindos Jurado, George Osborne, Wolfgang Schäuble, George Soros, Ignazio Visco)

The Global Economic Outlook
What should be at the top of the agenda for the global economy in the year ahead?
(Mark J. Carney, Benoît Coeuré, Laurence Fink, Haruhiko Kuroda, Joaquim Levy, Min Zhu)

Regions in Focus

We explored in depth the social and political transformations occurring in all regions of the world. Here a small selection of regional sessions which took place at Davos 2015.

China’s Impact as a Global Investor
How is Chinese outbound investment influencing industries abroad?
(Justin Lin, Hu Shuli, Jin-Yong Cai, Rob Davies, Dong Mingzhu)

Achieving Africa’s Growth Agenda
With slower growth among Africa’s top trade and investment partners and key commodity prices falling dramatically, how are economic development strategies adjusting across the continent?
(Sunil Bharti Mittal, Jacob G. Zuma, Paul Kagame, Bronwyn Nielsen, Albert Kobina Essien, Oscar Onyema)

The Latin America Context
What are the core political, societal and economic issues transforming Latin America?
(Roberto Egydio Setubal, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Mario I. Blejer, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Isabel Cecilia Saint Malo De Alvarado, Marcelo Neri)

The New Context for Japan
What are Japan’s national and global priorities as a result of the early parliamentary elections in December?
(Heizo Takenaka, James Harding, Yasuchika Hasegawa, Yorihiko Kojima, Adam Posen)

Europe’s Twin Challenges: Growth and Stability
How will Europe ensure political stability and deliver economic growth in 2015?
(Enda Kenny, Mark Rutte, Sigmar Gabriel, Robin Niblett, Alexander Stubb, Laimdota Straujuma)

The Russia Outlook
What is the political, social and economic outlook for Russia in 2015?
(Alexei Kudrin, Andrey L. Kostin, Michael Rake, Igor Shuvalov, Gillian R. Tett, Wu Xinbo)

India’s Next Decade
How will the world’s most populous democracy revive and accelerate economic modernization, growth and job creation?
(Mukesh D. Ambani, Hari S. Bhartia, Nouriel Roubini, Arun Jaitley, Vikram Chandra, Chanda Kochhar)

Regions in Transformation: Arab World
Join a dialogue with top government leaders on the global trends and national priorities that are affecting the future of the region.
(Amre Moussa, Ghassan Salamé, Ayad Allawi, Mahmoud Jibril)

The ASEAN Agenda
How are the ASEAN economies reaping the benefits of greater regional integration in a new global economic context?
(Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak, Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Pridiyathorn Devakula, Teymoor Nabili, Philipp Rösler, Pham Binh Minh)

The Outlook for the United States
What can Washington accomplish in the next two years?
(Susan Glasser, Andrew N. Liveris, John W. Hickenlooper, Penny Pritzker, Cecilia Rouse, Patrick Mchenry)

Special Sessions

The Annual Meeting 2015 welcomed more than 300 public figures, including more than 40 heads of state and government. Here is a selection of video highlights from their sessions and special addresses:

Davos Moments

Powerful visual presentations, artistic performances, and a number of key personalities inspire new and fresh thinking on issues that matter. Here are some Davos moments from this year’s meeting:

21st Annual Crystal Award Ceremony and Opening Concert
The World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award honours artists whose important contributions are improving the state of the world. This year’s award winners are architect Shigeru Ban; tenor Andrea Bocelli; and singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo. The award ceremony will be followed by an Opening Concert featuring Andrea Bocelli and the Orchestra Sinfonica Rossini di Pesaro.

How Did we Get Here? and What’s Next? A Climate for Action
Through a compelling visual narrative, historian David Christian highlights what leaders can learn from Big History to prepare for tomorrow. This will be followed by Nobel Laureate Al Gore and Pharrell Williams who reveal through a powerful visual narrative what’s next for climate in 2015.

Sustainable Development: Demystifying the Facts and A Vision for the Future
A thought-provoking presentation by Professor Hans Rosling that reveals surprising trends shaping today’s world. This will be followed by a discussion with Bill and Melinda Gates on catalysing action on the new Sustainable Development Goals and concluded by a special message.

Performance: The New Global Village
Playwright and performer Sarah Jones explores our differences and common values through masterful impersonations of a diverse cast of characters.

Closing Performance: A Symphony for Our Times
Composer Tod Machover and designers Artisan close the Annual Meeting with a powerful multimedia performance celebrating the spirit of dialogue and reminding us of our collective responsibility.

More than 100 sessions were made available on webcast during the Annual Meeting, and you can watch them again here.

Authors: Sebastian Buckup, Director, Programme Development Team, World Economic Forum and Emma Loades, Senior Director, Programme Development Team, World Economic Forum.

Image: Delegates walk past the logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the congress centre of Davos January 28, 2010. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

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