Fourth Industrial Revolution

The World Economic Forum's #GFC19 meeting explained in 5 questions

The Burj Khalifa is lit up during New Year celebrations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 1, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed - RC1B11D857D0

The world's tallest building - the Burj Khalifa - is lit up for New Year celebrations. Image: REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed

Ceri Parker
Joe Myers
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1. What exactly is a GFC anyway?

The full name of the meeting is the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils - and a GFC is a group of experts who come together to think about what future we're heading towards, and what action we need to take action to put us on a better path.

A council has around 20 members, and they're drawn from a variety of different areas: academia, business, government and civil society. The Forum hosts 38 councils who focus on topics ranging from biodiversity, technology governance, cities and mental health.

Council members advise on the various initiatives that the Forum is involved in, such as our work on closing the gender gap or tackling climate change, but they also develop ideas independently. Previous GFC meetings have led to to the creation of the 2030 Water Resources Group, a collaboration with the World Bank Group that drives action on water resources reform in water-stressed countries, and the Friends of Ocean Action, a public-private partnership fast-tracking solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the oceans.

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2. When and where is the meeting taking place?

This year's GFC takes place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 3-4 November.

General view of Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 29, 2018. Picture taken December 29, 2018. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed - RC1B7F2FCE60
Image: REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed

3. Who's going?

More than 680 members of the Network of Global Future Councils. They're coming from 65 countries from all around the world - including 165 from Asia, 203 from Europe and 46 from MENA.

There are also business leaders, government ministers and public figures - including the Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Future, Mohammad Al Gergawi, and Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence in the United Arab Emirates - gathering in Dubai.

That's not to mention members of Forum communities, from Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers to Social Entrepreneurs.


What is the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils?

4. How can I follow from home?

As with all our events, GFC is easy to follow from afar - whether you're in Aberdeen or Zhengzhou.

You can watch sessions on the live player or read articles on Agenda.

You can also keep up to date on social media - from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok - or see all the best pictures on Flickr.

General view of Dubai from Burj Al khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 17, 2019. Picture taken July 17, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed - RC133C5AA220
The view from the Burj Klalifa Image: REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed

5. What's on the agenda?

Broadly speaking, the future.

Participants will be discussing global, regional and geopolitical issues, as well as topics or challenges that are currently emerging or likely to cut across themes during the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Dedicated workshop sessions bringing together different councils include a focus on tech for sustainable development; air pollution; social mobility; governing breakthrough technology, and stakeholder capitalism.

With the world facing numerous risks and tensions - whether it be climate change or emerging technology - participants will look at how we can tackle them, and inspire action today in order to safeguard our collective futures.

Solutions can't just come from one sector or group alone. With more than 600 experts heading to Dubai - from hugely diverse backgrounds - the meeting's outcomes are set to directly influence the Annual Meeting in 2020 and the Forum's initiatives around the world.

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