Davos Agenda

Trump, Greta and 4 other top stories from the first day of Davos 2020

President Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America appears before the media at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 21 January. Copyright by World Economic Forum/ Valeriano Di Domenico\r

President Donald Trump gave an optimistic speech at Davos

Ceri Parker
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Davos Agenda

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

On a sunny day in the Alps, climate change dominated conversations at Davos 2020 - with some exceptions.

1. 'We must reject the prophets of doom'

In his second address at Davos, US President Donald Trump listed his administration's economic achievements, making a strong call for optimism and faith in the future.

"We continue to embrace technology not to shun it. When people are free to innovate, millions will live longer, happier and healthier lives. For three years now, America has shown the world that the path to a prosperous future begins with putting workers first, choosing growth and freeing entrepreneurs to bring their dreams to life," he said.

You can watch his special address in full here.

Donald Trump Davos
2. Our house is still on fire

The evidence on climate change is irrefutable, and tireless teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg voiced her frustration on the world's failure to act.

"You say children shouldn’t worry. You say: 'Just leave this to us. We will fix this, we promise we won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.'

And then — nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken."

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She was not the only voice to call for an urgent end to the fossil economy. In the session Averting a Climate Catastrophe, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, said that in her region people were already dying because of climate change.

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Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim at Davos 2020

3. Capitalism is dead. Long live happiness.

In a session on the future of stakeholder capitalism - the Forum's underlying belief that businesses are responsible to all parts of society - business leaders called for a new era.

Marc Benioff, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce said: "Capitalism as we have known it is dead. This obsession with maximising profits for shareholders alone has lead to a climate emergency."

Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, International Business Council, IBM Corporation, called for reskilling to build stronger societies.

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4. China made the case for global cooperation

Following warm words from President Trump on his relationship with China amid a ceasefire in the trade war, Han Zheng, Vice-Premier of the People's Republic of China, spoke of the importance of cooperation.

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He urged nations to continue down the path of economic globalization, resolving difficulties and issues by building an inclusive and open world economy together. "Unilateral and protectionist practices, which run counter to the global trend, will go nowhere," he said. "They will only weaken the foundation of global growth and trade, and end up hurting everyone's interests."

5. Revealed, a new tool to scale up solutions to our toughest challenges

The World Economic Forum unveiled UpLink, an open platform that will be live next month with the aim of scaling up bright ideas to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

"Initiatives shouldn't just come from enlightened business leaders or governments. We have to engage people," Professor Klaus Schwab, the Forum's Founder and Executive Chairman, explained. "They have the ideas. We have to give them the means to translate their ideas into action."

Melati Wijsen, the founder of Indonesia's Bye Bye Plastic Bags, said that UpLink would give young people like her a platform to make sure their ideas are taken seriously.

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6. 'I am hackable'

In a session on the 'arms race' for dominance over technology like AI, the historian Yuval Harari warned that we're heading for a dangerous, uncertain future.

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"The point is when you gather enough data on people, you get to know people better than they know yourself. Are we at the point where companies or governments can hack millions of people, that means they know my medical history, personal weaknesses?... You can hack my body, my brain, my life, you can reach a point where you know me better than I know myself."

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