Davos Agenda

Davos 2024 Day 3: Some of the key moments

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António Guterres addressed Davos 2024 today.

António Guterres addressed Davos 2024 today. Image: World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

Gayle Markovitz
Acting Head, Written and Audio Content, World Economic Forum
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This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting takes place in Davos from 15-19 January 2024.
  • Here are the some of the key highlights from today, from the future of global governance, skills of the future and accelerating action on climate change.

The future of global governance

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for reforms to global governance. "We can't build a future for our grandchildren with a system built for our grandparents," he said.

He warned that geopolitical divisions are hindering a global response to challenges like climate change and artificial intelligence, as he proposed a 'reformed, inclusive, networked multilateralism.'

We must ensure that these governance models are more representative of the Global South, too.

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This was a message echoed in the North-South Schism session that took place this morning and leaders from Latin America also stressed the need for the region to be involved in solving global challenges.

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In a wide-ranging discussion, Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State, was also clear on the need for global partnerships and cooperation in solving our biggest challenges. The public and private sectors both have a role to play, he stressed.

"I like to refer to it as variable geometry, and that's what we've been doing. We've been putting these different pieces together."

The situation in the Middle East was addressed throughout today. We heard from Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Mohammad Mustafa, the Chairman of Palestine Investment Fund.

It was also discussed in Middle East Conflict: What Is the Endgame? this morning. Speakers explored the complexity of the situation and warned of the potential for spillover effects. And, as Karin von Hippel cautioned, we musn't lose sight of other conflicts around the world.

And, against this backdrop, the need to prepare and build longer-term capacity to cope with shocks is more pressing than ever. "We have to build the muscle of resilience," Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, told the Resilience: What It Means and What to Do About It session.

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Jobs, skills and AI

Skills, in a variety of contexts, has cropped up in numerous conversations today. Whether looking at supply chains or AI, it was a hot topic.

This morning we heard on the future of supply chains, and the vital importance of trade - but also the significance of a properly skilled workforce.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for the creation of jobs to support the green transition, alongside investment in AI and climate. And, he said, that education needs to be more relevant to the needs of the labour market and in response to AI.

Speakers in our Race to Reskill session looked at the changes underway, particularly as a result of the digital and green transitions. But, as Coursera's Jeff Maggioncalda explained, tech can help accelerate reskilling - for example through rapid, cost-effective translation of Coursera's materials into other languages.

However, while AI offers great potential, again speakers today emphasized the need for governance. Microsoft President, Brad Smith, said he expects to see more convergence in global regulation, while António Guterres and Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, both called for enhanced efforts around AI governance.

As Emmanuel Macron said, we need to focus on growth and safety, and ensuring you have global regulation - not just European.

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Tools to revive growth

As we heard yesterday, the outlook for the global economy this year remains uncertain. And, as António Guterres warned this morning, geopolitical divides are hindering economic growth. "Political instability is adding to economic insecurity," he said.

Pedro Sánchez, called for a new model of growth - a sentiment found in our Future of Growth report.

"We must be bold and define a new paradigm of prosperity," he said. "A new economic and social orthodoxy that takes advantage of the knowledge and the new tools we have to couple economic growth with environmental sustainability and prosperity for all."

And, he called for collaboration to tackle the major challenges we face. We should 'establish new forms of public-private cooperation and collaboration', he said.

Through the lens of skills, and the influence of technology, there has been optimism about what we can do to revitalize growth today. Wider collaboration and discussion with other disciplines is necessary for economists, Christine Lagarde told a session on trust in economics.

And, in his special address, Javier Milei, President of Argentina, made the case for the role of free trade capitalism in economic growth.

Working together to tackle climate change

As we've seen throughout this week, the challenges we face are interconnected. President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, reminded us of this in the Climate and Nature: A Systemic Response Needed session.

He was clear on the need for action, a call that was echoed throughout the session. Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director, said that collaboration and cooperation are central, and stressed the need to move financial resources from 'where they hurt' to 'where they help'. Leaders to embrace the responsibility to act, even if it is not popular.

Tackling the climate crisis is also an economic transformation, explained Jesper Brodin, CEO of IKEA. AI is interesting and exciting, he said, but 'minuscule' compared to the economic shifts needed in terms of climate change. But it's a myth that sustainability comes at a cost, he said.

However, much like growth, we must make sure any transition is equitable. In our Energy Transition: Leaving No One Behind and Tripling Renewables: Make It Rapid and Responsible we explored just this issue. From financing to the role of new technologies, how best to ensure this equity was debated.

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Contents
The future of global governanceJobs, skills and AITools to revive growthWorking together to tackle climate change

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