#SpecialMeeting24: One of the three key pillars for the meeting is 'Revitalizing Global Collaboration'.
Global Cooperation

Global collaboration: Everything you need to know from #SpecialMeeting24

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#SpecialMeeting24: One of the three key pillars for the meeting is 'Revitalizing Global Collaboration'.

Spencer Feingold
Digital Editor, World Economic Forum
Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
  • Heads of state and leaders from politics, business and international organizations are gathering from 28-29 April at the Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • One of the three key pillars for the meeting is 'Revitalizing Global Collaboration'.

The world is at a critical junction for global collaboration.

Ongoing conflict and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, most notably the war in Israel and Gaza, have implications not only for the region, but the world. Meanwhile, growing fractures within and between countries have hindered trade and economic cooperation.

It's against this backdrop that the World Economic Forum is bringing together leaders from across the public and private sectors for a Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development.

The meeting, taking place in Riyadh from 28-29 April, has three core themes. One of the themes, Revitalizing Global Collaboration, is focused on the fostering of international cooperation, particularly with regards to facilitating improved dialogue between the Global North and South.

Have you read?

The programme of the Special Meeting includes several high-level panel discussions that will feature leaders from across sectors. Participants will seek to to identify partnerships and actions that can help to contain the widening ripple effects of geopolitical instability and build a more resilient global economy.

Here's what you need to know.

Highlights from key sessions

28 April - All times in UTC+3

While trade and cross-border investment remain critical drivers of economic growth and recovery, how are these considerations shaping the future of international trade and impacting the stability of supply systems worldwide? Hala H. ElSaid Younes, Egypt's Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development of Egypt, joined Ahn Dukgeun, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea; Aloke Lohia, Group Chief Executive Officer, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited; Brad Schneider, Congressman from Illinois (D), 10th District, U.S. House of Representatives and Clifford Kupchan, Chairman, Eurasia Group to discuss.

When major countries are pouring huge government resources into developing a strategically important sector, then many more countries will follow suit. Then we are in a very dangerous phase of industrial competition.

Ahn Dukgeun, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea

6 steps to build a more cooperative world

Climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, yet progress on preparing for such devastation and soaring costs remains limited. Nena Stoiljkovic, Undersecretary-General for Global Relations, Humanitarian Diplomacy and Digitalization, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) joined Muhammad Aurangzeb, Pakistan's Minister of Finance and Revenue; Joyeeta Gupta, Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South, University of Amsterdam and Lindelwe Lesley Ndlovu, Chief Executive Officer, African Risk Capacity "ARC" Ltd to discuss the adaptation strategies that can best address climate impacts at the public and private levels and in emerging and developed countries.

Catch up on the session below.


Ibrahim Thiaw, Undersecretary-General of the United Nations; Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), joined Abdulrahman Al Fadley; Saudi Arabia's Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture; Naoko Ishii, Director, Center for Global Commons, The University of Tokyo and Tariq Al-Olaimy, Member of the Foundation Board, World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community to discuss the strategies that can improve the sustainable use of land, safeguarding ecosystems and human well-being globally.

Catch up on the full session below.


H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined M.U.M. Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka; Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum; Qian Liu, Founder and Chairwoman, Wusawa Advisory and Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Vice-President, European External Action Service (EEAS) to discuss how the Global North and Global South can revitalize cooperation to open up solutions to today's most critical challenges.

Catch up on the full session in the X thread below.


29 April - All times in UTC+3

How can innovation, resources and capacities be shared for a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable global future through South-South and triangular cooperation?

Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) moderated this panel discussion with Gordan Grlić Radman, Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs; Karin von Hippel, Director-General, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies; Espen Barth Eide, Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs; Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the President, United Arab Emirates Government and Ahmed Shide Mohamed, Ethiopia's Minister of Finance.

Ahmed Shide highlighted the urgency of global development - "it is a collective pursuit of humanity".


The terminology of how we talk about the world is changing, said von Hippel - and we need to think more in the "gray space".


Multilateralism does work in the areas "where it really matters", such as in the fight against climate change, said Eide.


We should raise our voices on technology, climate and rule of law, said Gargash.


As outer space activity is intensifying, how can economic activities within the domain be optimised to deliver greater benefits to societies, while also supporting greater cooperation and sustainable development?

Soichi Noguchi, Professor, The University of Tokyo joined Simonetta Di Pippo, Professor of Practice of Space Economy; Director, SEELab, SDA Bocconi School of Management; Mohammed Altamimi, CEO, Saudi Space Agency, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia; Kam Ghaffarian, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Axiom Space, and Hélène Huby, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Exploration Company GmbH, to discuss.

Catch up on the full session here.


Gaza is facing a severe humanitarian crisis, including widespread acute food insecurity and reconstruction costs for critical infrastructure estimated at $18.5 billion. As the crisis threatens the stability of the region as a whole, what urgent actions are needed to address humanitarian needs and how can we begin laying the groundwork for Gaza’s recovery?

Sigrid Kaag, the United Nations' Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, joined the Prime Minister of Egypt Mostafa Madbouli; Prime Minister of Jordan, Bisher Hani Al Khasawneh and Samer Khoury, Chairman, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), to discuss the crisis.

Catch up on the session here.


Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB) joined Situmbeko Musokotwane, Zambia's Minister of Finance and National Planning; Lina Noureddin, President and Founder, Lamar Holding WLL and Jai Shroff, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, UPL, to discuss how targeted investment and advanced technologies can help ensure these essential commodities are provided to all.


In a shifting geopolitical landscape, new global players and security concerns are reshaping foreign investment strategies. Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock, joins Salman F. Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, Prime Minister's Office of Bangladesh; Lubna Olayan, Chair of the Executive Committee, Olayan Financing Company, The Olayan Group; Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia and William Ford, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Atlantic Service Company, to discuss how policy-makers and investors can mould the investment environment to foster global economic stability and equitable growth.

Olayan explained the lack of trust between superpowers is the main reason for global fracture: "The key thing for investors is transparency, rule of law, and the rule applied to everyone equally."

Growth potential is high for those countries who provide education and opportunities for youth, she added, explaining that the middle class is the "backbone of any society".

Fink said there was a "great deal of optimism" with fiscal stimulus and innovation creating a "very large investment cycle".


"Entrepreneurship and innovation is alive and well" and accelerating said Ford, although he acknowledged the risks are complex. AI is the next big transformation driving innovation.

What was once science fiction is quickly becoming reality, as AI has the power to radically transform economies. Panellists discussed how developed and emerging economies can harness the revolutionary potential of AI to meet their toughest challenges and what the roadmap is to get there.

Tiit Riisalo, Estonia's Minister of Economic Affairs and Information Technology, joined Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Bahrain's Minister of Finance and National Economy; Jörg Kukies, State Secretary, Federal Chancellery of Germany and Freeke Heijman, Co-Founder and Director, Ecosystem Development, Quantum Delta Netherlands.

Catch up with the full session here.


World Economic Forum President Børge Brende was in conversation with Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State.


How can the region build a viable path out of conflict and towards cooperation and peace?

New York Times Foreign Affairs columnist Thomas Friedman put this question to panellists Sameh Shoukry, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs; H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ayman Al Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Lynn Kuok, Incoming Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies, The Brookings Institution.

Watch the full session here.


Reads, publications and Forum insights

The Global Cooperation Barometer 2024

McKinsey and the World Economic Forum collaborated to measure the state of global cooperation for the first time. Using 42 indicators, the barometer looks at cooperation between 2012 and 2022 across five pillars: trade and capital; innovation and technology; climate and natural capital; health and wellness; and peace and security.

It is no secret that the current global context is concerning, as heightened competition and conflict appear to be replacing cooperation.

The Global Cooperation Barometer 2024

In collaboration with Marsh McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, this report explores some of the most severe risks we may face over the next decade, against a backdrop of rapid technological change, economic uncertainty, a warming planet and conflict.

As cooperation comes under pressure, weakened economies and societies may only require the smallest shock to edge past the tipping point of resilience.

Developed by the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Geopolitics – an interdisciplinary group of experts from the public and private sectors – the white paper delves into four areas where greater cooperation is both necessary and possible: enhancing global security, driving equitable climate action, regulating emerging technologies, and shaping a more sustainable trade system.

Highlights from key sessionsReads, publications and Forum insights

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