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- “World’s biggest brainstorm” closes with ideas, strategies and scenarios for an inclusive and sustainable future: see wef.ch/futurevisions
- The Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2019 brought together more than 700 experts from across the world, representing all stakeholders in society.
- It comes amid geopolitical polarization and stalling progress towards sustainable development – but Global Future Council members are shaping strategies for leaders to step up and act together.
- More about the meeting: wef.ch/amgfc19
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 04 November 2019 – Over 700 experts from across the world, representing all stakeholders of society, outlined visions for the future and the steps we need to take now to achieve them.
These include a future in line with the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, where humanity is cutting poverty; winning the fight on climate change; precision medicine for everyone; digital technology to close gender and wealth gaps while empowering people’s mental health; and living in a global circular economy that supports a new deal between humanity and nature.
A collection of 30 visions by the year 2030 from members of the Network of Global Future Councils, who met at their annual meeting in the United Arab Emirates, is available at wef.ch/futurevisions.
“We can help system leaders from academia, business, government and civil society commit themselves to improve the future of biodiversity, technology governance, cities, mental health and other key global challenges. Over the last two days we have heard your calls for a cohesive and sustainable, technology-enabled future that weaves together action on climate change, biodiversity and promotes tolerance and dialogue,” said Lee Howell, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum.
His Excellency Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future of the United Arab Emirates, said:
“What will happen when half of the world starts adopting the internet of things, artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies, while the other half remains light years away from advanced societies? There are big moral questions that mankind needs to answer. Technology is rapidly advancing and growing, but this great advancement needs greater wisdom to use this technology for the greater good, for the benefit of mankind.”
Al Gergawi’s comments touched on a key theme of the two-day meeting – the call to put people at the centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. At a time when climate change, social and geopolitical polarization, and the rapid development of new technologies is disrupting lives and livelihoods, action is needed to harness technology for the public good.
Ideas at the meeting will be integrated into the programme of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters in January and the Forum’s efforts to establish partnerships between business, government and civil society to solve systemic global challenges: see weforum.org/platforms. Nearly 50 years after the Davos Manifesto outlined the principles of the stakeholder approach, this year’s Annual Meeting theme is Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.
Outcomes and actions taken forward from the Annual Meeting of Global Future Councils include:
- SCALE 360, a new partnership to accelerate technology innovations and scale up the circular economy through nationally-led innovation challenges. The first challenge is with the United Arab Emirates.
- An agreement between the Asian Development Bank and the World Economic Forum to accelerate investments that advance sustainable development for citizens within member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
- Jan Vapaavuori, the Mayor of Helsinki, Finland and a member the Global Future Councils on Cities and Urbanisation, Energy, and Energy Technologies, will launch a city challenge with a prize money of $1 million to ensure citizens get heating and energy in a carbon-neutral way by 2025.
- The city of New York will advance efforts to localize action on the Sustainable Development Goals through a collaboration with the Forum.
- The launch of guidelines for the efficient and ethical use of artificial intelligence in government procurement with the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the UAE government, that will be used at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
- Launch of a guidebook and case studies on how to encourage innovations in infrastructure.
- A plan for acting on global technology governance and guidance for governments, industry and civil society on setting the rules on the use of disruptive technologies.
- A manifesto to accelerate the use of quantum computing for some of humanity’s challenges including climate change and sustainable food supply chains.
- A science-fiction series focusing on human rights and the threats that technology can cause, with recommendations on how to avoid dystopian futures.
- Advice on for enabling smart, sustainable cities by bringing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to infrastructure.
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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.