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  • Lisa Dewberry

Summit to reset the world on the way


There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate simultaneously to manage the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. To improve the state of the world, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is starting the Great Reset initiative, a twin summit both in-person and virtual, connecting key global government and business leaders in Davos with a global multi-stakeholder network in 400 cities around the world in January 2021. Klaus Schwab, founder of WEF, says the Great Reset is necessary to build a new social contract that honours human dignity and social justice of every human being, where societal progress does not fall behind economic development. He says we need to build into this new social contract our intergenerational responsibility to ensure we live up to the expectations of young people and the summit will include forward-oriented dialogue driven by the younger generation, pushing beyond the boundaries of traditional thinking. “The inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems from health and financial to energy and education are more exposed than ever amidst a global context of concern for lives, livelihoods and the planet. The global health crisis has laid bare longstanding ruptures in our economies and societies and the unsustainability of our old system in terms of social cohesion, lack of equal opportunities and inclusiveness, and has created a social crisis urgently needing decent, meaningful jobs,” says Schwab. This is changing the traditional context for decision-making with leaders finding themselves at a crossroads, managing short-term pressures against medium and long-term uncertainties. As we enter this unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery, the Great Reset offers insights to help inform all those who are determining the future state of global relations, direction of national economies, priorities of societies, nature of business models and management of a global commons. According to Schwab, the Great Reset is a commitment to jointly and urgently build the foundations of our economic and social system for a more fair, sustainable and resilient future and will need us to integrate all stakeholders of global society into a community of common interest, purpose and action. He says a change of mindset is needed, moving from short-term to long-term thinking and from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder responsibility with environmental, social and good governance measured as part of corporate and governmental accountability. “COVID-19 has accelerated our transition into the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and we have to make sure new technologies in the digital, biological and physical world remain human-centred and serve society as a whole, providing everyone with fair access. This pandemic has demonstrated again how interconnected we are and we have to restore a functioning system of smart global cooperation structured to address the challenges of the next 50 years,” says the founder. WEF will draw on thousands of young people in more than 400 cities around the world (the Global Shapers Community) who will be interconnected with a powerful virtual hub network to interact with the leaders in Davos. Each of those hubs will have an open house policy to integrate all interested citizens into this dialogue making the meeting open to everyone. In the run-up to the meeting, WEF is hosting a virtual series, The Great Reset Dialogues, a joint initiative of the forum and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. “To secure our future and to prosper, we need to evolve our economic model and put people and planet at the heart of global value creation. If there is one critical lesson to learn from this crisis, it is that we need to put nature at the heart of how we operate. We simply can’t waste more time,” says HRH The Prince of Wales. VIDEO: World Economic Forum

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