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Thinking the unthinkable at the WEF 2018

Atheer: Stuti Saxena

Davos, a hill resort in Graubunden in Switzerland, is the bastion of annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings. The WEF was founded by Klaus Schwab, an academician by profession, affiliated with the University of Geneva. As such, WEF is a Swiss non-governmental organization with its main aim being to push forth the international and national interests across the realms of business, industry, administration and development.

Therefore politicians, business leaders, economists and financial analysts, in addition to other representatives from non-profit agencies, media and academia, gather at the WEF meeting to deliberate upon the challenges being confronted by the world.

For 2018, the WEF meeting is set to last for three days, running until the 26th of January, where the main
theme governing the meeting is ‘Creating a shared future in a fractured world.’ The main challenges to be confronted by the world relate to pushing forth innovation, inspiration and idealism, in order to effect a holistic transformation of the world. Economic policies governing the territories are being regarded as fractured and unable to cater to the needs of sustainable development, inclusive growth and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In terms of social policies, there are challenges linked with the maintenance of solidarity and harmony. The world is grappling with political challenges, with ideological and military warfare having disrupted the smooth run of administrative systems by and large. Amidst these three challenges, the WEF meeting aims to join efforts towards co-design, co-creation and collaboration of the world order.

Here, we will underline the possible challenges which need to be tackled via the fourteen System Initiatives of
the WEF. For ‘Shaping the future of Consumption,’ it is pertinent to deal with the glaring disparity in food production and consumption patterns across developed, developing and under-developed countries. The second System Initiative relates to ‘Shaping the future of digital economy and society,’ wherein it is important that the governments realise the significance of digitalisation, while retaining sustainability as the edifice.

‘Shaping the future of economic progress’ underlines economic institutions as needing to be revamped so to channelise their efforts towards resuscitating the economy of the hitherto untouched pockets. For tackling the System Initiative of ‘Shaping the future of education, gender and work,’ it is necessary that the linkage between primary, secondary and tertiary education levels be clearly outlined and efforts should be made to institute a common platform for education across the globe, in order to facilitate smooth transitions of human capital from one part of the globe to the other. The fifth System Initiative relates to ‘Shaping the future of energy’ and we
emphasise the conservation of non-renewable energy sources and tapping into alternative energy fuels
such as solar power, bio-fuels and wind power, among others.

Furthermore, the System Initiative on ‘Shaping the future of environment and natural resource scarcity,’ should cater to the protection of flora and fauna by all means. ‘Shaping the future of financial and monetary systems’ may be better realised by the renewed efforts on the part of governments to regulate fiscal and monetary policies in line with the development requirements of their countries. The eighth System Initiative is linked with ‘Shaping the future of food security and agriculture’ and this is closely aligned with the first System Initiative for ensuring better living conditions for all. Agricultural entrepreneurship should be encouraged and governments must spearhead innovative policies for supporting the farming community. Likewise, cross-fertilisation of ideas must take place with the sharing of innovative suggestions for improved crop yields.

‘Shaping the future of health and healthcare’ is an important System Initiative that must place an emphasis
upon promoting health policies, so to ensure that people live in habitable conditions and are able to secure
treatment for ailments in the best manner possible. Therefore, scientific breakthroughs in the field
of medicine should be promoted. The next System Initiative is ‘Shaping the future of information and
entertainment.’ which must cater to the relevance and ethics of information availability, accessibility
and use, as well as the suitability and cross-cultural interchange of arts. ‘Shaping the future of
international trade and investment’ must ensure that fair play must be the prime consideration for
promoting trade and commerce locally and globally.

The twelfth System Initiative is ‘Shaping the future of long-term investing, infrastructure and development and WEF 2018 members must juxtapose the elements of consumer interest and business profitability to realize these goals. ‘Shaping the future of mobility’ must ensure that while free movement of individuals is encouraged between countries, security interests of the countries should be upheld so as to weed out any nefarious activities of separatist groups. Finally and as a logical conclusion for the first System Initiative, the fourteenth System Initiative is linked with ‘Shaping the future of production,’ wherein the main emphasis should remain promoting economic production across diverse fields.

With this background, it is hoped that the impending WEF 2018 meeting will provide innovative sustainable solutions to meet the challenges of the coming times.

Twitter: StutiSaxenaOGD
Email: [email protected]

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