Davos Leaders pledge collaboration for global solutions to global crisis
* Annual Meeting 2009 in Davos opens with calls for coordinated, multistakeholder response to crisis
* It is one of the most crucial Annual Meetings in the nearly 40-year history of the World Economic Forum
* Financial crisis and climate change, development and values dominate agenda
* Follow the Annual Meeting online at http://www.weforum.org/annualmeeting – join the Davos Debates, watch webcast sessions, read session reports, download photos, twitter, participate in press conferences
Davos-Klosters, Switzerland − Government, business and civil society leaders are at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009 in record numbers to discuss ways out of the worst financial crisis in eight decades. “Davos fills the vital need for a global and dialogue-based platform where knowledgeable and empowered stakeholders can collaborate to address issues of common criticality. I can’t think of a better time and a better reason to be at Davos,” said Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, India and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009.
“It is important that leaders who come here go back and work on ways of finding far-reaching policies that will allow us to create sustainable economic growth, create jobs and coordinate macroeconomic policies,” insisted Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations (1997-2006), Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and Co-Chair, Annual Meeting 2009, on the opening day of the five-day Annual Meeting.
“I believe we are also facing a crisis of governance at a national and international level. The current architecture of managing global affairs is broken and needs to be fixed. We have new players that have to be integrated and the poor have to be given a voice,” he said. “The world has changed; are we capable of changing fast enough to save the planet?”
Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings, United Kingdom, and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009, agreed that the Annual Meeting gives leaders the space to share ideas needed to address current challenges. “Talking through what we need to do is important and that is why Davos is more than ordinarily important,” he said.
In the wake of the global financial fallout, re-examining values is key to moving forward, argued Maria Ramos, Group Chief Executive, Transnet Limited, South Africa and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009. “It is fundamentally important that the issue of values is on the agenda…and also the institutions that underpin these values and how the rules of the game are enforced is important here,” she said.
The world is still in crisis, yet we should treat it “as an opportunity to set goals for how we want to come out of it, such as energy sufficiency, world pollution...and shape policies which will help to solve some of those problems,” said Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation, USA, and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009. “Don’t let’s lose sight of what creates wealth; it’s open markets, capitalism and we’ve proved this again and again in last century,” he cautioned.
“I do not expect we will find from Davos solutions, but expect that we are able to get a joint understanding of the reasons for the crisis, and that we get a good understanding of how we are really able to overcome such a severe crisis in a globalized world,” said Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management, Bayer, Germany, and Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2009. “We’re talking about growing populations; we have to address issues of how to secure energy supply and of climate change; we’re also talking a lot about sustainability and returning to the basics of sustainable behaviour.”
Earlier, Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said that the world was in the midst of a “transformational crisis” where leaders in Davos need to first help manage the crisis and second to shape the post-crisis world. “Because only if we look at longer-term perspectives can we recreate trust in the economic system and in the future,” he said.
More than 2,500 participants from 96 countries are participating in the Annual Meeting held under the theme “Shaping the Post-Crisis World”, including a record 40 heads of state or government. Key finance, foreign affairs, trade and energy ministers will join heads of non-governmental organizations, social entrepreneurs and religious leaders at the Meeting. Around 60% of the participants are business leaders drawn principally from the Forum’s members – 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across all economic sectors.
The Co-Chairs are:
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations (1997-2006); Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum
Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings, United Kingdom
Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, India
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation, USA
Maria Ramos, Group Chief Executive, Transnet Limited, South Africa
Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Netherlands
Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management, Bayer, Germany
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests (http://www.weforum.org).
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