Photo/Davos Website

From January 15 to 19, local time, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2024 will be held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. More than 2,800 leaders and members from over 120 countries and regions will gather around the theme of “Rebuilding Trust” and explore issues such as global security, trade, economic growth, employment, climate, energy transition, etc. The aim is to strengthen the basic principles of transparency, consistency and accountability among all parties.

In an email to NBD, WEF mentioned that at this year’s annual meeting, participants will discuss whether regional conflicts (such as the Red Sea crisis) will disrupt the global supply chain again. “We need more than crisis management. We need to find the root causes of the current problems and build a more hopeful future together, thereby rebuilding trust in the future.” WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said.

WEF President Børge Brende said on the 9th that this year’s annual meeting will be held in the most complex geopolitical context ever.

NBD found that the sub-forums of the annual meeting will be held under three major themes: global cooperation, climate change and energy strategy, and artificial intelligence. “At a time when global challenges require urgent solutions, innovative public-private sector cooperation is essential for turning ideas into actions. The annual meeting will be an accelerator for this cooperation, deepening the connections between leaders from all walks of life and various initiatives.” Brende said.

Highlight one: Which heavyweights will attend?

According to the WEF website, more than 300 dignitaries will attend this year’s annual meeting, including more than 60 heads of state and government, representing all key regions of the world. Political figures such as French President Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Israeli President Isaac Herzog will attend.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Premier Li Qiang will also attend the annual meeting from January 14 to 17 and pay official visits to Switzerland and Ireland.

In addition, many heads of international organizations will also appear at this year’s annual meeting, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, IMF President Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank President Peng Anjie, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.

Other social organization leaders who will attend this year’s WEF annual meeting include: WWF Global Director-General Kirsten Schaefer, International Rescue Committee Chairman David Miliband, and International Trade Union Confederation Secretary-General Luke Treyanger.

Highlight two: What topics will the forum focus on?

During the one-week agenda, the various sessions of the WEF Annual Meeting 2024 will present the latest proposals and solutions, aiming to achieve progress in the fields of global security, trade, economic growth, employment, climate and natural action, energy transition, technological innovation, health and well-being. Specifically, all sub-forums of the annual meeting will be held under three major themes: “Achieving Security and Cooperation in a Divided World”, “Implementing Long-Term Climate, Natural and Energy Strategies” and “Artificial Intelligence Driving Economic and Social Development”.

In terms of global cooperation, WEF recently released the “Global Cooperation Barometer”, which highlights the key areas where cooperation is still possible in an increasingly competitive global environment, laying the foundation for discussions on global cooperation. The multiple sessions of the annual meeting will assess regional partnership relationships, seek ways to enhance South-North cooperation, and explore how to build an effective and inclusive trade system.

In terms of economy, multiple sessions will delve into the latest economic developments, including industrial strategies, debt, high interest rate new normal, employment market prospects, etc. Leaders from international organizations and financial institutions, as well as top economists, will participate in relevant discussions. The forum’s first “Future Growth” action initiative will launch a two-year plan to improve the quality of economic growth.

In terms of climate, nature and energy, the forum will build on the positive momentum and results of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, increase the deployment of renewable energy, improve energy efficiency and meet energy demand, and further protect and restore nature. The forum will promote the work of key action initiatives, including the Pioneers Alliance, the CEO Climate Leaders Alliance, and the “Providing Financial Support for Net Zero Transition” initiative, and will also launch new action initiatives.

UN Secretary-General Guterres said that 2024 must be a year to get out of the quagmire. He stressed, “By unleashing large-scale and bold investments, we can promote sustainable development and climate action, and put the world economy on a stronger growth path, benefiting everyone.”

In terms of technology, the forum aims to maximize the opportunities brought by rapid technological development while understanding and managing the risks. During the annual meeting, the forum will release the Global Cybersecurity Outlook and deep insights on artificial intelligence. Multiple sessions will be dedicated to improving digital inclusion and continuing the work of the Artificial Intelligence Governance Alliance, advocating for the responsible design, development and deployment of inclusive artificial intelligence systems globally.

In terms of human development, the annual meeting will focus on human-centered economic and technological transformation. Multiple sessions will discuss social mobility, modern supply-side economics, health status and well-being improvement, etc. One of the key action initiatives is the “Skills Retraining Revolution”.

In addition, WEF also mentioned in an email to NBD that regional conflicts (such as the recent Red Sea conflict) and whether they will disrupt the global supply chain again will also be topics of discussion at this year’s annual meeting.

WEF survey: “False and misleading information” is the top short-term risk

WEF’s annual survey of more than 1,400 risk experts, policy makers and industry leaders released recently showed that in the dual impact of the U.S. election and economic downturn, false or misleading information will pose a major threat to the world in the next two years. WEF believes that people’s concerns about potential manipulation of voter behavior are intensifying.

The report said that “misinformation and false information” is the biggest threat facing the world in the short term. In addition, concerns about extreme weather events are the biggest risk factor for the world in the next decade, a long-term trend that can also be seen from the Davos long-term risks in previous years.

The authors of the report worry that the booming development of generative artificial intelligence chatbots like ChatGPT means that creating complex synthetic content for manipulating crowds will no longer be limited to those with professional skills. The report also warned that “the widespread use of misinformation and false information, and the tools for spreading them, could undermine the legitimacy of the elected government. The consequences could include violent protests, hate crimes, civil strife and terrorism.”

Editor: Alexander