.
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fter an unprecedented year of major global challenges in health, economic hardships, and social inequality being unearthed and brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda 2021 aims to help create innovative solutions and promote strong recovery over the next year. Day one of the virtual summit, under the theme of “designing cohesive, sustainable and resilient economic systems,” saw panels and speakers from across the globe highlight the importance of restoring economic growth—a challenge that will undoubtedly be difficult to confront until trust in vaccines, trust in the global economy, and trust in each other and our societies can be restored.

A Message of Multilateralism & Cooperation

In the opening address, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping explained that it is of the utmost importance to “step up macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly promote sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy,” as this is the “first time in history [that] all economies of all regions have been hit hard at the same time.” Urging for multilateralism, he explains how we also need to “jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation,” as well as “close the divide between developed and developing countries and jointly bring about growth and prosperity for all.”

This theme of multilateralism and cooperation was also echoed in panels centered on restoring economic growth, with Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of the Government of Singapore stressing the need to rebuild forms of cooperative internationalism “not just out of the goodness of our hearts—but out of every nation’s self interest.” While panelists echoed similar sentiments regarding multilateralism and global cooperation to promote open markets and supply chains, a panel on stakeholder capitalism also agreed that in order to build such a mutually beneficial global economy, “we need a mindset change to move away from a society where business and governments have separate tasks to one in which they, together with civil society, work hand in hand,” said World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab.

However, in order for this collaboration to work, respect and trust is essential—and very much lacking in many parts of the world, especially in countries where vulnerable populations struggle with poverty and have yet to benefit from the global economy. “How can we expect somebody to embrace democracy when they don't think the system is working for them?” asks Dan Schulman, President and Chief Executive Officer to PayPal. Mariana Mazzucato, Professor at University College London, posits that in order to restore this trust in business, “we must create a system that rewards companies that are more successful at supporting their communities.”

As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres states, the world needs “a new social contract between governments, peoples, society, businesses and more, integrating employment, sustainable development, social protection, and based on equal rights and opportunities for all.” Only then will trust in the government and global economy begin to re-form, and a new model for global governance that “ensures that power, wealth and opportunities are shared more broadly and fairly at the international level” can be created.

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, trust in health systems, the government, and our societies has reached a new low, and we may be far away from a new social contract anytime soon. “When public health issues become politically charged—like wearing a mask or not becomes a political statement—you cannot imagine how destructive that is to any unified public health message,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, demonstrating how efforts for global cooperation and a new social contract may be difficult to achieve until trust in our governments and social systems is restored.

However, not all hope is lost. While many people are still wary of COVID-19 vaccines as vaccination programs begin to roll out globally, Ben Page, Chief Executive Officer at Ispos, explains that “those governments that are consistent and communicate regularly tend to generate more confidence—there’s a big difference by countries,” showing how effective communication on the governmental level may be key. In terms of socially and economically restoring trust, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez demonstrates one example of how Spain has worked to create laws on teleworking, financial support for SME’s and reskilling programs to protect Spain’s millions of workers during and after the pandemic.

Ultimately, day one of the Davos Agenda 2021 demonstrated how the concepts of cooperation, multilateralism, and most of all trust will be essential to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring our global economy to a new form—one that is more inclusive and mutually beneficial for all.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's senior correspondent in Asia and a senior contributing editor.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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www.diplomaticourier.com

Davos Agenda Day One: Designing Sustainable and Resilient Economic Systems

Photo by Swiss Image.

January 25, 2021

A

fter an unprecedented year of major global challenges in health, economic hardships, and social inequality being unearthed and brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda 2021 aims to help create innovative solutions and promote strong recovery over the next year. Day one of the virtual summit, under the theme of “designing cohesive, sustainable and resilient economic systems,” saw panels and speakers from across the globe highlight the importance of restoring economic growth—a challenge that will undoubtedly be difficult to confront until trust in vaccines, trust in the global economy, and trust in each other and our societies can be restored.

A Message of Multilateralism & Cooperation

In the opening address, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping explained that it is of the utmost importance to “step up macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly promote sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy,” as this is the “first time in history [that] all economies of all regions have been hit hard at the same time.” Urging for multilateralism, he explains how we also need to “jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation,” as well as “close the divide between developed and developing countries and jointly bring about growth and prosperity for all.”

This theme of multilateralism and cooperation was also echoed in panels centered on restoring economic growth, with Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of the Government of Singapore stressing the need to rebuild forms of cooperative internationalism “not just out of the goodness of our hearts—but out of every nation’s self interest.” While panelists echoed similar sentiments regarding multilateralism and global cooperation to promote open markets and supply chains, a panel on stakeholder capitalism also agreed that in order to build such a mutually beneficial global economy, “we need a mindset change to move away from a society where business and governments have separate tasks to one in which they, together with civil society, work hand in hand,” said World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab.

However, in order for this collaboration to work, respect and trust is essential—and very much lacking in many parts of the world, especially in countries where vulnerable populations struggle with poverty and have yet to benefit from the global economy. “How can we expect somebody to embrace democracy when they don't think the system is working for them?” asks Dan Schulman, President and Chief Executive Officer to PayPal. Mariana Mazzucato, Professor at University College London, posits that in order to restore this trust in business, “we must create a system that rewards companies that are more successful at supporting their communities.”

As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres states, the world needs “a new social contract between governments, peoples, society, businesses and more, integrating employment, sustainable development, social protection, and based on equal rights and opportunities for all.” Only then will trust in the government and global economy begin to re-form, and a new model for global governance that “ensures that power, wealth and opportunities are shared more broadly and fairly at the international level” can be created.

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, trust in health systems, the government, and our societies has reached a new low, and we may be far away from a new social contract anytime soon. “When public health issues become politically charged—like wearing a mask or not becomes a political statement—you cannot imagine how destructive that is to any unified public health message,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, demonstrating how efforts for global cooperation and a new social contract may be difficult to achieve until trust in our governments and social systems is restored.

However, not all hope is lost. While many people are still wary of COVID-19 vaccines as vaccination programs begin to roll out globally, Ben Page, Chief Executive Officer at Ispos, explains that “those governments that are consistent and communicate regularly tend to generate more confidence—there’s a big difference by countries,” showing how effective communication on the governmental level may be key. In terms of socially and economically restoring trust, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez demonstrates one example of how Spain has worked to create laws on teleworking, financial support for SME’s and reskilling programs to protect Spain’s millions of workers during and after the pandemic.

Ultimately, day one of the Davos Agenda 2021 demonstrated how the concepts of cooperation, multilateralism, and most of all trust will be essential to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring our global economy to a new form—one that is more inclusive and mutually beneficial for all.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's senior correspondent in Asia and a senior contributing editor.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.