Annual meeting of Global Future Councils wraps up with high level plenary session

DUBAI, Challenges to a successful globalised economy were discussed at the closing session of the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils, the two-day World Economic Forum (WEF) event that was hosted at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Six experts on global affairs took part in the event, which was moderated by BA�rge Brende, President of the WEF.

Speaking on how globalisation is viewed through western-centric optics and that perhaps it is time for a new perspective, Jean-David Levitte, French diplomat and France’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2000 to 2002, said: “Today we live in a globalised world in a globalised economy. This helps growth and helps eradication of poverty. At the same time, we had the idea in Europe and in the west that globalisation would mean Westernisation of the world economy of world societies. Today, we have to revisit this idea because what we see is quite different.”

Discussing the challenges of people being excluded from the benefits of globalisation, Helen Clark the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, commented: “We need to make sure that globalization does not turn into a race to the bottom for countries competing for attention, but rather that everyone can be part of a race to the top and enhanced human development. That’s really the challenge � to take the agendas that we have and in each of our capacities to make them work for people, because if people feel behind they are very grumpy, and I think we see that played out in various political developments around the world.”

Maksim Oreshkin, Minister for Economic Development in the Russian Federation, also highlighted how globalisation to date has not been an all-inclusive phenomenon, saying that only a small group of people have benefited from it.

“If you look at the results of globalisation for the past decades, of course, they are positive. The global economy has doubled since 1990. Is globalisation in the way we are living still sustainable? In my opinion, definitely not. If you look back, most of the new value that was added and created during that process appeared in just a small number of segments of the global economy. It was the financial sector, it was the sector of large corporations, so it was only a small group of people that was receiving the benefits.”

Drawing attention to current heightened tensions in international relations, Roland Paris Professor of International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and founding director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, said: “There is a recklessness that is growing and it’s especially dangerous and damaging when it comes from powerful nations.”

Hilary Cottam, social entrepreneur and author whose work in Britain and around the world has focused on collaborative and affordable solutions to challenges such as ageing, loneliness, chronic disease and inequality, spoke of the need to formulate a new globalisation framework to ensure that everyone in society benefits.

“We have to think completely differently about what we need to provide in order that everyone flourishes. And I think we see this in pockets all around the world. We see innovation, we see companies working in different ways to support their workers, we see different social innovations, but they’re very marginal – they don’t have enough resources and most importantly they don’t have an architecture around them that can enable them to grow and move from the margin to the mainstream. I’m hoping that through these meetings and the next meeting in Davos we’re going to be able to take the first steps in designing that architecture.”

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils was inaugurated in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Source: Emirates News Agency