The World Economic Forum (WEF) will adopt a new twin-summit format for its next annual Davos meeting in January 2021, by bringing together leaders from across the globe for in-person as well as virtual dialogues with a theme of ‘The Great Reset’.
The gathering of the world’s rich and powerful, held every year in the Swiss ski resort town, will also open its doors virtually for everyone across the world online and through a network of more than 400 hubs globally.
The 50th WEF Annual Meeting, which was held from January 21-24, 2020, was one of the last high-profile gatherings this year before the coronavirus pandemic brought almost the entire world to a halt.
In a statement, Geneva-based WEF said its 51st Annual Meeting will again bring together global leaders from government, business and civil society, and stakeholders from around the world, but this time in a unique configuration of both in-person and virtual dialogues.
‘The Great Reset’ will be the theme of this unique twin summit in January 2021, it added.
The WEF, which describes itself as an international organisation for public-private partnership, said ‘The Great Reset’ is a commitment to jointly and urgently build the foundations of economic and social systems for a more fair, sustainable and resilient future.
“It requires a new social contract centred on human dignity, social justice and where societal progress does not fall behind economic development,” it said.
The WEF said the global health crisis has laid bare longstanding ruptures in economies and societies, and created a social crisis that urgently requires decent, meaningful jobs for a forward-oriented dialogue driven by the younger generation. These would include cities in India, among other countries.
The announcement of “the great reset” summit was made by the Prince Charles of Wales and WEF founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab during a virtual meeting.
“We only have one planet and we know that climate change could be the next global disaster with even more dramatic consequences for humankind. We have to decarbonise the economy in the short window still remaining and bring our thinking and behaviour once more into harmony with nature,” Schwab said.
Prince Charles said, “In order to secure our future and to prosper, we need to evolve our economic model and put people and planet at the heart of global value creation.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “The great reset is a welcome recognition that this human tragedy must be a wake-up call. We must build more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and the many other global changes we face.”
Schwab said Covid-19 has accelerated the world’s transition into the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while this global pandemic has also demonstrated again how interconnected everyone is.
“We have to restore a functioning system of smart global cooperation structured to address the challenges of the next 50 years. ‘The Great Reset’ will require us to integrate all stakeholders of global society into a community of common interest, purpose and action,” he said.
“We need a change of mindset, moving from short-term to long-term thinking, moving from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder responsibility. Environmental, social and good governance have to be a measured part of corporate and governmental accountability,” he added.
The WEF said the summit will bring together key global government and business leaders in Davos, but that would be framed within a global multi-stakeholder summit driven by the younger generation while ensuring that ‘The Great Reset’ dialogue pushes beyond the boundaries of traditional thinking and is truly forward-oriented.
To do so, the WEF will draw on thousands of young people in more than 400 cities around the world who will be interconnected with a powerful virtual hub network to interact with the leaders in Davos.
Each of those hubs will have an open-house policy to integrate all interested citizens into this dialogue, making the WEF Annual Meeting open to everyone.
In addition, global media and social media networks will mobilise millions of people, enabling them to share their input while also providing them with access to the annual meeting discussions in Davos.
In the run-up to the main annual meeting, the WEF will also host a virtual series, The Great Reset Dialogues.