World Economic Forum Addresses Climate Change, Gender, Inequality, Development Goals
story highlights

The 45th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting discussed the global economic outlook for 2015 and considered climate change, inequality, gender parity and the development goals, and sustainable development investments, among other issues.

The Forum launched several publications and initiatives, including a Global Challenge Initiative on Food Security and Agriculture.

World Economic Forum24 January 2015: The 45th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting discussed the global economic outlook for 2015 and considered climate change, inequality, gender parity and the development goals, and sustainable development investments, among other issues. The Forum launched several publications and initiatives, including a Global Challenge Initiative on Food Security and Agriculture.

The session on ‘Ending Poverty through Parity’ considered how investing in women and girls can accelerate progress on development goals. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, called for using existing knowledge to make a difference on gender equality and women’s empowerment. She highlighted technology as a tool for achieving universal access to secondary education.

Many speakers addressed climate change, with several calling for public-private support for the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in late 2015. On inequality, Jim Kim, President, World Bank, identified improving healthcare and the quality of education as critical to reducing inequality and fostering sustainable growth. Other speakers highlighted the importance of, inter alia: public-private partnerships in reducing inequality; and inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “We are the first generation that can end poverty and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impact of climate change. Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our moral and historical responsibilities.”

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark highlighted 2015 as a critical opportunity to shift towards inclusive, sustainable and resilient development and agree to eradicate all forms of poverty, including through agreements at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3), the Post-2015 Summit and UNFCCC COP 21. Observing that expectations for the post-2015 development agenda are high, she said 2015 is the year to move mountains.

WEF launched several publications, including its flagship Global Competitiveness Report, Global Risks Report and Global Gender Gap Report. ‘Data-Driven Development Pathways for Progress’ examines how to leverage big data to address sustainable development challenges, including through establishing resilient governance, strengthening community and individual-level capacity and addressing the data deficit of the Global South. ‘Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Responsible Value Chains’ highlights 31 supply chain practices that companies can use to increase their revenues, shrink their carbon footprints and contribute to local development. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the third progress report from its inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System. ‘Pathways to Scale’ identifies innovations in the global financial system that could help to close a gap in sustainable development investments.

WEF 45 took place in Davos, Switzerland, from 21-24 January 2015. [WEF Press Release] [WEF Reports Website] [WEF Press Release on Gender Parity] [WEF Press Release on Global Economic Outlook] [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Data-Driven Development Pathways for Progress] [Publications: Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Responsible Value Chain] [IISD RS Story on UNEP Report] [Clark Statement] [Collected WEF Quotes]


related events