At Davos, leaders talked big about rebuilding trust. Can the World Economic Forum bring about any change?


DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Business and political elites descended on the Swiss alpine snows of Davos to “rebuild trust” in a shattered world. If there is any conclusion from this World Economic Forum Annual Meeting – introducing that theme boldly – ​​is that we still have a long way to go.

from full-blown wars in Ukraine and Middle East There are suspicions that corporate heads and technocrats are out to make money by displacing workers artificial intelligenceTrust is clearly in short supply.

Davos conference ended on Friday after one year Taking the pulse of leading decision makers, The idea is to bring people together, and big announcements are often just a byproduct – not the purpose. That’s why they come.

Rich Lesser, president of Boston Consulting Group, said, “It is unrealistic to think that Davos – or any meeting anywhere in the world – can rebuild trust in a meeting when it is fractured on so many dimensions.”

But thousands of interactions between the social, private and public sectors help create “a starting point for rebuilding trust”, he said.

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A large art wall titled “Rebuilding Trust,” which welcomed dignitaries ranging from Bill Gates to the Iranian Foreign Minister, filled with phrases like “growth and jobs,” “climate nature energy” and “cooperation and security” Had happened – For some people, it was a topic of discussion. Of empty words.

Critics say the annual meeting, which began more than half a century ago, is a preserve business magnates who crave more money And politicians who want to remain in power. The event is meant to promote can-do optimism, but the geopolitical gloom weighs heavy.

“What is surprising to me in Davos, though not surprising, is this strange commitment to an optimistic mindset on the part of the participants,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International. “But optimism aimed at maintaining the status quo and maintaining our privilege. This is not optimism.”

“Frankly, this is madness and it is hurting our poor world,” he said.

The general conclusion, attendees said, was that the global economic picture is brighter than thought – It seems like interest rates and inflation are at their peak in the richest markets – but it’s still anyone’s guess where tough wars and looming elections in places like the US, India, the EU and South Africa will redirect the world.

Here are some conclusions and work ahead from Davos:

Long before Russia’s war, Ukraine had staked out prime real estate on the main thoroughfare of the Davos Promenade to promote its development and efforts to turn toward the West. Over the past two years, authorities in Kiev have used the event to solicit more support for their fight.

In 2022, a few months after Russia’s invasion, this was an easy question. Ukraine war fatigue has set in in Europe and America this year.

President Volodymyr Zelensky captioned Tuesday’s action, Request for more support billions from Western allies new funding The United States and the European Union are embroiled in domestic political disputes.

“Please, strengthen our economy, and we will strengthen your security,” Zelensky urged.

AI: future and risks

But detractors fear that the explosive growth of technology is coming too fast for regulators, threatening to drive people out of their jobs and This could spread more misinformation It is already present on social media.

“No matter how much AI can do, humans are still the deciding factor. So we have to focus on training human resources, especially high-skilled workers,” Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said at the Davos panel.

The plight of Israeli hostages held by Hamas and fears about Israel’s long-term security were on the lips. Some critics of Israel call Gaza genocide – an allegation that Israeli leaders, whose people were massacred in the Holocaust, vehemently deny.

Renewed discussion of the creation of a Palestinian state – an idea Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Again this week – animated discussions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others, as well as hopes for the normalization of Israel’s relations with the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia. Both seem unlikely in the near future.

Fears are rife about how many more Palestinians will die or be injured, whether Israeli hostages will escape capture and whether the conflict will spread to more parts of the Middle East.

…and fear about climate

Thursday was unusually rainy – snowfall is common in Davos this time of year – getting people talking about another possible, if temporary, sign of climate change. Forward-thinking CEO And political leaders want to address.

Gabfest in a Swiss ski resort, exactly one month later Latest UN Climate Conference, was unlikely to advance efforts to fight global warming. But corporate leaders shared ideas about how they are trying to help.

Referring to this, the UN chief said 2023 the hottest year on record And there are fears it could get even hotter in the coming years, with states saying countries are not doing enough.

“Facing serious – even existential threats – Runaway Climate Chaos “And without guardrails, given the uncontrolled growth of artificial intelligence, we seem powerless to act together,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in Davos. “As the climate begins to deteriorate, countries become intent on increasing emissions.”

But he added, “Phase out of fossil fuels is necessary and inevitable.”

AP journalists Masha McPherson and David Keaton in Davos and Courtney Bonnell and Kelvin Chan in London contributed.

Copyright 2024 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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