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HomeEconomyOpinion - Mirek Dusek: Time to stem the tide of fragmentation

Opinion – Mirek Dusek: Time to stem the tide of fragmentation


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In a world marked by complex challenges, there is a disturbing trend towards fragmentation. In recent years, levels of global collaboration have been on the wane, and the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis have accelerated this. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Risks Report, 4 out of 5 experts from an international network said they expect persistent volatility over the next two years.

How, then, can we contain this fragmentation? We have to get to work – now. During the World Economic Forum 2023 Annual Meeting, more than 2,500 leaders from government, business and civil society will gather to share ideas, forge plans and form partnerships to address the world’s challenges. In this year, there is a clear need for a double vision. First, to respond to the immediate crises that hit every corner of the globe. At the same time, to lay the groundwork for creating a more sustainable and resilient world by the end of the decade.

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We must find solutions to address overlapping global energy and food resource crises and a weak economic outlook. There is an urgent need to find ways to restore growth, trade and investment.

As crises converge, so must solutions. We must maintain momentum in the energy transition, create sustainable food systems that respond to the growing needs of our people, and ensure that the most vulnerable are protected. To do this, policymakers must pursue the reform needed to strengthen economic resilience and sustainability, while also addressing the systemic weaknesses highlighted by the current crises.

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Identifying promising innovations and scaling emerging technologies is critical to these efforts. In recent years, technological advancement has been the hope of meeting the challenges of our world, but its adoption has not kept pace with demand.

Similarly, systemic leadership has been a concept easier said than done. Connecting the dots across industries and geographies is a challenge often faced under intense stress. But this complexity requires immediate action. We must take an inclusive approach to developing solutions and create spaces for leaders to share best practices and learn from each other through constructive debate.

One way is to make a shift to create jobs that support a socially inclusive economy, such as caregivers and health care workers, as well as workers for greener economies, such as environmental engineers. At the same time, there must be a global effort to retrain people to take advantage of new opportunities and meet evolving market demand.

Complementing these efforts, we must create and strengthen public-private partnerships. Governments are increasingly looking to companies for knowledge and initiatives that can lead to great ideas and thus put them into action quickly and inclusively. For example, the First Movers Coalition, launched in partnership with Joe Biden, President of the United States, in 2021, unites companies working in seven industries –aluminum, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, steel and trucks– and works to advance and securing low-carbon technologies by 2030.

Responding to global issues is not an all-or-nothing game. By coming together, we can navigate the difficult year ahead while investing in our future.

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