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WEF said to need new mission in light of deglobalization tendencies – and loss of momentum as global agenda setter
Davos, May 28, 2022.
WEF didn’t manage to use its multi-stakeholder platform to present solutions to concerns caused by the war in Ukraine. Related issues like food shortages and geopolitical issues have gained visibility without illustrating the “Spirit of Davos” from the past such as in 2002 after 9/11 or during the Greek crisis. Other prominent topics in international news focused on the overall state of the economy and economic outlook, inflation, and monetary policy. The Covid-19 pandemic was not that prominently mentioned and related political and corporate solutions struggled to gain recognition.
Ukrainian president Zelenskyy made the most effective use of the global media gathering in Davos even if he only addressed the WEF by video. The controversy over political reactions (e.g., giving Ukrainian territories to Russia vs. fighting to defeat Russia and supporting Ukraine) were very visible as related statements by George Soros and Henry Kissinger were frequently picked up. Corporate leaders mostly had a lower profile, especially from internet companies.
Some of the corporations that have had a high profile in WEF-related news in the past were low profile this year including Microsoft, PWC, Henkel, and Uber. Others used the opportunity to strengthen their profiles like Pfizer and Intel. Pfizer’s move to share high-quality drugs with low-income countries on a non-profit basis attracted significant news coverage and a somewhat favorable tone in that coverage. On Twitter, however, criticism from conspiracy theorists questioned the motives.
The UN SDGs have been sidelined in recent years indicating that not all political and corporate leaders embrace them as a framework for working on solutions yet. Climate change was the single most important issue directly linked with the SDGs.