Organised since its inception in 1970 till today by Dr. Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum is unique annual forum at Davos created by this unique man to discuss with world leaders of government, economy, technology, politics, media and culture how globalization is creating global problems and threats that exceed the management abilities of national governments.
Around 3,000 participants drawn from across the world from every sphere of influence: business, government, civil society, academia, arts and culture, and media come to this small Swiss Village every year, this time around to discuss how to build a better version of globalization. This gigantic undertaking is supported by a logistics workforce of several thousand, with hotel rooms as far away as 50 kms available at 10-15 times the normal rates.
This year’s manifesto was titled “Globalization 4.0: Shaping global architecture in the age of the fourth industrial revolution” states that “the change is not merely geopolitical, nor economic. Rather we are experiencing a change to the very fabric of how individuals and society relate to one another and to the world at large. We are living in the age of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Economies, businesses, societies and politics are not just changing – they are fundamentally transforming. Reforming our existing processes and institutions will not be enough, they must be redesigned to anticipate the forces of change and shape strategies that leverage the abundance of new opportunities, avoiding the great risks inherent in such disruptive periods.”
Over the last 17 years, the regular PAKISTAN BREAKFAST has developed into an institution acknowledged by those attending Davos regularly. Hosted by the PATHFINDER GROUP (for the last four years in association with MARTIN DOW GROUP) did not have as its usual CHIEF GUEST the President or Prime Minister of Pakistan. Imran Khan, the Chief Guest three years in a row 2011, 2012 and 2013, chose not to come when he became PM in his own right. With Pakistan facing an economic crisis, it was important for Imran to refute wrong perceptions personally. Moreover, Imran’s star power could have been leveraged in aid of the country. No matter, at a well-attended dinner at the world famous SCHATZALP, Chief Minister (CM) Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan gave a very eloquent and sound analysis of the situation prevailing in Pakistan. An elected CM for Balochistan representing Pakistan on the world stage tremendously negated the wrong perception prevailing about this important Province in Pakistan’s future. The CM had eloquent and knowledgeable support from Senator Anwaar ul Haq Kakar and Lt Gen Asim BajwaCommander Southern Command.
On 23rd Jan the PAKISTAN PAVILION was inaugurated in the PANORAMA HOTEL by CM Jam Kamal Khan and on 24th January by the newly retired Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar. WEF Participants walked in informally to get informed about culture, charity, social developments, women’s status and technological progress in Pakistan. At the PAKISTAN BREAKFAST former Chief Justice (Retd) Mian Saqib Nasir was brilliant in explaining how the rule of law is now being set in place in Pakistan across the broad spectrum of society. The Pakistan turnaround with respect to the rule of law and good governance was duly acknowledged by the assembled DAVOS elite early in the morning. This was further force-multiplied in discussions in the Pakistan Pavilion with prospective investors during the afternoon and evening of both Jan 23 and 24.
While many major leaders like US President Donald Trump, UK’s Theresa May, France’s Macron, etc pulled out because of their multiplying domestic problems, Davos 2019 hosted a multitude of programs and discussions related to global economic policy and development, technological progress, cybersecurity, discussions on financial and monetary systems, on risk resilience and the need for institutional reforms at the national and global levels. The central theme this year was to find the trust and transparency and thus a common stand on such an issue helps world leaders to fight against distrust, lies, fake news and the like that is souring our societies.
WEF insists that “The importance of collaboration in a connected world” means that to quote, industry and geographic boundaries are becoming meaningless. The new approaches to collaboration have a different purpose, structure, and outcome than those of the past. They’re marked by the geographic diversity of participants, a cross-industry focus, shorter and more flexible deal structures, and continuous value creation by and for members.” Unquote.
Last year former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was brilliant in Davos, Bilawal Zardari’s presence was the icing on the cake. For whatever reason for a leader like Imran Khan missed a good opportunity. His Davos presence would have ensured that we are not left out in the cold out of the world mainstream.
The writer is a defense and security analyst.