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World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 opens with calls for Collaborative Innovation    2008-01-23 09:04

Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 open the five-day meeting

 (WEF)Davos, Switzerland, 23 January 2008 ¨C The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 has opened with calls from the Co-Chairs to exercise ¡°The Power of Collaborative Innovation¡± to meet the top challenges of economic instability, climate change and equitable growth.

¡°This is a moment of greater insecurity and challenge in the world today, but it makes a meeting like this all the more important. The theme of the Annual Meeting, ¡®The Power of Collaborative Innovation¡¯ is the answer to all the big global challenges we are facing,¡± said Co-Chair Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007) and Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.

¡°Within the Meeting¡¯s main theme, I would like to see participants addressing the issues of peace and climate change, as well as the issue of inclusive growth,¡± said Co-Chair K. V. Kamath, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ICICI Bank, India. ¡°How can we innovatively collaborate to meet the needs of [poor] people around the world? I will work collaboratively to see how we could do more,¡± he said on the opening day of the Annual Meeting 2008.

Co-Chair Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, USA, echoed the other Co-Chairs¡¯ emphasis on the timeliness of the Annual Meeting 2008. ¡°In spite of the economic crisis, can we look beyond that and view Davos as a collection of minds to address issues that can be addressed ¡­. My hope is that we are here not only with a can-do spirit, but with a must-do spirit,¡± she said. Her focus is on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and water in particular. ¡°It would be wonderful if we could assign an owner to each MDG to move them forward,¡± she said.

James Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co., USA; and Co-Chair of the Meeting, agreed with Tony Blair that making progress to resolve the Middle East conflict and world peace are at the top of his agenda. ¡°The second would be energy and the environment. The third is education and the fourth is a global system which promotes growth in a fair way,¡± he said. Responding to questions about current economic instability, he said: ¡°The world economy is extremely complex, and I¡¯m not sure the tools policy-makers have can solve all these problems. People are doing all they can to mitigate any negative effects of a downturn.¡±

¡°I know there¡¯s a lot of concern about the economic situation, but looking at the long term, I¡¯m here to talk about energy,¡± said Co-Chair David J. O¡¯Reilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chevron, USA. As more people are lifted out of poverty, demands on energy are only going to increase, he explained. Finding solutions to this challenge ¡°tests the theme of the conference ¨C ¡®The Power of Collaborative Innovation¡¯ ¨C it¡¯s going to take both,¡± he said.

¡°I think collaborative innovation is important to all industries and businesses,¡± said Co-Chair Wang Jianzhou, Chairman and Chief Executive, China Mobile Communications Corporation, People's Republic of China. ¡°Companies and countries need to take social responsibility and pay attention to climate change and other global challenges.¡±

¡°This is not a great year in the US for far-sighted and imaginative economic policies,¡± commented Co-Chair Henry Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, USA. He said he feared more ¡°protectionist talk¡± coming from the US. ¡°We need to activate world trade talks and strengthen the global international system, and I believe that the existing [US] Administration will do the best it can and the new Administration will take a broad view of the issue.¡±

¡°The focus on collaboration and innovation in 2008 underscores the opportunity for the world's leaders to use the World Economic Forum's multistakeholder platform in Davos to collaborate and take action to tackle the world's most pressing problems,¡± said Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

In total, over 240 sessions are taking place over the course of the five-day Meeting, as well as related smaller, private meetings and the Open Forum, which the general public is invited to attend. The programme is organized around five sub-themes:

Business: Competing While Collaborating

Economics and Finance: Addressing Economic Insecurity

Geopolitics: Aligning Interests across Divides

Science and Technology: Exploring Nature's New Frontiers

Values and Society: Understanding Future Shifts

More than 2,500 participants from 88 countries are in Davos, Switzerland, including 27 heads of state or government, 113 cabinet ministers, along with religious leaders, media leaders and heads of non-governmental organizations. Around 60% of the participants are business leaders drawn principally from the Forum's members ¨C 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across all economic sectors.

From:    Editor: Zhang Jialu
Preparatory & Coordination Committee of Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008