I am writing my column from Davos, the exquisite resort in Switzerland where I will spend all of this week attending the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting, from January 22-27.
Earlier, as I walked down the deserted main ‘promenade’ here, it felt like an uneasy tranquil before a tornado. The planet’s most powerful “movers and shakers” will reach the ‘Magic Mountain’ by limousine and helicopter.
So, what should be expected from this glitzy, global dialogue, this year?
Well, it is a fact that the global economic indicators are going downhill faster than veteran skiers on the slopes of Davos. But, in the frosty Davos sun, the metre-long tapered rod of icicles dangerously hanging from chalet tops appear a more immediate threat.
At Schatzalp, powerful world leaders will press “reset” by swinging and swaying at a special welcome concert featuring the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra — conducted by Vladimir Spivakov.
Hopefully, the healing effect of the high mountain air of Davos and the fine tunes of Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Boccherini and Rossini will set the tone and spark a deeper structural debate on the theme “Resilient Dynamism”, over the next few days.
This year, world leaders, including 50 heads of government and ministerial representation from over 100 countries, are among the more than 2,500 participants to convene in Davos-Klosters.
Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Prime Minister David Cameron, Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy will address the Forum’s Annual Meeting this week.
The theme of the annual meeting is “Resilient Dynamism”, aiming to catalyse and facilitate global, regional and industry transformation.
According to Klaus Schwab, “A radical change in our thinking of preparedness - from preparing for known events to preparing for the unknown and, the new leadership context, is a must”.
The Euro Zone debate at the Open Forum 2013 in Davos will discuss the distant light of hope seen at the end of the tunnel.
Indeed, many of the gloomy forecasts did not come true. Europe is still in one piece and the Euro did not crash. European utopia of solidarity, stability and integration is after all, not a broken promise!
Yet, the WEF feels reinstating competitiveness in the European Union will not be a cakewalk.
There will be continued pressure for hardnosed, ruthless reforms and budget cuts in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
And the question remains -- what will be Germany’s role in the Euro Zone in 2013? Will it continue marching ahead? These and more will be discussed.
Pressing global risks
As always every year, the participation of Social Entrepreneurs will ensure that the interaction in Davos can deal with the realities on the ground.
Social Entrepreneurs, together with Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers will demonstrate that to address environmental disasters, improve education and health standards, and eradicate poverty, we need entrepreneurial solutions.
Which risks worry you the most?
The World Economic Forum’s Risk Response Network published its Global Risks 2013 report which polled over 1,000 experts, on the most pressing risks to face mankind over the coming decade.
By identifying 50 global risks — from water supply crises to fiscal imbalances — and tracking every year how they are perceived in terms of likelihood, impact and interconnections, the report takes the pulse of a world facing complex and ever-evolving threats.
But this year, the World Economic Forum and Nature teamed up to explore another category of risk: the dangers that could sneak up, largely unnoticed.
Many of these risks are unexpected consequences of our own technological quests, such as climate change.
How resilient are you?
Although Davos will be eclipsed by real-time talks, debates and sessions, that does not mean that the mountain chatter will be in vain.
As in each year, the World Economic Forum in Davos is also home to upscale banquets and backroom conversations, where many lucrative deals are struck. All of this is against the awe-inspiring landscape of the Swiss Alps.
(The author is former Europe Director, CII, and lives in Cologne, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org)