Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight reports from the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland…
Day One at Davos and I am not surprised that many participants are preoccupied by the possibility of recession in the USA – this is after all an economic forum. I am, however, pleasantly surprised to find that issues more relevant to CI, such as poverty reduction and climate change have not entirely slipped off the agenda.
The day begins with a series of ‘update’ sessions and I choose to attend one entitled ‘Africa’s Governance Dividend’. Panel members presented an upbeat, optimistic view of Africa’s development and governance progress, which was attributed in part to the ability of African countries to learn from past failures.
Contributors from the floor raised some challenging questions including the issue of inequality and the need to move developing countries further up the value chain.
Later in the day came the opening ceremony for the Forum, which featured opening remarks by the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, […]
On my final day at Davos I am invited to participate in the Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders (IGWEL), a private meeting of heads of state and government, senior government ministers, heads of international and regional organisations and select private sector representatives. It is an “off the record” discussion on ‘The Responsibility to Protect: Human Security and International Action’ and centres on the importance of international action against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
We talk about what the international community has learned from gross human rights abuses and humanitarian crises in places such as Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo and what capacities are lacking in the international system to respond effectively to them.
I also attend a session entitled ‘Death, Disease and Dirty Water’ which focuses on the links between water and diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and cholera. A panel made up of scientists […]
Day Three at Davos and there is much talk of the Millennium Development Goals at various sessions, culminating in a joint statement in which world leaders vow to make 2008 a turning point in the fight against poverty. Promises are made and worthy sentiments expressed, but these will need to be translated into real action on the ground.
The role of faith-based and other civil society groups in helping to deliver the MDGs is at last being acknowledged. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that the international community has to recognize that social and economic problems in many poorer developing countries are creating an emergency that has to be faced. At current rates of progress, the developing world is far from achieving the MDGs by 2015. Governments should join with the private sector, NGOs and faith groups to forge a common approach to issues such as water […]
Poverty, climate change, water and faith were the themes that dominated my second day at Davos. The day begins early with a breakfast session with former US Vice-President Al Gore and rock star/poverty activist Bono discussing how to combine solutions to extreme poverty and climate change.
Al Gore said: ““The Millennium Development Goals can only be met if the climate crisis is taken into the fold of that effort. If the world warms up by two degrees all of the good work done in development will be undone.”
I was pleased to see Bono taking up this theme, so central to CI’s advocacy strategy, saying that the G8 nations were not making good on their commitments to the MDGs . “It looks like they are not going to happen, and that is a scandal. If we can’t keep to these commitments, who are we?” he said. He called for governments to […]
The World Economic Forum brings together business leaders, politicians and heads of state, with artists, academics, religious leaders, and other civil society representatives.
Lesley-Anne Knight will be the first Caritas Internationalis Secretary General to attend the annual meeting held in Davos, Switzerland, which begins this year on Wednesday, 23 January.
Ms Knight says that reviving momentum behind the Millennium Development Goals will be her main objective at the Davos meeting.
Caritas to stress delivering for the poor at World Economic Forum in Davos
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight reports from the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland
Davos Day Two
Davos Day Three
Davos 2008 Final Day