World Economic Forum to form Innovative Risk Response Network

15:15, December 02, 2010      

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The World Economic Forum is building an unprecedented Risk Response Network designed to bring the world's leading thinkers together with top policy and decision makers to shape and implement viable solutions to major global challenges.

"We have started a global mobilization to increase risk resilience on the micro and macro levels," said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, in the closing session of the third Summit on the Global Agenda. "It is a movement with a clear purpose: to strengthen risk resilience in a world which is characterized by much higher volatility in a world of much greater togetherness."

The world needs a variety of interconnected external risk identification and response networks, said Ronald K. Noble, secretary-general of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in Lyon.

"This is an extraordinary initiative," Noble said.

More than 600 leading experts on a host of global issues, who form the Forum's Network of Global Agenda Councils, participated in the three-day Summit on the Global Agenda, which was held by the Forum in partnership with the United Arab Emirates, represented by the Government of Dubai.

The Network of 72 Councils, which was launched three years ago, will become an integral part of the new Risk Response Network, providing the powerful strategic insights that policy and decision makers need to shape action plans to tackle the most pressing global challenges in both the long and short term. The Risk Response Network will be officially launched at the World Economic Forum's next annual meeting in Davos-Klosters from Jan. 26 to Jan. 30 in 2011.

"The world needs to deal with a dizzying array of risks and opportunities," said Ngaire Woods, professor of International Political Economy at Oxford University.

More effective networks and partnerships are needed to improve cooperation, the quality and use of information and collaboration among multiple stakeholders, she explained.

The Risk Response Network can contribute to this effort. It should focus on risk prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response as well as recovery and rehabilitation, said Heizo Takenaka, director of the Global Security Research Institute at Keio University in Japan and a member of the World Economic Forum's Foundation Board.

"We should focus on how to involve the business community. With this network, if we start exchanging views on best practices, this could be an early success," Takenaka said.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk, minister of tourism of South Africa, agreed.

"The Forum is pointing out a vacuum; there is room for the private sector to fill that void," van Schalkwyk said.

He cautioned against the Risk Response Network becoming a government-driven initiative.

"We don't want sessions to become endless negotiations," he said.

He Yafei, ambassador and permanent representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, said global challenges are so risky now because there is a "multiplicity" of such issues.

"They don't come in isolation. They come together at the same time and cover various fields. It is difficult to confine any challenge or risk to one country, region or sector," He said.

As a result, he noted, "there is a confidence deficit." People lack trust in the international system and in governments to reduce these risks.

"The challenges faced by the world are real," Summit Co-Chair Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, the Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, concluded in remarks to close the meeting. "We must not shy away from them. The price of inaction will be huge."

By Lucy Jay-Kennedy, WEF


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