Heads of state called for 2018 to be the year of collaboration and multilateralism to address major global challenges like climate change, terrorism and protectionism, as the World Economic Forum (WEP) opened in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Climate change tops the list of common challenges faced by today's world, but the world has done little so far to tackle the greatest threat to all human civilizations, according to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech at the opening plenary of WEP 2018.
To hit climate change at its core, the world, while stepping up cooperation, needs to change the world's fundamental mindset from "greed-based consumption" to "frugal consumption," so as to avoid over exploitation of the nature and achieve "harmony between men and nature," the Indian prime minister warned.
Modi's appeal was echoed by the president of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset who sees climate change, terrorism, and peace and security as the major fractures in today's world.
And his solution is made clear -- keep promoting multilateralism and free trade to build a fair society in which resentment and anger are eased, everybody's social status elevated, and the overall social equation improved.
The year of 2018 should be the year of international collaboration and multilateralism, and let nationalists and protectionists be passing phase, the Swiss president urged.
As the 48th WEF kicked off Wednesday, 400 forums, discussions and meetings in just four days are expected to bring together a record number of heads of state, government and international organizations alongside leaders from business, civil society, academia, the arts and media to explore "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World," also the theme of this year's event.
"Our world has become fractured by increasing competition between nations and deep divides within societies. Yet the sheer scale of the challenges our world faces makes concerted, collaborative and integrated action more essential than ever," said WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab.
He suggests that these fault lines can be overcome by "renewing social contracts through inclusive growth," which can only be achieved through globalization and international cooperation, not nationalism and protectionism.