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The Davos Outlook for 2024

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25th Jan 2024

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The Hub Culture Davos Leadership Campus saw countless conversations among Hub citizens, partners and guests forcused on determining the key upcoming themes of 2024. While AI was ubiquitous and cut through conversations as diverse as climate, governance and innovation, other major thematic outcomes of emerged during the week. 

NGOs and Women

At the ICEhouse, the Ordinary Club of Extraordinary Women, in partnership with APCO, Fundacion Flor, and the W20 hosted a gathering of NGOs to discuss themes around women for the coming year. The W20 identified major areas of focus for the year ahead, and the conversation in the room focused on common themes of amplification and conversation that all NGOs could anchor to in an effort to syncronize messaging. Of the major thematic areas, the NGO group found a focus on entrepreneurship, care and violence against women as major shared talking points for the year ahead. As a result, a Project Hub was opened in Hub Davos to connect the NGOs and help them to develop shared priorities around these topics.

Equitable Sustainability

In a session at the ICEhouse, panelists explored the ongoing thread of "Equitable Sustainability" - the idea that projects are not sustainable if they do not address equitability as part of the solution. This focus on growing equitability should be a key component of a sustainable programme no matter what the topic focus or area of action. While equitability should not be 'enforced', the need to find mathematically viable forumlations that improve equitability is at the forefront of experimientation in this area. It was noted that equitability and sustainability begin with the individual, even if the bulk of transgressions in this area are conducted at the systemic and institutional level, where change should be addressed.

Ocean Climate Fund

In a session at the Chalet Pavilion, Hub Culture's ongoing advocacy for oceans through the appointment of the Atlantic Ocean to the Hub Culture board, as part of a nature + governance movement, gave rise to the next initiative in this area: a working group to create an Ocean Climate Fund in the run-up to COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.  Multiple stakeholders explored the concept of a working fund designed to deliver ocean linked solutions for climate - looking at scaling up new techologies, working with academic institutions to find solutions, and developing funding solutions for the global south to focus on ocean based intiiatives, including waste removal, de-acidification, biodiversity restoration and protection, and front-line community adapation to sea level rise.

AI for Humanity

In an evening session at the ICEhouse hosted by Imperial College London, guests explored AI for humanity, discussing the most important areas for companies and researchers to apply the benefits of AI. Increasingly, a focus on good governance, both for AI itself and for the human communities AI impacts, was at the center of the conversation. The use of AI in education was also dominant, as we seek to bring billions more into educational flows designed to equip populations to navigate the challenges of the 21st century.

World Security and Prosperity

Amid the backdrop of two ongoing conflicts and deteriorating relationships between major global powers, the need for mutual cooperation and trust building was high on the agenda at other dinners hosted in the ICEhouse, on podcast conversations at the Chalet, and in the Leadership Lounge, where leaders covered many aspects of mutual interdependence. The conclusion that 'we live in fragile times' was bookended by close attention to upcoming elections in North America, Russia and Europe, which have the potential to radically shift power structures by the end of 2024.

The presence of AI in elections and the ability to mass produce disinformation are set to be pivotal in the upcoming election cycle, and could be the deciding factor in how public support or resistance to the ongoing conflicts continues. 

The concept of flash-scaling - that an idea, app or concept can reach billions virtually overnight, means anything can happen as we head into election season.  There is a recognized need to prevent further erosion of trust and cooperation, but a lack of understanding on how to do that, given recent circumstances, leaves no clear plan of action.

Brazil in Focus

Among other boardroom conversations, Brazil looms large, with its upcoming G20, COP30, BRIC and indigeneous meetings attracting the attention of global decisionmakers.

Environmental activists both applaud recent moves to cut deforestation in the Amazon, and question the ignition of new oil and gas contracts that push Brazil further into legacy energy infrastructure. The need for sustainable farming and regenerative land practices is at the center of potential Brazilian leadership in combatting climate change.