News

World Economic Forum Leaders Discuss Green Growth

28 January 2010: The 41st World Economic Forum Annual Meeting was held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, from 24-28 January 2010, gathering over 2,500 leaders from industry, government, international organizations, academia and civil society. Discussions focused on green growth, climate change and the water-food-energy nexus.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered remarks to the Forum session on redefining sustainable development, held on 28 January. He highlighted that growth in a resource-constrained environment requires rethinking towards a “free market revolution for global sustainability” by connecting the dots between climate change, water, energy and food. He underlined the urgency of: ensuring sustainable, climate-resilient green growth, generating a clean energy revolution; linking the development agenda and the climate agenda; combining the efforts of business, government and civil society; and linking discussions on global security and global sustainability. Ban highlighted the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability (GSP) that he had appointed and said he had asked the panel to consider two questions: how we organize ourselves economically, and how we manage increasingly scarce resources. He said the GSP would finalize its recommendations by the end of December 2011 so they could feed into intergovernmental processes leading up to the UNCSD. Ban also asked WEF participants to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy and expanding clean energy access in developing countries, which he noted were their “markets of tomorrow,” and to join the UN Global Compact. 

Finland's President Tarja Halonen, Co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, called for an approach that combines growth with social justice and environmental sustainability. Mike Duke, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart Stores, stressed synergies between growth and protecting the environment, and between the interests of business and economic sustainability.

The Forum's Programme included discussions on: the Energy Agenda in 2011; the Environment Agenda in 2011, focusing on the impacts of resource scarcity, post-Cancún priorities, and private sector and bottom-up solutions; Global Risk Update, including the water-food-energy nexus; the Role of Business in Development, focusing on sustainable development, public-private partnerships, infrastructure investment and rethinking natural resources; nurturing Africa's natural resources, focusing on agricultural land sales, mining resources, energy exploration and fishery depletion; Redefining Sustainable Development; Delivering Bio-driven Development; and Managing the Basics: Water, Food and Energy. Climate-related sessions were devoted to: Leapfrogging to Low-carbon Growth; Solving the Energy Efficiency Equation; and The Road to Durban: Building on the Cancún Agreements. [UN Secretary-General's remarks][Forum press release] [Forum website]