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As the world seeks to recover from one of the worst disruptive events in history, the coronavirus pandemic, it still is faced with the modern challenges, such as climate change, poverty, among other pressing issues that needs a new ‘great narrative.’

On Thursday, Dubai hosted a group of the brightest minds in the world to discuss how humanity can respond to those existential questions. The 2- day brainstorming conference, named “Great Narrative Meeting” is held in collaboration between the UAE Government and the World Economic Forum and brought together global thought leaders, specialists and futurists to draw visions, ideas and innovative solutions for the world’s great issues.

In addition to the leading global thinkers, a number of UAE government senior officials took part in the discussion that covered future sciences and genetics, future health care, space, economy and business, cities of the future, environment and climate change. Results of the meeting and its recommendations will be in a book entitled “The Great Narrative”.

Our modern world may be getting wealthier- the global income has increased more than seven folds over the past 50 years. However, this unprecedented wealth has failed to reach most of the underdeveloped world. According to some estimates, 10 per cent of the world in the developed world, owns more than 90 per cent of the world’s wealth.

Another pressing issue is climate change. It is real and happening — from the ecological collapse, increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as droughts and flooding, rising sea temperature to the melting of the glaciers. Climate change is also a key reason for the spread in hunger in many parts of the world with many agricultural areas diminishing.

Moreover, there are the emerging issues of ‘Big Data’, artificial intelligence and the fantastic advances in technology and digitisation and how to utilise them for sustainable human development and bring about solutions to global burning issues.

There is a pressing need, more than ever, to establish effective dialogue, promote cooperation and strengthen partnerships among countries of the world to “secure the future of humanity,” Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs noted. Thus, the UAE was very keen on hosting this innovative platform to address those burning issues. “Our aim is to empower governments and societies to shape a better future for next generations,” he added.

As the UAE prepares to celebrate its G olden Jubilee in less than 20 days, the country looks one massive busy workshop that plans for the next 50 years. But the nation is also playing an important role in helping a world that is in need of a new ‘great narrative’ to address its most pressing issues.