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President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai attend a session on Day 1 of World Government Summit. Image Credit: Twitter / Dubai Media Office

Watch live: World Government Summit 2023 in Dubai

Dubai: The 10th edition of the World Government Summit (WGS 2023) officially started today, February 13, in Dubai. Held under the theme “Shaping Future Governments,” the Summit brought together thought leaders, global experts and decision-makers from around the globe to share policies and models that were essential in shaping future governments.

More on World Government Summit 2023

Here is Gulf News’ live coverage of Day 1 of the region’s biggest gathering of leaders.

Technology can, if we share it, create wealth and wellbeing for all: Ana Brnabic

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Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, said: “In 2020, we witnessed the largest one year increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty. Just this past week, we saw yet another devastating disaster impacting thousands of people across Turkey and Syria. The world is becoming a complex place to live in. But what is especially frustrating is that all of this is happening at a time when we have discovered that the greatest wealth of all - technology. Technology can, if we share it, support, create wealth and wellbeing for all.”

ESG is the key to our future: Mizuno

"We should look at ESG as a way for our society and economy to avoid the risk that we know is coming our way in the future," says Tesla's Mizuno.

Focus on healthy living: Jeff Risom

“It's about carbon and smart power grids and charging stations, but we need to clearly articulate more about the healthy living and be sure that we're joining those things up authentically,” said Jeff Risom Partner and Chief Innovation Officer at Gehl People.

“So part of it is a little bit of a mind shift about not only our narrative, but our ambitions and how, really smart people leading businesses are thinking about how those ambitions for everyday quality of life can be improved.”

Move aggressively to approach ESG goals , says Alan Schwartz

"Everyone understands that we need to move faster. And so, if you get the regulation and deployment in the wealthy parts of the world, then they can jump to the emerging markets," said Alan Schwartz, Executive Chairman of Guggenheim Partners

"And so I believe that this time, if we bring together business, governments, regulators, and not NGOs, we can move much more aggressively than we have in the past," he added.

Hiro Mizuno, Board Member, Tesla, Jeff Risom, Partner and Chief Innovation Officer, Gehl, Alan Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners and Dr. Christian Bruch, President and CEO, Siemens Energy during a panel discusion at the World Government Summit 2023. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Sustainability driven infrastructure is vital in race to Net Zero: Christian Bruch

“There is more technology needed, that's not a question but we have lots of technology available to deploy and this is now the long-term alignment, what we need to really get going now because it really needs to get started in terms of driving a more secure and sustainable energy system,” said Christian Bruch President and CEO, Siemens Energy

Reformatting governance can promote economic growth: Al Jasser

“Today, we view it against heightened global turbulence and uncertainty. Indeed, the world economy is still facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and suffering from the repercussions of the crisis in Eastern Europe with persistent inflationary pressures. Threats of food and energy crises, high uncertainty and tight financial conditions,” said Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, Chairman, Islamic Development Bank Group.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Government Summit 2023, Al Jasser said that the investments should be geared towards ensuring sustainability equity and inclusiveness. 

“Regulatory framework and governance should ensure market transparency and efficiency, thereby addressing market failures by using suitable incentive mechanisms,” said Al Jasser. “Needless to say, when the regulatory framework is weak or poorly implemented, it can slow business responsiveness divert resources away from productive investments hamper market access reduce job creation and discourage entrepreneurship.”

Call for strong leadership around the world

“We must rapidly and intentionally reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our urban centers as well as use every available solution to draw down greenhouse gases already emitted and here research and technology hold huge promise to deliver on that reduction if they're championed by inspired and enlightened governments, businesses, and civil society all working together, said Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Chairman of Environment and Climate Committee, Aga Khan Development Network at the session titled 'The Built Environment in the Context of Climate Change'.

“So how to ensure the global city design incorporates resilience and a sustainable foundation in the future or environmental level, we need to ensure that energy is produced and natural resources and land are used in a sustainable manner,” he added. “And on a governance level, strong leadership and competent management are key.”

He called for integrated approaches to issues around urban planning and dialogue to drive good decision-making. In this time of rapid and often unplanned urbanization, Aga Khan touched on three particularly daunting areas of challenge for us now and in the future. Infrastructure, health and emissions

Space travel calls for shared journey

For all its grandeur potential, space travel and development represents significant technical, operational and financial challenges, which means that this planet that we’re living in will remain home for generations to come,” said Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, Chairperson of the UAE Space Agency.

Mona Al Marri delivers opening remarks during the Gender Balance Forum

"On behalf of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, it is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the opening session of the Gender Balance Forum," says Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council.

Yusuff Ali lauds UAE leaders for hosting WGS 2023

MA Yusuff Ali, Chairman of the UAE-headquartered Lulu Group Image Credit: Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News

Prominent Indian business leader and chairman of the UAE-headquartered Lulu Group, MA Yusuff Ali congratulated the UAE leaders for successfully hosting the World Government Summit for 10 years.

“It is the leading summit for leaders from across the world. I congratulate our UAE leaders for bringing all the top leaders and brilliant minds under one roof for sharing ideas and working together for the world’s progress. This year, I’m particularly happy to see students from India, my country, winning the prestigious M-GOV awards. My heartiest congratulations to them and all the winners.” 

Ali added that it is also a matter of pride that the first Indian Institute of Technology outside India will be coming up in Abu Dhabi.

IIT Indore bags Global Best M-GOV Awards

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The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore, India receive the gold medal in the Global Best M-GOV Awards ceremony at WGS 2023 by Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore, India bagged the gold medal in the Global Best M-GOV Awards ceremony at WGS 2023.

Blockbill is a blockchain-based receipt generation app providing users with digital receipts for all their transactions.

The silver medal was grabbed by “Don’t Waste,” an initiative of the Inha University in Tashkent, Uzbeskiatan while the bronze medal went to FARMIT, a project of the University of Belgrade in Serbia.

The winners were honoured by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Global Best M-GOV Awards
The 'M-Gov Award' and the 'GovTech Award' are annual awards organised by the UAE government as part of the World Government Summit. These awards are designed to encourage pioneering students, researchers, government agencies and institutions, private sector companies, and startups to develop innovative solutions using the latest technologies in order to address evolving local and global challenges and explore new opportunities for a better future for humanity.

This year the award was open to students, researchers and graduates of the “One Million Coders” Programme.

WGS is an excellent opportunity to listen to learn from each other: Sisi

“We have always been coordinating with the UAE because they have always been ahead of us…. WGS is an excellent opportunity to listen to learn from each other.”

“The reality maybe different sometimes from what you see in the media… For countries that have gone through wars and chaos like Egypt, it will take at least 10 years to revive your economic and social activities,” said Sisi.

Sheikh Mohamed offered help even without being asked anything: Sisi

Egypt couldn’t have sailed to safety and stability without the support of the UAE, said Sisi who recollected how Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed visited him within days after he assumed office and offered help even without being asked anything.

“He knew what was needed. I immediately saw ships being rerouted from the Red Sea carrying energy supplies,” he said, drawing a loud round of applause from the audience.

“Had it not been without the support of our brothers from the UAE and Saudi we would not have been able to cross to safety,” said Sisi.

He said he has been working progressively to fulfil his promise to provide comprehensive development in various sectors and the government has offered incentives for the private sector to be part of it.

Sisi, who explained in depth about the insurmountable challenges his government has been facing in various sectors, said: “We have extensively worked on automating our services. We started last year and we expect to achieve great development this year. “

Egypt chaos in 2011 cost the country $450b: Sisi

Sisi: The chaos that happened in Egypt in 2011 cost the country 450 billion dollars.

Energy crisis was a major challenge that his government faced. The government spent 8.1 trillion Egyptian pounds for electricity

There must be continuous communication between the people and the governments : Sisi

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, President, Arab Republic of Egypt, thanks the UAE leaders by addressing them as brothers and said: I thank them for the very nice welcome which I always receive here in the UAE and I pray to God for this country to be blessed with safety and stability

Sisi says his first challenge after 2011 was the loss of hope and desperation that Egyptians suffered.

Kersti Kaljulaid talks on a digital divide

We need all hands on deck

I believe very strongly that today, awareness about the climate crisis is very high in this part of the world in India and in the Middle East. The (global) warming is twice as fast as it is in the rest of the world. We need everybody to talk about inclusive approach to fighting the climate crisis…(We need) all hands on deck,” IMF MD

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Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund Moderated by Richard Quest. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

My heart goes out for the people in Turkey and in Syria: Kristalina Georgieva

IMF MD calls for international community to act as one to support quake-torn Syria and Turkey.

“My heart goes out for the people in Turkey and in Syria that have been devastated by the earthquake.”

She noted that the people in Syria have “suffered so much for so long.”

“It is now a moment for all of us to stand by people that are devastated and to get aid to move faster to get to those who need it. It is a responsibility of the international community to act as one.”

“Nothing is an obstacle when your heart is in the right place.”

UAE is one of the countries performing “really, really well,” Kristalina Georgieva says, addressing the leaders of the country present at WGS.

UAE leaders at the World Government Summit

Highlights of Dubai Urban Plan 2040

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Image Credit: Sajila Saseendran / Gulf News

Key elements of Dubai Urban Plan 2040

Al Tayer highlighted the key elements of Dubai Urban Plan 2040 and said: “We will be promoting investment opportunities to ensure residents meet their 80 per cent of their needs within a radius of 20 minutes’ walking distance.”

“Urban planning determines how cities will look like and as the result it will impact the living standards of the people…Cities with traditional urban planning should reconsider replacing them with one that goes hand in hand with the technological advancement and changing needs of the people.”

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Mattar Al Tayer during a session at World Government Summit

“We have conducted a national survey of 12000 people to identify the needs and aspirations of the people. We will prepare a road map based on the people’s requirements. We aim to provide the best possible quality of life and well-being to our people.”

Dubai will have 10 self driving vehicles by the end of 2023: Al Tayer

Mattar Al Tayer, Commissioner General for Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Well-Being Pillar, Government of Dubai, "Mega cities are confronted with major strategic challenges today. These challenges include rapid demographic growth in addition to horizontal urban development and climate challenge as well as technological developments and great advancements in AI."

Mario Abdo Benitez calls for more meaningful cooperation

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President of Paraguay Benitez calls for wider, deeper and more meaningful cooperation between governments that serve the shared interests of nations to address global challenges. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Mario Abdo Benitez, President, Republic of Paraguay, "It is my pleasure to be back in the UAE for the second time in less than a year. I renew my gratitude to the leadership and people of this beautiful country for the warm hospitality as usual.

At the outset, I would like to express my sympathy to the Turkish and Syrian peoples in this very painful moment. I feel it even deeper, because I am an Arab descendant too… and while doing so, I commend the solidarity of the UAE that shows once again the noble values this nation is built upon."

$15b investment on low carbon solutions

ADNOC commited to invest $15 billion from now until 2030 on low carbon solutions: Sophie Hildebrand, Chief Technology Officer, ADNOC

Three-day event

Delegates arrive at the 10th edition of World Government Summit 2023 at Madinat Jumeirah.

Georgia has managed to maintain economic stability: Irkali Garibashvili

Irkali Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, “We have been developing effective and efficient policies and achieve our vision through robust actions. Despite the grave geopolitical situation and the challenges in the region and declining over economic prospects, Georgia has managed to maintain economic stability.”

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Irakli Garibashvili Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

There seems to be glimmers of hope in the horizon: Ngozi Iweala

Ngozi Iweala, Director General, World Trade Organisation, “As we come out of the pandemic, there are lots of challenges on the way. There are crises we are trying to deal with in terms of trade. We have the climate change; and while the pandemic has abated, there are still some worries. There seems to be glimmers of hope in the horizon. For trade to be more resilient in the future, supply chains needs to be less vulnerable."

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Moderator Richard Quest with Ngozi Iweala Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Access to water will be a big challenge in the future: Makhtar Diop

Makhtar Diop, the Managing Director, International Finance Corporation, said, “If you think of all the technological advancements we have today and if we adopt them, we can have a better understanding of the risks we have to process.”

"We talk a lot about energy transition, however, one of the big challenges we will be facing in the near future is access to water. We need to discuss about the use of technology and AI to understand how water can be used more efficiently and in a better manner.”

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Moderator Becky Anderson with Makhtar Diop Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The world is changing at a very fast pace: Klaus Schwab

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum: “The fourth Industrial Revolution will be in our minds for some years to come. World governments have an important role to keep abreast of the change. The world is changing at a very fast pace and governments need to be faster."

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Mohammed Al Gergawi and Klaus Schwab

From ‘globalisation’ to a ‘multi-polar’ world: Al Gergawi

Al Gergawi: “Since our first edition in 2013, the world has changed drastically. Our reality, expectation and understanding of the future have changed. We have witnessed events that have changed the global landscape. We have seen natural disasters, a pandemic, and several geopolitical changes. We have moved from the concept of ‘globalisation’ to a ‘multi-polar’ world. The pandemic cost us millions of lives, and now we are witnessing the highest inflation and highest food prices the world has seen in years. Simultaneously, we have seen technological developments unlike ever before.”

Klaus Schwab delivers keynote address

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum delivering keynote address “The State of the World” at the 10th edition of World Government Summit 2023

Sound governments

Gergawi: Government crises are not caused by lack of resources, but due to lack of sound governance. The WGS serves as a platform to shape the future of governance.

Mohammed Al Gergawi delivers keynote address

Al Gergawi: This year marks the 10-year march of the World Government Summit

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Mohammad Al Gergawi

One minute silence held for victims of the Turkey, Syria earthquake

Mohammed Al Gergawi to speak

Set to begin any moment now, Mohammed Al Gergawi, the UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the World Government Summit, will officially open the summit with a talk titled - ‘A Decade of Change’.

10th World Government Summit 2023 begins in Dubai

The first day of the World Government Summit, the annual forum where world leaders gather to ‘Shape Future Governments’.

Day one (February 13) at the summit got off to a buzzing star early Monday morning. While there was heavy traffic on all roads leading to Madinat Jumeirah, the official venue of the Summit, Dubai Police officers and volunteers ensured the smooth movement of vehicles and people towards the summit.

After a quick security clearance, thousands of leaders, experts, senior officials, and visitors headed into the Plenary hall to hear from the first speaker of the day: Mohammad Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs.

9am session to start