We are live from the summit, being held at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, giving you the best of what we see and hear, updated every hour on the hour.
Reporting by: Evangeline Jose, Shreya Bhatia, Sharmila Dhal, Faisal Masudi, Ali Al Shouk, Virendra Saklani and Atiq-ur-Rehman
Sunday: Day 01
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, leaves the summit.
His Highness Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, speaks at WGS.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed said: "The Pope’s visit was a call for peace. Throughout history we see, people who make war are two types of people, politicians and religious leaders. That is why wanted to take a step towards achieving peace.
"We must be responsible to put an end to our conflicts and try hard to put an end to the wars.
"We may not succeed but we will most definitely try.
"Religions did not come to push people to violence. But we know it has been distorted throughout history to justify war and violence."
He added: "The declaration that was signed during the papal visit was a call for peace.
"The UAE has decided to extend the declaration and initiate a Zayed fund for cohabitation. A fund will be dedicated to organisations making an effort to create peace and harmony among various communities. In order to promote the values of tolerance and fraternity all over the world.
"We are happy that this document will be a part of our UAE school curriculum starting next year.
"We in the UAE were very proud to see 180,000 of our catholic brothers gather for this event.
"This meeting was a message by the UAE - The UAE are not only responsible to provide you with a good life but also respect your religion because it is our national duty and your right."
The UAE are not only responsible to provide you with a good life but also respect your religion because it is our national duty and your right.
Pope Francis speaks at the summit
Pope Francis, asks the question, 'What kind of world do we want to build, together?
Papal message to governments draws huge of the world.
DUBAI: The highlight of the first day of the World Government Summit was a plenary session in the evening where Pope Francis conveyed his message in a video recording to the UAE and the governments of the world.
In the message, beamed to a packed hall in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Executive Council, and other dignitaries, the Pope said, “I carry in my heart the visit to the UAE and the warm welcome I received. I encountered a modern country which is looking to the future without forgetting its roots. I saw a country seeking to transform into concrete initiatives and actions the words tolerance, fraternity, mutual respect and freedom. I also saw how even desert flowers spring up and grow. I returned home with the hope that many deserts in the world can bloom like this.”
He said, “It is my sincere hope that the questions underlying your reflections will not only be ‘what are the best opportunities to take advantage of, but what kind of world do we want to build together. This question leads us to think of people and of persons rather than capital and economic interests. It is a question that does not look to tomorrow , but further into the future , to the responsibility weighing upon us: handing on this world of ours to those who will come after us, preserving it from environmental degradation and even before that, moral degradation. We cannot speak of sustainable development without solidarity.”
Soon after the Pope's address, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said, “The recent visit of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Dr Ahmed Al Tayyab was a historical event and opened a new dialogue of brotherhood and peaceful co-existence.”
He said the world should be courageous enough to put an end to conflicts and wars that are born of religious and political differences. He said it is a challenging task, but not impossible.
The minister said the Abu Dhabi Declaration signed by the Pope and Grand Imam of Al Azhar sends a strong message hope, and peaceful co-existence and upholds freedom of thought, plurality, race, colour and language for everyone. “The historical declaration is a call for peace, brotherhood and fraternity among believers and non-believers. Peace belongs to all,” he said.
He also spoke about the Zayed Fund that Shaikh Mohammad had decided to set up for the promotion of peace globally.
“The UAE was honoured to host the visit of the two great leaders and we reiterate our commitment to the declaration. It will be part of school curricula from next year,” he said, adding a special team would be constituted to spread the values it carried.
"We have more wealth in the world than at any time before, yet every 5-10 seconds a child dies across the globe," David Beasley, Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), tells the audience.
Imran Khan addresses the crowd
Imran Khan, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, gives a speech at the Plenary Sessions.
Khan spoke about the reasons for the success of his nation and what he has learnt from UAE leadership.
IMF's Christine Lagarde issues statement post meeting with Pakistan’s Imran Khan
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), met today with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan in Dubai, in the context of the World Government Summit hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Following the meeting, Lagarde made the following statement:
“I had a good and constructive meeting with Prime Minister Khan, during which we discussed recent economic developments and prospects for Pakistan in the context of ongoing discussions toward an IMF-supported program.
“I reiterated that the IMF stands ready to support Pakistan. I also highlighted that decisive policies and a strong package of economic reforms would enable Pakistan to restore the resilience of its economy and lay the foundations for stronger and more inclusive growth. As emphasized in the new government’s policy agenda, protecting the poor and strengthening governance are key priorities to improve people’s living standards in a sustainable manner.”
Keynote address by Amina Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Watch: Shaikh Mohammad, Shaikh Abdullah and Shaikh Hamdan are at the World Government Summit
Lebanon Prime Minister Al Harriri on reformation programme against graft
Despite political challenges and corruption, Lebanon’s Prime Minister was optimistic about making Lebanon like Dubai in the future.
PM Saad Al Harriri said to a packed conference hall at the World Government Session that there was a sentence in Dubai Ruler’s book about Lebanon that inspired him about the future of his country.
“Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid said that he used to travel to Lebanon in the past and wanted to make Dubai like Lebanon in the future. But when I came to Dubai now, I want to make Lebanon like Dubai,” Saad Al Harriri said.
He said that Lebanon created a reformation programme to fight corruption in order to encourage investors to come to Lebanon. He described it as the last chance for Lebanon to escape collapse.
“Everything we are doing now for our country will be in [a] ministerial statement to encourage people to come invest. We have old laws from the 50s that slow our growth and economy. We have collective support from all political factions to create reforms and new laws,” he added.
He said that Lebanon was split after Rafic Al Harriri’s assassination in 2005, and impacted by the unstable regional situation, but Lebanon took a decision not interfere in conflicts despite some Lebanese parties wanting to interfere in the Syrian conflict. This was in an apparent reference to the pro-Iran Hezbollah militant group’s involvement in the war on the side of the regime of President Bashar Al Assad of Syria.
“I believe the disease we suffer from in this region is sectarianism. I’m employee in the government and serving everyone in the country whether Sunni, Christian, Shia or Druze.”
Al Harriri said that there is a political agreement between all parties in Lebanon on reformation as the country is in a ‘make it or break it’ position.
He affirmed that he is optimistic that Lebanon’s youth to help him in leading the reformation as 45 per cent of population area under age of 30.
“This is our last chance, either we make it or break it, and all political parties know [that]. I can reassure that once all the reforms are reintroduced then everyone will want to come [to] Lebanon. Despite [the fact] there is 25 per cent jobless[ness] among youth in Lebanon but I’m optimistic that the Lebanese youth can rebuild Lebanon,” Al Harriri added.
Meanwhile, Al Harriri said that women in Lebanon represent 54 per cent of society and he is a big supporter of empowering women to work in all sectors of the country.
“I believe women in the Arab world can do better job than men even.” (Ali Al Shouk, Staff Reporter)
Imran arrives in Dubai
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has arrived in Dubai to attend the World Government Summit today, Sunday.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received him upon his arrival in Dubai.
Best Minister: Afghanistan’s health minister
Afghanistan’s Public Health Minister Dr. Ferozudin Feroz won the Best Minister Award at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
The Best Minister Award reflects future government philosophy and the plans of the World Government Summit (WGS) for shaping a better future for mankind.
Who is Dr Ferozuddin Feroz?
Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz is Public Health Minister, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. In early February 2015, when he became the Minister of Public Health, Dr Feroz set some priorities and initiated a number of reforms and other changes with the aim of achieving sustainable, quality results that help improve the health of the people of Afghanistan.
In 2002, Dr. Feroz joined the Afghan Ministry of Public Health as the Deputy Minister, Policy and Planning. He was instrumental in laying sound foundations for Afghanistan’s current health system. He led, for example, the development of the first mission statement of the Ministry and of the National Interim Health Strategy 2002-2004. He strongly supported the development of two key initiatives: the Basic Package of Health Services and the Essential Package of Hospital Services.
The two initiatives contributed to the improvement of the coverage of health services throughout the country and have guided health workers in their efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality rates.
Between 2005 and 2014, Dr. Feroz did consultancy work in many areas of the country for the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and for the UK Department for International Development, DFID.
In addition, he founded an NGO, the Governance Institute-Afghanistan that has successfully undertaken a number of operational research studies and other work. He also worked on various aspects of health system reform in other countries including in India and South Sudan.
Dr. Feroz was born in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan in 1967.
Tech companies will be taxed in France
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France will be introducing a new law in a few weeks time that will pave the way for large internet and technology companies to be taxed.
Speaking to Gulf News after signing an MoU on artificial intelligence with UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar Al Olama at the World Government Summit, he said “companies with a global sales of over 750 million Euros would be covered under the new tax.”
Although Western media refer to the tax as the GAFA tax - after tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - the minister did not single out any names. He said the new law would be in keeping with the requirements of the 21st century. According to reports, a maximum rate of five per cent is being considered for the new tax.
Paul Krugman, Economist and Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center spoke during the session "Global Trade: Future Foresight & Analysis for Governments" on the opening day of World Government Summit 2019 in Dubai.
Tech revolution is ‘overrated hype’, Krugman tells Dubai summit
Robots snatching our jobs at an alarming rate is a modern-day hype, Noble laureate Paul Krugman told the World Government Summit 2019 in Dubai on Sunday.
The winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics (2008) said he was skeptical a high-tech ‘Industrial Revolution 4.0’ is sweeping an unprepared world.
The idea was presented to Krugman for his views on the topic by CNN business correspondent and presenter Richard Quest, who was moderating a summit session called ‘Global Trade: Future Foresight and Analysis for Governments’.
Krugman, who is a leading US economist, questioned how it was possible that “robots are taking our jobs but productivity growth is so low. The numbers suggest technological changes are sluggish now”.
He said the impact of technology as a factor in the job market was “overrated”. Krugman denied the idea, mentioned by Quest, of a looming “Armageddon” between man and machine in the labour market.
Krugman said while mobile phone technology, for example, had changed a lot, it is today changing only marginally, with people left “a lit bit bored about the latest entry from Apple”.
“The way the office works hasn’t changed so much. We hype it [technology-led transformation] endlessly; it’s not as great as advertised,” Krugman added.
Krugman, a professor of economics at City University of New York, was also asked for his outlook for the global economy.
Krugman said “we don’t know what’s going to happen” but his main worry was that “we don’t have a safety net if something goes wrong, we don’t have the policy tools available”.
He questioned the ability, “on average”, of “current ministers and policy makers” to steer the world through a 2008-like financial crisis, should such a crisis happen today.
“I don’t see an ice berg but if we hit one, this liner is not unsinkable.”
A conversation with Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde, talking about good governance said if you want to grow, reduce corruption and improve transparency. Corruption corrodes trust, impacts growth and sustainability of states. She gave Georgia as a great example of good governance.
“I see four clouds on the horizon to worry about—trade tension, financial tightening, Brexit, and China slowdown. When there are so many clouds, it takes just one stroke of lightning to start the storm.”
Shaikh Mohammad just arrived at the summit
Shape up, embrace ‘age of imagination’: Governments told
In a fragile world moving from being unipolar and uniconceptual to multipolar and multiconceptual, governments must shape up and realign their goals in the context of Globalisation 4.0 — or face the dire consequences of being left behind.
That was the dire warning experts made at the opening session of the World Government Summit in Dubai.
Solving problems in key sectors such as housing, education and health requires new ways of thinking.
In Dubai, ‘Global Goals’ will solve the most pressing problems in six sectors — housing, education, healthcare, personal debt, jobs of the future, and access to sustainable energy — set at the World Government Summit 2019 in Dubai on Sunday.
“Role of women in nation building”: Session with Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee
Leymah Gbowee, one of three Nobel Peace Prize winners from 2011, started the session recollecting a time she had a chance to speak to a soldier who fought during the Liberian Civil War: “A few years ago, very young in this field, I met a soldier who had been amputated.
I asked him, ‘Did you rape anyone during the civil war?’and he replied: ‘No’. I understood he hadn’t gotten my question.
So I asked again: ‘Did you force any woman to have sex with you during the war in Liberia?’ He said: ‘Yes! Isn’t that women are made for?’
She said we have normalised the belief that women are meant to be passive in society, they belong to the kitchen or inside the home. She added that the problem lies deep rooted in our social system: “In many schools, children are given the picture that mothers cook, mothers wash dishes....” Gbowee said this needs to change.
She recounted: “When war came millions were displaced, there was infrastructural destruction that we are still struggling to rebuild. Women decided we are going to protest for peace. We got out challenging dictatorship, creating strategies we were determined. This story is not unique to Liberia... in places across the world that have overcome war, women stood up and said it’s time to do something.”
When they finally found success after the war, Liberian women started working on issues and laws pertaining to women - especially sexual violence. She added: “We have strong sexual harassment and Inheritance law. This was all done by women.”
In our country, we have a song: “No longer are men in front, neither at the back. We walk side by side.
“When we leave out or ignore unique qualities that women bring to nation building, it’s like looking at things with one eye. Nation building process is not a one gender process.
Give women a chance and the nation will progress.”
Who is Gbowee?
Leymah Gbowee, one of three Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in 2011, was born and raised in Liberia. Gbowee (47) educated herself as a social worker and has worked to help those who suffered psychological trauma during the civil war in Liberia, including child soldiers.
After having led the women's peace movement that was decisive in ending the civil war in 2002, she received a degree in her field from an American university. In Liberia, bloody civil wars had ravaged the country since 1989 when Leymah Gbowee called together women from different ethnic and religious groups in the fight for peace. Dressed in white T-shirts they held daily demonstrations at the fishmarket in Monrovia. After having collected money she led a delegation of Liberian women to Ghana to put pressure on the warring factions during the peace-talk process.
This played a decisive role in ending the war.
Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, UAE, at the first day of the #WorldGovSummit 2019
Evolution of Leaders: Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins speaking at a session titled "the Evolution of Leaders" on the opening day of World Government Summit 2019 spoke about a leadership exercise - the difference between saying Yes and No, and how it shows us the impact it has on our body.
Imran Khan at WGS
Pakistani PM Imran Khan is set to speak later today, at 5.20pm at the World Government Summit (WGS)
RTA Sky Pods on display at WGS
Dubai Sky Pod Vehicles, displayed by the RTA, will help shape the future of transportation in Dubai. The upside: They occupy minimal land area, are highly energy efficient, use innovative railways and operate using an automated control system.
Read more: Dubai Sky Pods
Opening Session: Globalisation 4.0
Led by: Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and Prof. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum
“Be the one for the 7 billion”
The World Government Summit started with the video message “Be the one for the 7 billion”.
The opening session, called Globalisation 4.0, started with Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, welcoming Professor Klaus Schwab to deliver the opening message.
Professor Klaus opened with a “bad news”.
He said: “The world is a system, composed of many nation states. We are interconnected and we share a common future. This global system is in danger of spinning out of control, ice out of control consequences are very dire.”
"He added the factors that are causing this: “First is speed of change, second the Fourth Industrial Revolution — the world is in transformation from a unicolour to multi-colour. Makes our global system fragile.
"Thirdly the new wave of populism — Globalization 3.0 lifted people out of poverty but there are winners and losers.
"We have not solved key issues like data ownership, we don’t know what AI will do to mankind.
"People do not want to be left behind.
"Mother Nature is losing patience with us. It’s not only climate change, it’s biodiversity and more.
“We have to move to globalization 4.0 in line with the new world. What does it mean? It has to be more sustainable, we cannot continue to destroy. It has to be inclusive.... new vision. We need a more multi-stakeholder globalisation. Not just run by governments but also women, young people, businesses.”
Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of the Cabinet Affairs and the Future, UAE, in the same session discussed the importance and role of governments for the future and how they need to change their role.
Gergawi discussed the changes that the world will see in the coming years and how governments need to walk with change and do more for their people.
He said that the world is in the fourth industrial revolution and many governments are still not up to date with the changes that have taken place around them.
He also talked about how information is key and whoever holds information “is the future”.
He said: “Throughout the past hundreds of years, governments owned information about citizens. They knew their names. Today this has changed dramatically. Now, the private sector knows more than any government around the world. They know when we sleep or eat our travel destinations and more. They even know the number of our heartbeats. They know more than the governments. Who owns such data owns the future. The role of governments have changed.”
He added that with the advancement of technology, companies in the industry can write a whole page of information about a person.
He continued, “ So what is the role of the government? The old version of the government can’t impact the future. The private sector can. We need governments to look at their structure and future tasks as well.”
Gergawi said: “From managing these changes, governments need to lead these changes. They need to stimulate sectors. frozen sectors need to be used as platforms” for change and development.
“Collaborative legislations are the future”
Legislations need to change too. They need to keep up with the times and be more open. “Today we are talking about driverless cars. We need to redraft legislations for the future.”
“Where is the future of the world?” Gergawi asked those seated, “Is it in oil or gas or data? The future will be imagination and ideas.”
“The difference between human beings and any other creature is imagination. Artificial intelligence will always be a step ahead....Jobs that have creativity and which rely on arts and music will be emphasised.”
“Creativity is a 2.5 trillion dollar industry. However, there might be a shortage of these jobs in 2030. But government sectors starting from now can make a change.”
An overview for the day
The day's activities at WGS 2019 have started as scheduled.
What's happening today?
Sunday, being the official start of the major sessions during the summit, has a lot in store for attendees.
The day's events will kick off with a talk by Prof. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum and Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of the Cabinet Affairs and the Future, UAE. Other sessions include topics such as 'Post-Conflict Governance', 'The Future of Global Trade', 'Happiness and Well-being', 'The Interplay of Politics and Society' and 'The Future of Learning'.
Today's guest country is Estonia. There will be several sessions on how Estonia is leading the way for Europe's digital growth and how the practices followed for e-Estonia are a catalyst for a growing economy - not just within their country but across the world.
There will be a dedicated session on Sunday with the Managing Director of IMF, Her Excellency Christine Lagarde. Another highlight for the day is a session with His Excellency Saad Al-Hariri, Prime Minister, Lebanese Republic.
Sunday will also see the much-anticipated Best Minister award being given out.
In the evening, there will be a Papal Message to the Governments of the World from Pope Francis via virtual conference, following which His Highness Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation will speak on the topic 'Pope Francis in the Emirates: A New Dawn for the Middle East'.
What you need to know about the summit
The seventh edition of the World Government Summit brings together the largest gathering of leaders and heads of state, top government officials and leaders of international governments to discuss how to shape the future of the world.
The summit brings together 4,000 high-profile officials from 140 countries, heads of state, global figures and 30 leaders of 30 international organisations, as well as more than 120 heads of leading international companies who will discuss ways to shape the future of governments.
Mohammad Abdullah Al Gargawi, Minister of the Cabinet Affairs and the Future and Chairman of the summit, said the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the Summit 2019 is to present a formula for successful nations to all world governments.
- 4,000 participants, including leaders and heads of states over 5 days (February 8 to 12; main sessions starting on February 10)
- 200 sessions
- 600 speakers from 140 governments
- 30 representatives from international organisations
- 120 heads of leading international companies
- 4 Noble Prize winners
Main theme: Development of human life
The main theme of the event will focus on the development of human life, in line with the summit’s approach aiming at boosting governments’ efforts to shape a better future for the planet's 7 billion inhabitants.
It will feature 200 key interactive sessions involving 600 speakers, including experts and future forecasters, who will address vital future sectors.
Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, will address participants at the summit through a video conference — a major event that highlights the globally recognised reputation the summit has attained on the global scale, and its position as a platform for all concerned about the future of governments.
Among key speakers is Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, who will highlight seven main changes that will shape future cities.
Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, will speak at the session titled ‘a Wise Drive”, while Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will address the participants at a session titled “A New Era of Human Fraternity”.
Guest countries at the summit
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Epsy Campbell Barr, Vice-President of Costa Rica, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who represent the three countries, the guests of honour at the summit, will give key speeches. They will highlight success stories of their governments.
Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (Davos), will give a speech about the "Fourth Generation of Globalisation”. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will also be present.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri will speak about the Lebanese, Arab and international affairs and his vision for the future of governments.
Nobel Laureates in attendance
Four Nobel Prize winners will talk about economy, peace and the future of development. They include Juan Manuel Santos, the 32nd President of Colombia who won the Nobel Peace Prize, who will talk about how to drive nations from conflict to reconciliation. The Nobel Economic Prize Laureate Daniel Kahneman, who will speak about the art and science of decision making. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee will also hold a session on "Role of Women in Rebuilding Nations".
Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs who won the Nobel Prize for Economics, will be the key speaker at the session titled “The Future Prospects for Free Trade”.
The summit will address the future of global economy, and ways to harness artificial intelligence to improve human health, as well as data revolution and the future of media. It will also foresight the future of international trade and how quantum computing will change the future of the world.