Dubai: Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the World Government Summit Organization (WGS), on Monday said that the World Government Summit (WGS) has become the largest global platform for shaping the future of governments, thanks to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
This came during a speech delivered by Al Gergawi on Monday at the World Government Summit Dialogue, held at the Museum of the Future in Dubai, where he outlined the themes of the upcoming eighth edition (WGS 2022), which will be organised at the Expo 2020 Dubai at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at between March 29 — 30.
The Dialogue hosted key UAE ministers and heads of government and semi-government epartments that are key partners of the WGS.
Better future for humanity
During his opening remarks, Al Gergawi said that since the inception of WGS, it has helped shape the way governments have adapted to build a better future for humanity.
He said that the Summit has “evolved into an incubator of innovative solutions at the decision and policymaking level, where ideas, knowledge and success stories are shared and transferred by pioneering government officials, thought leaders and industry experts.
“The World Government Summit continues to support the development of exceptional ideas such as the launch of the Museum of the Future, which anticipates the services humanity will need in the future.
“It is fitting,” he added, “that we are hosting the first Summit Dialogue since the pandemic, at the Museum of the Future since in 2014, Sheikh Mohammed announced the conception of the Museum of the Future, and the first exhibition took place in the WGS 2015. The idea that a Museum of the Future could exist, where people could come together to design solutions to tomorrow’s world, was born at the WGS.
“And today, the most beautiful building on earth is not only a reality, but that place where the world’s most creative and innovative minds connect and collaborate to solve future challenges,” he said.
Six Visions for Future Readiness
Al Gergawi said that, since its inception, WGS has put forward six visions that have contributed to enhancing the world’s readiness for the future.
The first vision, he said, was inspired by Sheikh Mohammed. It states that “nothing is impossible in the UAE.” It was this vision, he noted, that was the first step in launching the model of future ministries in specialisations such as advanced technologies, tolerance, happiness, food and water security.
The second vision showed that economies will shift dramatically. “WGS highlighted the point that countries will not depend on a single resource,” he said, noting that this was inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who famously said in 2015 at WGS that by accelerating non-oil trade the UAE would be able to celebrate its last export of oil barrel in 50 years. Since then, the UAE’s non-oil trade has increased from Dh1.059 trillion to Dh1.9 trillion in 2021.
Cities of the future
The third vision that was developed by the Summit, the minister said, is to forge a new landscape for cities of the future.
“They can become human cities that enhance communication between residents and enable them to balance their work and life,” he said, noting that this vision was inspired by a message from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, in 2019. Today, Dubai tops regional cities in the list of the best global cities, and ranks third globally on the same list, according to the Expat Insider 2021 survey.
The fourth vision created on the platform of WGS, was based on the speech of His Highness Lieutenant-General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, where he explored the positive impact of the Emirati citizen, which can transform the UAE into a model society for unrivalled well-being globally. This was reflected by the launch of the UAE National Behavioural Rewards Strategy to promote positive action in society and a sense of collective responsibility.
Vision of reaching Mars
The fifth vision born from the Summit, Al Gergawi noted, is that there are no limits to human ambition and exploration. This fifth vision was inspired by the speech of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs at the Summit, that discussed the Emirati dream of reaching Mars. In its Golden Jubilee year, the UAE celebrated the achievement of the Hope Probe successfully entering the orbit of Mars — the first time a satellite form the Arab world has reached the Red Planet.
The sixth vision created by the Summit stems from the importance of coexistence and human fraternity, which came from the speech of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, about the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence that the UAE promotes around the world. This vision was realised with the launch of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together in 2019.
Anticipating the pandemic
Al Gergawi stressed that WGS’ positive impact was not limited to the UAE. “The impact of WGS extends to every corner of the planet,” he said. “In its previous seven editions, through more than 1,100 sessions, the experts and thought leaders convened by WGS anticipated many of the challenges that we have seen unfold in recent years — from a changing climate to pandemic readiness,” he added.
He further pointed out that three major challenges were anticipated by the Summit. Firstly, the disruption of a future pandemic was brought to the world’s attention, he said.
“During the 2018 Summit, we listened to a future projection of a world suffering from a major pandemic that reached all societies, when Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), stressed the importance of preparing for any potential pandemic, and strengthening the readiness of countries’ health systems.”
This projection has turned out to be extremely accurate, he said, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as one of the most important historical lessons in the way it accelerated governments’ adoption of technologies, future-proof systems and hybrid work environments, enhancing readiness and flexibility, preparing for a more open and interconnected future, and forming integrated digital governments.
Climate Change, Cyber Security
The second challenge the Summit has placed at the top of its agenda, is climate change. Al Gergawi reflected on how WGS has become a platform to announce major ministerial changes, including the appointment of a minister for climate change to confront the global challenge that affects all societies, so that the UAE proactively addressed facing this existential challenge to develop strategies aimed at achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
The third challenge foreseen by the Summit was the realm of cybersecurity and the need to protect digital systems. “The development of digital infrastructure for future governments has been a crucial topic for WGS,” he said, noting that the Summit has witnessed the creation of a ministerial position for advanced technology, the first minister of artificial intelligence in the world.
Summit of Opportunities
Al Gergawi went on to describe the upcoming eighth edition of WGS as “The Summit of the Next Decade”.
“We need to enhance the participation of young people — who make up two-thirds of the region’s population — in decision-making positions to provide a platform where their voice can be heard,” Al Gergawi said, noting that the Summit provides an annual platform for Arab youth to share their aspirations and their visions for the future.
“WGS also witnessed the appointment of the UAE’s youngest minister of youth, the launch of youth councils and youth strategies, the creation of youth policies, and the launch of the Arab Youth Center to prepare a pioneering model for empowering the largest social segment in the Arab world,” Al Gergawi added.
He said that during a previous World Government Summit, the global inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk predicted the first features of the metaverse, when he said that video games will develop into a complete world indistinguishable from the one in which we live — so close to reality that we will not be able to tell which reality is real.
Al Gergawi added: “WGS reflects the UAE’s willingness to participate in and convene global efforts to enhance the agility and resilience of government models in anticipation of future challenges. We stand committed to forging purposeful and constructive partnerships to support the socioeconomic recovery and development process to unlock new opportunities for people around the world.
“Enhancing collaboration, cooperation and integration between governments, the public and the private sector, countries and communities, has never been more important. To create greater prospects, enhance global prosperity and unleash the true potential of humanity, we must come together as one united humanity to find ways to help people move forwards,” he said.
Connecting minds, creating the future
Al Gergawi went on to note that hosting the Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai is symbolic of the UAE’s connected, forward-looking philosophy.
“Organising WGS 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai will make for an exceptional event,” he said. “It will build on the achievements of this incredible expo which overcame unprecedented challenges and disruption to bring people together in the most challenging of times.
“The missions of WGS and Expo 2020 Dubai are seamlessly aligned. We seek to enhance the participation of countries around the world to shape a future of shared prosperity and opportunity. We are seeking to build better governmental, economic, social and technological structures that support our global ambitions. We are connecting the world’s greatest minds to create the future we all want.”
15 global forums at WGS
The World Government Summit chairman also announced that WGS 2022 would host 15 forums, including new topics of focus for the Summit.
For the first time this year, WGS will host the Global Crypto Forum, in recognition of the growth of cryptocurrencies and the shift they have affected in the financial sector. The Summit will also discuss the rise of the Internet’s next world, Web 3.0, in the Global Metaverse Forum that will become one of the most important global markets, blending elements of virtual and augmented reality technologies to enable individuals to live a new life in an integrated digital world in which they share “everything”.
The eighth Summit will also organise the first Arab Meeting for Young Leaders, a platform for the Arab youth to explore future prospects, and the Arab Government Administration Forum, which discusses ways to advance Arab government work and move it to future horizons.
WGS 2022 will host the Cybersecurity in Aviation Forum to explore the future of safe, digitally enhanced and cyber-secure aviation, and discuss the future of investment in the Investopia Investment Summit, which provides a platform for launching new economic ideas.
The Summit, in partnership with international organisations, will also host forums that bring together the world’s most prominent talents to discuss vital sectors and develop ideas and visions for a new future, mainly: the TIME 100 Gala, and the Forbes 30 Under 30 Forum.
In additions, WGS continues to host major forums that comprise key pillars for global communities and their future, namely, the Climate Change Forum, which focuses on the UAE hosting of the (COP28), and the Global Energy Forum, the Global Health Forum, the SDGs in Action, the Government Services Forum, the Women in Government Forum, and the Gender Balance Forum.
Al Gergawi pointed out that the World Government Summit has signed partnerships with more than 80 strategic, knowledge and media partners, and this year it will issue 20 reports in partnership and cooperation with key global research institutions.
Best Minister in the World Award
He revealed that the WGS will organise this year ‘The Best Minister in the World Award’ to honour the minister who has excelled and turned challenges into opportunities through the adoption of digitisation and advanced technology solutions in government services. Now in its fifth edition, the Best Minister in the World Award is organised in cooperation with the global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The award is based on several main criteria, based on the design and implementation of successful, scalable and applicable initiatives that aim to have a positive impact across society, enhancing government flexibility, readiness, innovation and future foresight capabilities, in addition to enhancing governance and transparency to improve people’s lives.