This year’s Forum will reflect on the fact that we are experiencing a great deal of social, economic and political change, upheaval and disruption, largely amplified by the dual forces of digitalisation and globalisation. People are still hurting from the worst economic, financial and social crisis of our lifetimes, and see no end to job uncertainty, high debt, weak pay packets, and widening inequalities. Anxiety about their situation is spilling over into politics, driving people apart rather than bringing us closer together. The Forum will explore ways to transform these increasing expressions of uncertainty and anger into collective commitment for positive action.
In 2019, the Forum will also celebrate its 20th anniversary, an opportunity to draw inspiration, from both past and present, for the future by reflecting on how a multistakeholder platform for dialogue can help bring about collective solutions to the economic, social, political and environmental challenges we all face today.
This year, the programme will be built around the below main themes:
A New Societal Contract
Recent political developments, coupled with globalisation and digitalisation, are imposing deep and rapid changes in our societies, testing the resilience of our social fabric, and calling for reflection on the set of human values, ethics and aspirations that bind us all together, as well as the type of society in which we want to live. While these changes may create new opportunities for some, they are a frightening prospect for others. The Forum will reflect on what needs to happen to ensure such changes and opportunities bring us together, rather than divide us.
Integrity and Trust
Trust is the foundation upon which the legitimacy and sustainability of political systems is built. Across OECD countries, trust has plummeted. This lack of trust is one of the factors alienating people from mainstream politics and is slowly weakening critical institutions such as parliaments, a free media and the rule of law. The Forum will explore how democracy could be reinvigorated through increased civic engagement, and more consultative processes.
Digitalisation and the Future of Work
The Forum will discuss how the digital transition can benefit growth and improve people’s well-being. Forum debates will include a strong focus on the Future of Work, including the type of education and skillset, safety nets and support networks that will provide the confidence and resilience needed to face the world of work. We will also be discussing the potential of new technologies to help solve some of the world’s most challenging social and environmental problems, as well as the ethical dimensions and risks that must be carefully considered.
The Forum will host conversations on the need for enhanced global co-ordination on tax, competition and trade, and will also focus on global actors turning commitments into reality, notably on the SDGs and on climate. We foresee a strategic discussion on the need for a new type of leadership in today’s very volatile, fast-paced world: the challenges of globalisation, technological change, climate change, and immigration all demand strong leadership and responsibility from governments, but in partnership with CEOs, unions, mayors, and civil society.