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[Editorial] Hot Topics at Davos

Posted January. 30, 2010 09:13,   


President Lee Myung-bak was the first to give a speech Thursday among the 20 heads of state and chiefs of international organizations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He proposed the establishment of a “global financial safety net” to help ease inequity in the world, which is considered the chief culprit behind the global financial crisis. He said he will include in the agenda for the Group of 20 summit in Seoul in November a reform of financial institutions, something that was first proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Lee is the first Korean president to participate in the global forum, a move that symbolizes a change in the world governing structure. The focus of the global economy is shifting from advanced economies to G20 nations. There is growing criticism and debate at the forum. Participants say the U.N. Security Council, the International Monetary Fund, and the Group of 8 have failed to effectively represent global balance in power, and are thus unsuitable for tackling global issues. John Chipman, chief executive of the International Institute for Strategic Studies of the U.K., said, “The G20 should possess stronger executive power in international security and financial regulations.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, “Market trust will not be recovered without the G20,” calling it “the pioneer in the global governing structure of the 21st century.”

President Lee presented a three-point direction of the November G20 summit, namely implementation of cooperation for sustainable and balanced growth, resolution of the gap between advanced and developing economies, and more engagement with non-G20 countries and the private sector. Amid a fast evolving global environment, Korea is taking advantage of a chance for a new leap forward by making the most of its experience in transforming from a foreign aid recipient to a donor nation, and going from a developing nation to a developed one.

This year’s Davos forum is the 40th of its kind. Its theme is “Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild.” A survey of 130,000 people conducted by the World Economic Forum found that more than two thirds believe the global financial crisis is the crisis of ethics and values. Recovery of trust is required in the business community, while truth and transparency are needed in the world`s political and economic systems.

As if reflecting this, the first of the six core agenda items for this year is "How to Create a Values Framework." Unlike their gloomy mood last year, companies are regaining confidence. Due to fears over jobless recovery and a low growth rate, the world is putting more emphasis on the relationship of co-prosperity between governments and companies, harmony between sustainable growth and social welfare, and the need for global cooperation.

Korea, which will host this year’s G20 summit in Seoul, is in no position to get entangled in domestic political strife. The country must see a bigger world and future to upgrade Korea`s international dignity and profile, increase national wealth, and contribute to world peace and economic cooperation.