The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, where global leaders convene to discuss solutions to the global agenda, will take place in Davos, Switzerland for five days from today. Political and business leaders from 130 countries and 2,700 academic leaders will convene to discuss the theme of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.” it will be the first time in three years to resume the forum in three years since the start of the pandemic, which had been canceled or postponed.
The forum this year is held under the awareness that the international community is facing unprecedented geopolitical and economic post-pandemic challenges. The Russia-Ukraine war and tension between the U.S. and China have sparked a neo-Cold war, polarizing conflicts between countries. There are also rising security threats, including the possibility of a nuclear war. Economic challenges such as rising trade protectionism, trading blocs, and widening income gaps are also rising.
The income gap between the rich and the poor has worsened more than ever, with 120 million around the world falling into poverty over the pandemic. Global supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressure amid fears of the global recession are still in place. Though partly addressed by abnormally high temperatures in Europe, food, and energy supply are still unstable. These issues, intertwined among regions and areas, cannot be addressed by a single country.
Despite the need for global cooperation, which has grown more important than ever, the global order to coordinate and address these issues has grown lethargic. Nations struggling to put their interests first create new conflicts between allies and partners. International organizations such as the UN and the WTO are revealing their limitations in roles. Some experts say that the “globalization which drove growth for the last 30 years has ended.” Perhaps this is the reason why the Davos Forum has focused on the theme of ‘fragmentation’ in a multi-polar world.
We are at a critical juncture where the global landscape is undergoing a seismic shift. Major countries around the world must strive to come up with a fundamental and effective cooperation plan via the Davos Forum to respond to this complex crisis. Korea has promised to the world to become a global key player meeting stronger expectations backed by its higher status in the world. We need to think about our role from a wider perspective. Voicing our opinions on short-term issues and long-term agendas, such as digital norms and climate change, will ultimately serve our national interests.