Davos and Porto Alegre (WSF) 2008

Written by  //  January 28, 2008  //  Geopolitics  //  1 Comment

January 28, 2008
Davos Diary: The schmooze of the world
Extreme brainpower meets extraordinary wealth at the annual World Economic Forum. Sean O’Grady reports from the plutocrats’ playground. Having followed much of the serious Davos coverage over the past days, we can recommend this somewhat light-hearted look at the events from The Independent
January 26, 2008
Japanese PM unveils 10 billion dollar fund on climate change
Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister, Japan and Chair of the forthcoming G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit told participants in Davos that the G8 summit will focus on setting fair carbon-emission reduction targets for G8 countries. The Prime Minister also presented his Cool Earth Promotion Programme which will establish a new financial mechanism to aid developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions.
Iran FM in flurry of diplomatic activity in Davos
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN – In a flurry of diplomatic activity on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki met his counterparts from Malaysia, Switzerland, Iraq, Sweden, and Indonesia and the Dutch and Malaysian prime ministers on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In meetings with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Ahmad Badawi and Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, Mottaki stated that the Organization of the Islamic Conference must hold an emergency meeting at the foreign ministerial level to discuss the Zionist regime’s ongoing crimes in the Gaza Strip.
In a separate meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, Mottaki discussed Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Economy fears driven home at Davos
By Barry Neild
DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) — Global finance chiefs drove home warnings over the market crisis Saturday, as concerns of a possible recession continued to trouble a meeting of world power brokers in Switzerland.
The head of the International Monetary Fund said the current turmoil had reached levels never seen before, echoing anxieties that have dominated the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
IMF Director-General Dominique Strauss-Kahn‘s comments came as the first protests to target this year’s event gathered outside the Forum’s tightly-guarded venue, a handful of demonstrators defacing posters and throwing snowballs.
Strauss-Kahn said not even emerging economies touted as safe bets for short-term growth would escape the impact of problems that drove the U.S. Federal Reserve to deliver an emergency rate cut.
Strauss-Kahn warned the IMF itself will need an overhaul to tackle the crisis, reiterating earlier pledges of reform.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Brazilian Youth Raise Their Voices
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 26 (IPS) – Brazil, the cradle of the World Social Forum (WSF), is hosting events in 19 cities Saturday for the Global Day of Action. The main participants will be young people, as they have always been at every meeting of the Forum.
A whole new world
The World Social Forum will take action today to remind those at Davos that another world is possible. But what form should it take?
Today, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are expected to take part in a global day of action under the World Social Forum‘s (WSF) banner, “another world is possible.”
Ever since 2001, the WSF has taken place parallel – and in opposition – to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which describes itself as “striving towards a world-class corporate governance system.” The WSF has become one of the most important places for discussion and debate for the movement for a different kind of globalisation. This year, however, the mega-event will be replaced by an attempt to re-root the counter-globalisation movement through a series of locally organised, globally coordinated protests and discussions.

January 25, 2008
World leaders issue call to action on the Millennium Development Goals at the Annual Meeting 2008
Davos, Switzerland, 25 January 2008 – World leaders have issued a joint statement at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos vowing to make 2008 a turning point in the fight against poverty. The world is facing a “development emergency”, they said, and “we pledge to work together to help the world get back on track to meet the MDGs.”
Ban warns business on looming water crisis
As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. Many more conflicts lie just over the horizon.
Businesses are doing too little to tackle a looming water crisis, Ban Ki-Moon warned the World Economic Forum on Thursday, describing their response to a UN water sustainability initiative as “a drop in the bucket”.
Water has displaced climate change as Davos delegates’ chief worry outside the US economy, with no fewer than nine water-related events on the programme, compared with just one last year.
Bill Gates’ new project: Farming
DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) — Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates announced a new direction Friday as he pledged $306 million in grants to develop farming in poor countries, leading the charge for corporate responsibility at a major meeting of business chiefs.
WEF Takes On Terrorism, Terribly
By Ravi Kanth Devarakonda
DAVOS, Jan 25 (IPS) – The global political elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos is focusing on terrorism as the major threat to international peace — but is conspicuously silent on ensuring that counter-terrorism measures do not breach human rights.
WEF President Klaus Schwab has said tackling terrorism is a major theme of the Davos 2008 along with climate change, implementing a workable peace process in the Middle East, and discussing how technology could usher in a new age of social networking that knows no borders. But there is not a single session at Davos on what needs to be done to achieve a balance between tackling terrorism and ensuring fundamental human rights.
January 24
The new darlings of Davos
Almost as heavy as the snowfall that greeted participants at this Swiss Alpine resort, was the cloud of anxiety hovering over the start of this year’s World Economic Forum.
Stock markets around the globe were badly shaken by the potential spread of a credit crisis from the U.S. This was not lost on Middle Eastern markets which started selling-off Sunday, their first day of trading, and carried through Tuesday.
The dramatic, and what some saw as a panicked, reaction by the Federal Reserve, to cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point sent mixed signals. What is the Fed seeing that others might not? Certainly the signal is that the bottom certainly has not been found on Wall Street, and for that matter some of the European banks as well.
That, however, does not mean the rest of the world should freeze in its tracks and that growth should come to a halt. The Middle East in fact is coming off some of the fastest growth in three decades. The excess liquidity of $400 billion each year from oil prices in the $80 per barrel range has changed the dynamics of the region and what these players are doing with their capital.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that $800 billion will be put into infrastructure in the region. Tall buildings, new financial centers, energy cities, new university hubs — they are all being built. But the region can only absorb so much capital.
This is where the new darlings of Davos come in: The sovereign wealth funds. In case you missed it, the funds were the subject of front page articles on both Business Week and the Economist over the weekend.
Giant Stimulus Plan
There is potential here in Davos to bring like-minded players together for the greater good of the global economy. While the White House debates the merits of the $150 billion stimulus package, there is $1.5 trillion available in the Gulf. That is a serious stimulus package. … this liquidity could lead to a re-coupling of east and west. The investment money from the Gulf, China and Singapore will help avert a recession in the U.S. if, and a big “if” here, the funds are welcomed.
Mervyn King, formerly head of the Bank of England said that the funds should agree to a code of conduct for transparency or risk being labelled “irresponsible.” That certainly does not set the tone for a collegial Davos-like discussion on closing the gap between those in need of capital and those who hold it right now. [Note: Reuters reports that Singapore, along with Norway and Abu Dhabi, has been asked by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help set disclosure benchmarks for sovereign wealth funds, a local newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. More]
January 23
Annual Meeting opens with calls for collaborative innovation
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 has opened with calls from the Co-Chairs to exercise “The Power of Collaborative Innovation” to meet the top challenges of economic instability, climate change and equitable growth. “People will be concerned about the economic situation of course, but I think the action points at the end of the week will be focused on the Millenium Development Goals, climate change and the Middle East.” said Co-Chair, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007).
Consensus on economic remedy
Lack of coordinated response and leadership was voted the single greatest threat to worldwide economic growth by participants at a brainstorming session at the Annual Meeting. Corporate and policy leaders identified nine threats to the global economy in the coming year and a consensus was drawn over the need for the G8 to expand its membership and for effective stimulus for the American economy.
January 20
Economic uncertainty to dominate Davos
By Chris Giles and Gillian Tett
The hot ticket at Davos last year was the “dialogue in the dark” event, when delegates at the World Economic Forum (WEF) were plunged into complete darkness to experience the loss of sight. This seems an apt metaphor for the blindness of the world’s elite to the fragility of the global financial system.
The business leaders and policymakers flocking to the Swiss mountain resort of Davos this week will share little of last year’s jubilation over the strength of the global economy and the prospects for companies. Though the conference is titled “the power of collaborative innovation”, it is bound to concentrate on fears of political and economic uncertainty. More

(IPS) The WSF tends to meet in January, when its ‘rival’, the World Economic Forum convenes in Davos (Switzerland). The date was chosen to try to overshadow the WEF. How far do you think the WSF has imposed issues on the WEF agenda?
The coincidence with the date of the WEF was not to overshadow it. At Davos a few thousand very powerful people meet, and nobody can overshadow that concentration of power. We just want to express our deep disagreement about the legitimacy of decisions taken in a venue where people gather because of their power, not because they have been delegated by anyone. And make clear that there are hundreds of thousands of people, without that kind of power, but who are the real citizens, who want a different world.
If you just go through the various agendas of the WEF, you can clearly see how after the establishment of the WSF, the WEF has brought into its agenda social themes, the environment, sustainability in economic growth, which were simply not there before. More

One Comment on "Davos and Porto Alegre (WSF) 2008"

  1. David n January 26, 2008 at 7:29 pm ·

    This is good work.

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