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Rebooting Planet Earth

Rebooting Planet Earth

How a Dubai summit helped set the agenda for this week’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. The agenda? Nothing less than ‘global redesign’…

January 27, 2010 9:58 by

“Risk is the new normal,” the executive director of the United Nations’ World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, said. “The world’s risk management system isn’t effective and there’s a critical need to build resiliency.” Sheeran suggested establishing a global “Risk and Vulnerability Forum” that would tackle what’s coming to be known as the “Three Fs”: the food, financial, and fuel crises.

The chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness, Ashraf Ghani, said that Davos leaders would do well to remember how the Marshall Plan’s success in post-World War II Europe came from its design. One of the reasons many crises around the world continue to escalate is because the institutions that are confronting them are limited by their outdated designs, he said.

Ghani also called on the world’s most powerful countries to reconsider how they wield their influence. “The limits of force have been demonstrated in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “Today, statecraft has never been more needed … and never in less supply.”

One of the World Economic Forum’s leaders, Mark Malloch Brown, said that he became aware of the limits of 20th century decision-making when he helped plan last year’s G20 meeting in London. “At the G20, there was a complete lack of time for reflection on the problems that underlie the financial crisis. No issue is of national scope anymore. They’re all in the global bloodstream. Time after time we’re seeing the globalization of problems,” he said.

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