Held under the theme of “Shaping Future Governments,” the 11th World Government Summit (WGM) comes amid a complex geopolitical landscape that hasn’t settled following a turbulent 2023.
With more than 4,000 delegates due to participate in the three-day event, the World Government Summit will bring together decision-makers and thought leaders to assess this challenging landscape, put forward new approaches, ideas and solutions and aim to advance global solidarity.
Located in Dubai, this year’s WGS also takes place in the Year of Sustainability, extended through 2024.
On day zero, ESG Mena runs through the key themes, who will attend, and what you can expect from the week ahead.
Sustainability, AI, global shifts and transformation
The agenda at this year’s WGS will be centred around six salient and intersecting themes.
The first, ‘Government Acceleration and Transformation,’ addresses the need for policy to bridge the digital divide amidst rapid technological advancements.
Indeed, this is a significant issue in the MENA region, and overcoming the barriers to digital inclusion will be in the spotlight throughout the event.
Artificial Intelligence and The Next Frontiers, meanwhile, will examine the evolving nature of AI, with appearances from the likes of Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. The Middle East is quickly becoming an AI hub, and some projections indicate that by 2030, Generative AI could reach $23.5 billion in economic benefits.
The UAE, where the annual WGS is hosted, in particular, has invested significantly in AI, aiming to position itself as a global leader as part of its economic diversification strategy.
However, globally, regulation and policy haven’t kept pace with its evolution, and ethical and environmental considerations are yet to receive the attention they deserve.
With fast-changing economies, ‘Reimagining Development and Future Economies’ is also a central theme at the event and will explore strategies for building resilience.
‘Future Societies and Education’ will similarly look at prioritising resilience, sustainability and inclusivity, and the connections between societies, education, and technology.
Indeed, as the world shifts toward a global green economy, there’s a big green skills gap that needs to be filled to realise net-zero goals and transition to a more sustainable world in a fair and equitable manner.
Sustainability and the New Global Shifts is the fifth theme. Off the back of the COP28 hosted in Dubai and the different pledges and promises made throughout the climate summit, this theme aims to focus governments, businesses, and individuals on their responsibility to implement sustainable practices.
The sixth and final theme, Urbanisation and Global Health Priorities, will encourage participants to focus on using advancements in sustainable mobility and design innovation to transform cities into futuristic, livable centres of progress.
Today, the importance of nature will come to the fore with a session dubbed ‘No Paris Agreement without Nature.”
In this session, speakers include HE Dr Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment., HE Dr Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Ana Toni, Secretary for Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Brazil.
Arab Youth will also be a key focus, with sessions on youth experiences in social cohesion, charity work, and preserving the Arabic language.
Day one will feature sessions on everything from unlocking market finance for development and governments designing and developing sustainable strategies to inclusive governance and the UAE Consensus.
On day two, AI will be a key highlight, with a session between HE Omar AlOlama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, UAE and Sam Altman, Chief Executive Officer, OpenAI.
Also in the spotlight will be industrial decarbonisation, featuring HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology – UAE and HE Ryad Mezzour, Minister of Industry and Trade, Kingdom of Morocco. Discussions will also be had on SDGs, the future of tech, and green initiatives, among others.
The final day on Wednesday will again look at AI and skills alongside other technological innovations, urban health frontiers, the future of digital education, and more.
Hosting 15 global forums & high-level ministerial meetings
Alongside these six key themes, the summit will host over 15 global forums. The Global Health Forum is one of these forums, and will explore the connection between urbanisation and global health, while the Future of Education Forum, organised by the Ministry of Education on 14th February, will examine reshaping learning techniques and honing student skills for the future workplace.
Other forums include the Arab Fiscal Forum, which will see discussions on supporting social and economic development in Arab countries and the Industry and Advanced Technology Forum on emerging trends and technological advancements and their respective impact on various sectors.
Meanwhile, the Geotechnology and Policy Forum will explore the connection between climate, data, and the commercial space industry, featuring three panel discussions and private roundtables organised in partnership between the Atlantic Council and the WGS.
Elsewhere at the summit will be the Knowledge Exchange Forum, the Artificial Intelligence Forum, the Future of Work Forum, the Emerging Economies Forum, the Sustainable Development Goals Forum and many more.
WGM will also host the Arab Meeting for Young Leaders and the ‘Time 100’ event, of which honourees include Idris Elba, actor, filmmaker, musician and IFAD Goodwill ambassador; Sabrina Dhowre Elba, CEO, model, and activist; Graça Machel, founder, Graça Machel Trust; Jeffrey Katzenberg, media entrepreneur, technology investor and co-founder, WndrCo; and Farwiza Farhan, forest conservationist and founder, HAkA.
Further, the event is set to be attended by 300 ministers from governments around the world and will feature high-level ministerial meetings, which will cover a broad range of areas from climate and health to food security and education. In total, over 23 ministerial meetings and roundtables will be held, with a meeting attended by energy ministers to discuss the future of hydrogen energy.
Over 25 strategic reports are also set to be released during the summit.
Global award presentation
Several global awards will be presented during the summit. This includes the Best Minister Award, with focus areas spanning:
- Socio-economic impact,
- Innovation impact,
- Resilience and future-ready, and
- Good governance and integrity.
Previous winners include Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, and the Chief Innovation Officer for the Government of Sierra Leone and HE Azucena María Arbeleche, Minister of Economy and Finance, Uruguay.
Other awards include Dubai International for Best Sustainable Development Practices, the Creative Government Innovations Award, and the Global Government Excellence Award.
ESG Mena will be on the ground providing updates, insights and analysis throughout. Stay tuned.