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World leaders in Dubai as Mohammed opens WGS
Imran Mojib February 11, 2019
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DUBAI: The World Government Summit 2019 opened in Dubai on Sunday in the presence of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by a number of world leaders including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Estonia Juri Ratas, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Deputy Secretary General of United Nations Amina Mohammed, President of the UN General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa, and other leaders.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid honoured Health Minister of Afghanistan Dr Ferozudin Feroz with the Best Minister Award at the opening ceremony. He was selected from eight ministers nominated from across the world.

Speaking on the occasion, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned countries world over to prepare themselves to meet any financial crisis.

Lagarde said that the global economy is growing more slowly than it was anticipated. She stressed on four factors – Trade tensions and tariff escalations, financial tightening, uncertainty related to Brexit outcome and accelerated slowdown of Chinese economy.

“When there are too many clouds, it takes one lightening to stop the storm. Thus prepare yourself. Don’t go for protectionism. Make sure that if the storm hits, you are strong and solid at home,” she said.

She also advocated more expenditure on technological advancement and equipping the younger generation with the new technologies like Artificial Intelligence.

Lagarde said, “The future is going to be different and it is changing for all workers, particularly women. The amount of money that is invested in research and development applied to Artificial Intelligence (AI), biotechnology, it’s going to change the way we behave, the way we conduct business, the way we organize our lives.”

She said that millions of jobs have disappeared. People who have been left out of the technological advancement, will feel big impact.

However, she pointed out that it is happening more slowly than certain consulting firms have predicted.

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of United Nations, said that people are leading better lives than a decade ago. But progresses are not rapid enough to meet the Agenda 2030 (for Sustainable Development) goals, specially for the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups.

“The world remains on a trajectory of increasing inequality. It is facing conflicts, hunger, humanitarian crisis, environmental degradation, devastating impact of climate change and rising intolerance. It is upto us to bring back the trust and demonstrate that global institutions can meet global challenges,” she said.

Speaking on the future of multilateralism and the role of the United Nations, President of the UN General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa said that we live in a world of paradoxes. It is true that globalization, new technologies and digitization has contributed to monumental, unprecedented human progress, including in poverty reduction, wider access to knowledge. However, current practices have multiplied inequalities. The gap between our knowledge and our ability to act to address, to solve, often fall far too short.

Stressing on the need of joint efforts, she said, “No country can alone face the devastating effect of climate change, terrorism, human trafficking. The scale of the refugee crisis has reached to a level not seen since the World War II as millions of people have been forced to leave their homes. The great challenge of migration is being exploited in some circles to create mistrust.”

The three-day World Government Summit 2019 has convened more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 30 international organisations.

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