World Government Summit in Dubai: stage set for ideas and innovation

Innovation, industry and how to save the planet from mankind are all on the agenda of three-day forum

An Emirati woman pauses at the Museum of the Future of the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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Just six years since its inception, the World Government Summit, that kicks off in Dubai on Sunday, has become more than just a meeting of minds.

The three-day forum offers a platform to show the world how sharing knowledge and ideas for the greater good can make the world a better place.

On Sunday, the eighth United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will discuss the impact of climate change on human health in what promises to be a highlight of day one.

Much of the chatter in the halls and corridors of the Mina Salam Hotel in Madinat Jumeirah will focus on current affairs, industry and global politics.

But sustainability and environmental concerns will be a key focus, along with how governments are adapting to technology and the rise of artificial intelligence.


The key speakers on Sunday


Mr Ban will be joined at the climate change forum by Adnan Amin, former director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Laurent Fabius president of the Constitutional Council in France and Luis de Alba, a UN special envoy for climate.

Environmental policy will form the core of many discussions and plenary sessions throughout the three day summit, with actor Harrison Ford speaking, on Tuesday, about ocean conservation.

Other foundation topics include the role of women in nation building, as governments around the world push for more equality in societies.

Equality is one of the 17 sustainable development goals laid down by the UN, and Leymah Gbowee, Nobel peace prize laureate, will give her thoughts on the role of women in rebuilding nations and post-conflict governance on Sunday morning.

Ms Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist, was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2011 for her role in pressuring leaders into ending civil war in her country and campaigning for greater women’s rights.

A few UAE ministers and leaders are due to speak too, with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, set to reflect on Pope Francis's visit to the UAE, following a papal message to the summit.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, will speak on seven trends shaping future cities and Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, will close out the summit with a speech titled "A Journey of Wisdom".

The summit will also be the setting for the award for best minister in the world. The award acknowledges the exceptional efforts of government ministers in implementing successful reform. Former winners include Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, and Australian environment minister Greg Hunt.

The future of global trade and how it is affected by rapid technological development is also on the agenda for Sunday.

Economic professor Paul Krugman, another Nobel Prize laureate, will speak about the future of global trade in the Dubai Municipality Hall.

His talk follows a view on how blockchain technology is oiling the wheels of secure trade presented by Bettina Warburg, a political scientist and researcher.

Governments staff from all over the world visit the Museum of the Future at the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Attendees of the World Government Summit 2018 visit the temporary exhibit of the Museum of the Future. Kamran Jebreili / AP

As a stage for ideas and innovation, the WGS has become a platform for announcing some of the region’s most exciting projects.

In 2015, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai revealed a Museum of the Future would become an incubator for innovation.

The museum near to the Dubai World Trade Centre is due to open later this year.