World Government Summit begins in Dubai: updates

The annual global platform sets the agenda for the next generation of government.

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5:15pm: Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE's Vice President and Prime Minister, expresses his thanks to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit as guest of honour to the World Government Summit.


4:45pm: Ohood Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, joined Dr Chopra on the stage for a Q&A and asked what is the secret to happiness.

Dr Chopra said there is a lot of research on happiness that shows happiness is a result of how we perceive the world. People who are always negative and complain are likely to also be unhappy.

On the other hand, he said, if you are attentive, a good listener, harness emotional and social intelligence, and have empathy, you are likely to be happy. A second component is achieving material success, he said.

“If your job, your career, your higher calling are aligned, you will be happy,” said Dr Chopra.

Being kind to others is also key.

“If you can make another person happy, you can be happy,” he said.


4:30pm: New York Times bestselling self-help and spirituality author Deepak Chopra has taken the stage to deliver a talk about hope in uncertain times.

“This is a moment of crisis, but it is also a moment of hope and opportunity,” said Dr Chopra. “One pessimistic view of the world today is that with our modern capacities and our tribal, ancient medieval minds, we are risking our extinctions. On the other hand, we have potential as human beings .. to engender hope, to engender well-being, to create what is true and lasting happiness for us as a global community.”

Dubai is a city of the future, he said.

“If we could create this in the rest of the world, I think we would have less to worry about,” said Dr Chopra.


4pm: Will India lead the global economy in the future? That's the focus of the plenary session taking place this hour.

“It’s a future of shared responsibility,” said Shobana Kamineni, president CII and executive vice chairperson, Confederation of Indian Industry. “Shared responsibility is a much better term rather than saying one will lead the other.”

C P Gurnani, managing director and CEO of Tech Mahindra Limited, said: “In my opinion the future really belongs to India.”

India is already the third-largest start-up nation in the world, Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry.

"And we are growing rapidly," said Mr Munjal


3:15pm: Here's a longer write-up covering Modi's earlier speech by The National's Ramola Talwar Badam:

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi issued a rallying call to the world to use technology for the benefit of millions of people as a tool of empowerment and development instead of a weapon of destruction.

In the inaugural speech at the World Government Summit on Sunday, he said the challenge was to reach education to children in the remotest village, to uplift poor farmers and for governments to connect and reach welfare programmes directly to their people.

“Despite progress and efforts, poverty and malnutrition have not been resolved. Instead so much money, wealth, time and resources are spent on building more bombs and increasing the number of missiles. We have to be careful to use technology for development and not as a tool of destruction,” Mr Modi said.

He referred to how technology was being used by Dubai and the UAE to create change as an effort that had generated “miracles in the desert”.

Watched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Mr Modi spoke of the innovations in Masdar as an example of how knowhow can be used to solve real life issues and not remain a distant, isolated philosophy.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech during the opening of the World Government Summit in Dubai on February 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB
India's prime minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech during the opening of the World Government Summit in Dubai . Karim Sahib / AFP

Listing the numerous benefits of scientific achievements, he spoke of stem cells that can cure deadly diseases, weather forecasts to help farmers not only save but increase crop production and lives and property that can be saved with disaster management.

Mr Modi also dwelt on the philosophy of his own government of ‘Development for all,’ during his 30-minute speech before an audience of world leaders, diplomats, senior government officials and industrialists.

The world’s largest biometric project using finger and iris scans that has given more than a billion Indian citizens a unique digital identity card and ensures government social schemes directly reach the poor, plans to double farmers’ income, provide them with soil health cards as part of a scheme that recommends nutrients and fertilisers for crops to boost productivity were some programmes he touched on.

Touching on an interdependent universe, he said: “We live in an interconnected and interlinked world and to this extent our problems are inseparable. It is technology that will play an important role in resolving problems.”


3pm: Dr Tyson cautioned against making bold predictions of the future beyond the next couple of decades, listing a number of past forecasts proposed by notable people or publications within the past 100 or so years that simply did not materialise.

When it comes to funding large-scale space projects, Dr Tyson said there are three main driving forces: threat of war, prospective high economic returns or royalty.

“Yes, we went to the moon driven by Cold War fear,” said Dr Tyson.

Are we going to put humans on Mars, he asked? Only if you judge that humans are going to die, it gets royal funding or someone sees potential to get a return on their investment. But he said he is skeptical it will happen.

“There is no capital market valuation of the space frontier,” he said. “It’s expensive.”

But, he noted, “tourism cannot be unrecognised as an economic driving force.”

Dr Tyson said US$330 billion a year spent on space technology.

“There is money to be made in space,” he said. "The first trillionaires will be those who mine asteroid -- asteroids, resources of the solar system."


2:40pm: Astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson takes the stage to discuss "The Future of Colonizing Space."


2:30pm: In speaking about personalizing the technology, MakeMyTrip founder Deep Kalra advises to always listen to your customers, always build for scale and hire better than yourself.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives a speech at the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives a speech at the World Government Summit in Dubai. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

2:30: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visits Wahat Al Karama to pay tribute to UAE's fallen soldiers.


1:45pm: Speaking in Hindi, Mr Modi said that technology has become a "very significant source of disruptive change." Mr Modi, who has amassed more than 40 million followers on Twitter, said the 'E' in e-government should stand for "effective, easy, empowered and equitable."

"Technology should be used for development, not destruction," he told the audience.


1:30pm: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi takes the stage at the World Government Summit. Mr Modi will deliver the inaugural address of the Guest Country as part of his two-day state visit to the UAE. Watch his speech live:

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, arrives at the summit.


1:15pm: In addressing the #metoo movement, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said it's time for men and women to work together to "move into action".

"It is a critical message actually," Ms Lagarde said of #metoo. "It's not just about women, number one, because men have been subject occasionally and any occasion is one too many. We need to be 'you and me,' men and women together in order to address the situation."

Ms Lagarde was speaking on the topic "Using the Global Recovery to Create a Fairer World," moderated by CNN host Richard Quest.

Ms Lagarde's address was attended by Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected to address the summit next.


12:45pm: In discussing "Redesigning Longevity," Dr. J. Craig Venter, founder, chairman and CEO of Human Longevity Inc and author of A Life Decoded and Life at the Speed of Light, said: "We can predict in a newborn what diseases they are likely to have in life. Forty per cent of the healthy population we're finding is not so healthy.

"Our goal is to have a healthy lifespan, not just to have people live longer with disease."

Dr Venter said his company is currently in discussions with a businessman interested in opening a human longevity clinic in Dubai.


12:20pm: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the World Government Summit. Mr Modi, who is on a two-day state visit to the UAE, will deliver the inaugural speech of the Guest Country at 1:15pm.


12:10pm: "There are a lot of success stories," in the UAE when it comes to women in the workforce, said UAE Minister of Community Development Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid. Women make up more than 66 per cent of the federal workforce, 30 per cent of the UAE Cabinet and 20 per cent of the Federal National Council.

"We are actually empowered women," said Minister Buhumaid.


11:50am: UAE Minister of Community Development Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid and American actor Forest Whitaker, UNESCO special envoy for peace and reconciliation, discuss "Women and Youth: The Catalyst to Solve Global Challenges." The discussion is moderated by Adnan Amin, IRENA director general.


11:42am: Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, is awarded the Best Minister Award by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The award recognizes the exceptional efforts of government ministers in implementing successful reform. 


11:18am: Prime Minister of France Edouard Philippe delivers the main address.

"Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece Salvator Mundi is more safe in the UAE than in any place else," Mr Philippe said.
Mr Philippe's speech comes a day after the UAE-France Cultural Dialogue 2018 was launched at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The six-month series will feature a number of festivals, exhibitions and educational initiatives to promote cross-cultural exchange between the two countries.


10:51am: Princess Haya bint Hussein, chairperson of the International Humanitarian City, takes the stage to deliver the main address and announce a new Dubai-based humanitarian logistics data bank to help areas hit by catastrophe.

The centre will be supported by UAE and international community, she said. 

"The International Humanitarian City is a foundation stone for humanitarian work," said Princess Haya. 

The humanitarian logistics data bank will be "critical to moving supplies to any impacted region in the world," said World Food Programme Chief David Beasley.


10:45am: UAE Vice President and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum arrives at the World Government Summit.


Thought leaders from around the globe are meeting today for the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future Chairman of the World Government Summit and Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, delivered the opening address on the key global challenges of 2018.

Theoretical Physicist and Futurist Michio Kaku discussed, “Are Governments Ready for a Dynamic Future,” this morning.

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Chairperson of the International Humanitarian City, will deliver the main address later this morning.

A ceremony to honour the exceptional efforts of government ministers will be held at 11.10am when the Best Minister Award is handed out.

Other highlights on the first day of the three-day summit include:

  • A discussion by the world's first cyborg, Neil Harbisson, on why governments are recognising new "identities" and "abilities".
  • A presentation by Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE's minister of climate change and environment, on climate change and its impact on human prosperity
  • American actor Forest Whitaker, Unesco special envoy for peace, will host a breakout session on women and youth: the catalyst to solve global challenges
  • American actor Robert De Niro will join Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi and Peyman Al Awadhi, founder of Barza New Media, in a discussion of "rising tides: preparing for the new normal."
  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde will talk about using the global recovery to create a fairer world with CNN anchor and correspondent Richard Quest
  • Astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson will address the future of colonizing space
  • A panel discussion involving OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagard and other officials will address innovative gender budgeting in governments.


Read more:

World Government Summit: UAE minister launches Global Happiness Policy Report

World Government Summit: setting the stage for the future

World Government Summit: this year's speakers