Health and environment key topics at WEF 2014 - CNBC Africa

Health and environment key topics at WEF 2014


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Climate change. PHOTO: Getty Images

The 44th World Economic Forum (WEF) four day annual meeting taking place in Switzerland, will see various global leaders discussing the need to redesign health systems, medical breakthroughs as well as the economic and societal impact of health.

“The time is right to elevate the conversation on health,” said Robert Greenhill, managing director and chief business officer at WEF.

“For the past few years, the critical state of the financial system absorbed much of Davos participants’ attention. This year, there is a sense that the global economy is out of intensive care and embarking on rehabilitation. As we ask how metaphorically to improve the economy’s health, literally improving the population’s health is a good place to start.”

The summit will sharpen the awareness for health as a cross sector challenge in societies. It will address the economic value of health, identifying innovations and new business models, regulatory frameworks and incentives for healthier cities.

In addition, climate change and related impacts such as extreme weather events, food crises and water crises will also be among the most pressing global economic risks.

“Failure to act on climate change in a timely manner, and at the scale required, has the potential to be a significant drag on global growth prospects. Many development advances of the 20th century, such as food security, global health or poverty reduction, could be undermined,” said a statement released by WEF.

This year’s annual meeting will hold a record number of 23 sessions dedicated to climate change, resource security and sustainability.

According to WEF, Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations secretary-general and Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, have agreed with WEF to jointly advance public-private cooperation on climate change.

“The goal of the collaboration is to mobilise, support and enhance cooperation at a global level during 2014-2015,” continued the statement.

Ki-Moon stated that he is looking forward to the collaboration and that it will help accelerate action at this year’s United Nations Climate Summit in September.

“I look forward to the collaborative efforts and solutions to address the climate challenge that will emerge from the World Economic Forum 2014 in Davos,” said Ki-Moon.

“Initiatives by the public, private and civil society partners are essential to stimulate low-carbon growth and lead to more resilient economic development. They will help heighten action and ambition during 2014 and at the Climate Summit I am convening in September.”