WEF: A strengthened framework of global cooperation is needed to accelerate progress on shared challenges and lessen tensions among and within countries.
The recent White paper by the World Economic Forum "Globalization 4.0: Shaping a New Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution" suggests that major shifts underway in technology, geopolitics, environment, and society give birth to a new phase of globalization – Globalization 4.0 – whose trajectory will depend on how multilevel governance frameworks (governmental, corporate and international) adapt to these changes.
The current wave of technological disruption is combining with three other epochal transformations: the emergence of new ecological imperatives, particularly those concerning climate change; the advent of multipolar world order; and an explosion of social discontent, fueled largely by rising inequality. Taken together, these developments represent a new phase of globalization – Globalization 4.0 – the trajectory of which will depend on how we adapt political, corporate, and international governance models to changing realities.
Because these changes span countries, industries, and traditional policy domains, they demand a global, systemic response.
To catch up to the pace of change, we need to upgrade the “operating system” through which we cooperate internationally and govern domestically, - says the managing director of the World Economic Forum Richard Samans and adds, that today, we need a more inclusive and sustained process of dialogue about the governance implications of the technological, ecological, geopolitical, and social changes currently underway.
The paper presents a roadmap of practical opportunities for governments, companies, civil society institutions and other actors to work together to address many of the most pressing challenges our societies are facing. These ripe opportunities for governance reform and innovation are presented first in three traditional domains of global governance.
The first domain is a trade, finance and global public goods, including climate change and the environment. In order to revitalize multilateral governance, the paper suggests refreshing the WTO's mandate. This could be achieved by taking an expanded view of the trade liberalization and coordination toolkit (i.e. binding rules, soft-law effective commitments, and parallel commitments of capacity-building development assistance) and deploying these different elements in combinations that best suit the politics and economics of the challenge in question. The second domain is in the relatively new areas of technology and cybersecurity governance, which require a stronger international and domestic response and third, workforce and human capital development as well as corporate governance; and, finally, in the overarching area of geopolitical and geo-economic cooperation.