What happened in Davos

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the World Economic Forum annual meeting 2013. Photo by: Urs Jaudas / World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA

Whether in New York or Davos, Ban Ki-moon’s mind appears set on Syria and Mali.

The United Nations secretary-general centered his remarks on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the World Economic Forum around the two headline-hogging crises, calling for global solidarity to end the violence in both countries and aid to those that need it.

“Let not our inaction today lead to harsh judgment tomorrow,” Ban said during a panel discussion featuring philanthropist Bill Gates, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Rania of Jordan, among others.

The panel also discussed the Millennium Development Goals. For Gates, there’s no need to improve them, while Cameron cautioned against making them complicated when they are revised in 2015.

“Leave it alone,” Gates said. “It’s hard to argue with success because this success is measured in lives.”

Gates attended a news conference at WEF that day for the announcement of the €1 billion ($1.3 billion) contribution by Germany over five years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In an accompanying op-ed, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel said the donor country made the pledge to sustain the achievements in the fight against HIV, which suggest “we are witnessing the beginning of the end of AIDS.”

A few more highlights from the 2013 World Economic Forum annual meeting, which ended Jan. 27:

  • Comic Relief, LDS Charities and Vodafone pledged $25 million to the GAVI Alliance’s matching fund. Launched in 2011, the fund will get corresponding amounts from either the U.K. government or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for donations it received. So far, it has raised $78 million in pledges. GAVI will use the money to purchase lifesaving vaccines for the world’s poorest children.

  • Business and civil society leaders called on corporations to integrate social goals and on governments to create incentives for companies to adopt these goals.

  • Arab leaders of government agreed that while the Arab Spring has led to dramatic political change, it will take time to make progress on women’s rights, corruption and freedom of the press.

What will you take away from this year’s World Economic Forum annual gathering in Davos? Please let us know by leaving a comments below.

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.