Davos dwindles rather than departing with any encompassing flourish. The schedule runs out and the attendees jet away for the year. Some in whichever Twitter circle try to sum it up on this last full day of panels.
But like the key issues themselves, resolution is much-pursued but still unclear. Here are the conclusions that you missed from Friday at Davos, which of course began early when Thursday ran late and illuminating.
SPEAKING FREES The forum eagerly awaited French President François Hollande’s address, not only because of global concern over the Paris terrorist attack, but because his speech was pushed later after the early departure of Saudi attendees after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Both Hollande and WEF founder Klaus Schwab extended condolences before Hollande began.
The mourning leader made sure to broaden the fight far beyond France. “It’s the very foundations of our society that are under attack,” he said. “Every country needs to prepare.” He also appealed to the crowd’s corporate roots, asking digital companies to police the internet content that terrorists use “as a weapon of indoctrination, a weapon of manipulation.” He asked firms to fight tax havens and money laundering, and others to make crucial social and economic contributions.
GREEN IN “The world is not a commodity, it’s a common good, our heritage,” Hollande said, making finishing his speech on environmental hope rather than extremist tragedy. He promoted the Green Fund, an effort to devote $100 billion toward climate goals by June as the Paris climate meetings approach in December.
The theme saw UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon proclaim 2015 as “a year of action” at the start of “Tackling Climate, Development and Growth” panel. “We’ll never get to the goal of ending poverty” World Bank President Jim Yong-Kim said, if we don’t ensure that growth has a greater effect on the less fortunate, given recent disproportionate trends. Unilever CEO Paul Polman used deforestation as an example, explaining that it causes 15% of global warming and is 50% caused by the need for food—both disproportionately impact the poor. Looking from local examples to large-scale shifts, one might remember Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s thought: “If Rwanda can do it, anybody can do it.”
EAGLE HAS LANDED While recent US economic success was a hot topic all week, the country and its leaders had their strongest presence on the last day. Secretary of State Kerry offered his own full perspective on, and solidarity with, the world’s deepest battles, also announcing that he will soon visit Nigeria as the Boko Haram brutality crisis grows. The State Department offered its own tweeted highlights:
In the “A Multipolar World?” forum debate, panelists asked whether a decline in US leadership could weaken global governance. Joseph Nye, professor at Harvard, argued that we must move away from the image of one top-down led organization (China or US) and see leadership coming from a “portfolio” of organizations—while Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird said missing American leadership often leaves a vacuum. Kishore Mahbubani, a dean at the National University of Singapore, argued that the Western domination of global institutions has to give way to Eastern participation for global governance to thrive.
DISRUPTIVE Davos critics point to a lack of real debate. They should look to the “Recharging Europe” panel, where hard-nosed German Finance Minister Schauble stole the show brushing off the moderator and fellow panelists. When financier George Soros—who had wondered whether an influx of QE money would increase inequality—called German infrastructure “run-down” and in need of investment, Schauble clenched his jaw. “I don’t know if Mr. Soros is the best expert in German economic and fiscal policy,” he said, adding later, “If I am asked on German fiscal policy I have to explain, because I know it better than everyone else.” The group’s search for a new European solution may hinge on the complexities of a simple path laid out by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne: “Fiscal credibility leads to consumer confidence and investor confidence.”
INTO INDIA Amid sweeping reforms in India led by Prime Minister Modi, an optimistic mood dominated the “India’s Next Decade” panel. Arun Jaitley, India’s Minister of Finance said reforms must continue to alter dated laws and that the best minds must be available to the government for growth to increase. Ironically enough, economist Nouriel Roubini cautioned that the offshoring economy that helped change India could work in reverse as software and technology advances take jobs elsewhere yet again.
LOOK, MA After an eight-year hiatus from Davos, during which Jack Ma’s company Alibaba had the biggest IPO in Wall Street history, he returned to discuss entrepreneurship, rejection, and the origin of his company name. The reason he was gone for eight years? We can never win the world by talking, he said. But that didn’t stop Twitter from lighting up:
SHE SAID Davos fit one more high-profile unveiling in with the launch of a new “women’s empowerment and gender equality” initiative by Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador… and movie star, so she’d likely best tell the story herself:
VISUALIZING GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS While Davos departures begin, explore this interactive graphic that compares national performance in matters of pay, productivity, and innovation.
With that, we’ll take off until next year. See you on the other side of the mountains.
This article was produced on behalf of Bank of America by the Quartz marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff.