In the wake of the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the central theme was “Rebuilding Trust”, multiple take-aways were shared on social media: some deeply reflective, others more promotional. Here, we think about how positive global change really comes about, following the teeming hustle and bustle surrounding these types of fora.
As leaders gathered to engage in pivotal discussions across various fora, it was hoped that – amid the elevated conversations – space would be carved out to heed the often marginalised needs of the Least Developed Countries. Those living in the LDCs rarely find platforms to articulate their accounts of genuine hardship – narratives that could offer invaluable insights guiding global discourse. The significance of LDC perspectives just cannot be overstated; they offer a diverse and inclusive narrative crucial for shaping global policies that propel equitable progress and shared prosperity.
So many issues were discussed at WEF – AI, longevity, economic growth etc. – but how much of the inherent issues are even on the immediate radar at the LDCs, if even accessible, during whatever crisis is more pressing? Meanwhile moving forward, if the spotlight at these deliberations is on how to make the global business work for people and planet, let us really appreciate the impact that LDCs can have on the world economy so that they are not disenfranchised from the discussions on technology and other advances:
• The natural resources of LDCs significantly contribute to the world economy, making their preservation fundamental for global economic stability and resilience.
• Secure and resilient supply chains hinge on sustainable resource management in LDCs, reducing risks of scarcity or disruptions.
• Responsibly engaging with LDCs ensures access to diverse natural assets, supporting sustainable economic growth.
• Reinforcing conservation efforts in eco-dwindling LDC areas enhances corporate social responsibility, reputation, and longevity.
• Collaboration with previously overlooked LDCs has the potential to open up increased innovation and new markets, driving sustainable business models.
• Pledging and committing to sustainable practices in LDCs help mitigate risks associated with biodiversity loss, climate change, and regulatory compliance.
• Adopting or adapting the TNFD framework to prioritise LDCs can assess and disclose global-to-local, nature-related risks, enhancing transparency and strategy for mitigation across the board.
While most of us are generally aware that LDCs bear the brunt of the egregious effects of climate change, it is not immediately clear where those suffering on the front lines can directly influence climate-related policy discussions. How will their voices be heard, and when there will be a general acceptance that the well-being of people living in the LDCs is intricately linked to ours?
The overall health, security, access to economic growth and technologies, and the safekeeping of ecosystems in these regions hold immense significance for global sustainability and business resilience. Although they form a large, disparate group, it is imperative to ensure that LDCs are front and centre for a truly inclusive and sustainable future for all; this is our mission at OIPMA / IOLDCs.
Former Senior Civil Servant, House of Lords, London and the United Nations, New York. 20+ years’ experience in leadership, strategy, enterprise risk, accountability and the SDGs. Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Masters in European Affairs, EU Law major both from the University of Aberdeen; Executive Education, the University of Cambridge.