The New Reality
Shared norms for the new reality. That’s the theme of this year’s WEF. The organizers have made an effort to place the issue in the broadest possible context – not just addressing low-growth, low-employment challenges but also asking bigger questions, such as how power is being redistributed around the world, over both the medium and long term.
The WEF agenda is ambitious, maybe too ambitious, with more sub-agendas, special councils and constituencies than any one person can hope to keep track of. In health alone, WEF is hoping to highlight integration, innovation and the changing landscape of global public health from communicable to non-communicable diseases. All big and worthy topics.
From my perspective, one glaringly absent agenda item is population and demographics. The rosiest industry-specific perspectives won’t compete effectively with the planet’s inability to keep ahead of population growth. We will surpass 7 billion this year; where is the engagement of society’s leaders, those gathered here at Davos, to help attenuate this risk by helping to meet the unmet needs of women for modern family planning methods? I’ll be working to get this more into the spotlight.
Mr. Hofmann is president and CEO of PSI, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit social marketing firm operating in more than 60 countries around the world, with programs in malaria, reproductive health, child survival and HIV prevention.