Geneva and Davos work together on the opportunities provided by digital technologies for the common good
Bern, 21.01.2020 - At the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, taking place this year from 21 to 24 January, the House of Switzerland's opening day was dedicated to collaboration between the private sector, academia and international organisations based in Geneva. At the heart of discussions were the opportunities ushered in by new technologies, particularly in the fields of health and access to financial services. Digital governance was also high on the agenda for those taking part in 'Geneva Day'.
Three federal councillors took part in this second edition of Geneva Day. The head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Ignazio Cassis, and fellow federal councillors Alain Berset and Ueli Maurer exchanged views with representatives from the private sector, academia, the United Nations and other international organisations based in the Lake Geneva region.
"Located at the very heart of world diplomacy, Geneva is an ideal breeding ground for developing solutions that benefit the greatest number of people," said Cassis. "As an active and innovative member of the international community, Switzerland is helping to boost the effectiveness of global institutions."
In the field of health, for example, innovation is helping to improve the work of the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that healthy populations are the basis for economic development and prosperity. The private sector has an important role to play, not least by ensuring investments take into account the implications for the health of populations.
New fintech developments are opening up encouraging prospects for sustainable development, for example by providing access to financial services for a large number of people who are still excluded today. The opportunities – and risks – of cryptocurrencies were also discussed, among others, with the initiators of Libra, a digital currency project launched in Geneva by Facebook.
Geneva is one of the foremost locations for discussions on digital governance, a fact also recognised by leading private stakeholders. The president of US giant Microsoft, Brad Smith, took part in Geneva Day, speaking at the debate on the need to draw up rules with states to ensure the benefits of innovation reach the greatest number of people on the planet.
Cooperation with the Forum
The House of Switzerland in Davos aims to promote exchanges between political institutions, business, science and academia. "Innovation is a crucial vector of international collaboration; it drives the various components of society to work together," underscored the head of the FDFA, who signed an agreement with the World Economic Forum foundation to deepen cooperation in four areas: fintech, new forms of work, sustainable consumption and digital governance.
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