World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Held in Davos, Switzerland

Achieving Sustainable Development Goals Discussed

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held late last month in Davos, Switzerland brought together global leaders to discuss the world’s issues. Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), only featured once on the formal meeting agenda, still pervaded conversation. Attendees discussed women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, innovative financing tools to finance SDGs and private sector involvement in SDG achievement. Global health issues were also discussed with major investments in disease eradication announced.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, Malala Yousafzai participate in a discussion at the World Economic Forum. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press/

Women’s economic empowerment

Women’s economic empowerment throughout the highest levels of business, seen as critical in achieving the SDG of gender equality, was discussed thoroughly at Davos, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking about the corresponding need for girls’ education. Multinational corporations were also called upon to address gender norms and equal pay. Sexual abuse and harassment, the biggest concern for girls in developing countries, needs global attention and action.


Innovative financing methods

Innovative financing to address SDGs and humanitarian crises was part of a broader Davos discussion. Finance sector representatives presented on sustainable investment products, blended finance methods, preparedness spending and humanitarian impact bonds. Success of these innovative methods and approaches will require reliable measurement to prove their worth.

Potential for partnership

Davos provides the opportunity for development institutions and international NGOs to connect with those in the private sector. Private sector companies are recognizing their importance and potential in SDG achievement, and Davos provided ample opportunity to form private and public sector partnerships towards SDG achievement. Corporate engagement in SDG achievement is varied, but Davos attendees in development are encouraged by private sector’s continued awareness and discussion of the SDGs.

Disease eradication

The Davos Congress Centre in Davos, Switzerland. Photo by: Mattias Nutt / World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA/

The global health community praised the announcement in Davos by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to commit $180 million to malaria eradication in Central America. Global health security, pandemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance and polio eradication efforts were also discussion items during the annual event in Davos. The global health developments in Davos are important to achieving the SDG of global health and well-being.

To read more about the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos and global development, we encourage you to check out Devex’s extensive coverage here. For reference, the Sustainable Development Goals are detailed here.