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Davos 2016: 5 key trends from the World Economic Forum

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is currently underway at Davos, Switzerland.  The world’s political and business leaders and celebrities are in Davos, the Swiss Alpine resort for the World Economic Forum’s annual conference which began on Tuesday evening to discuss pressing global issues.  This year’s theme is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” The meeting is taking place from Jan. 20-23, 2016.

Here are 5 key trends from the World Economic Forum 2016:

The rise of the robots
The official theme of the 2016 meeting is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which means the “fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres”. The rise of automation, robots and ever more intelligent machines is a key issue at the World Economic Forum 2016. .A report released by the WEF said that the biggest impact of the fourth industrial revolution will be felt in the way we do our jobs or how our jobs get done. The report added, dignificant technological advances is transforming the labour markets “beyond all recognition from decades ago”, while predicting that it will lead to “a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020.” According to the report, the economies like Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States would feel the impact.

Climate change
Global warming is at the very top of the list of concerns likely to confront the global economy. Climate change is one of the most important key trends in World Economic Forum 2016.

Cecilia Reyes, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group who collaborated on the WEF pre-report says: “Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker societal cohesion and increased security risks.”

The annual meeting saw a discussion on the theme on Thursday at which UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon urged governments to quickly ratify the agreement reached in Paris in December. He also invited world leaders to a signing ceremony at the UN’s headquarters on 22 April, which is celebrated as Mother Earth Day.

Terrorism and the migration crisis
World leaders and the heads of humanitarian agencies are debating on the growing migration crisis and better integrate refugees into the communities who shelter them. Queen Rania of Jordon will discuss the Middle East turmoil driving millions overseas, as desperate people continue to risk the winter cold and storms by crossing the Mediterranean. The leaders of Iraq and Tunisia are also attending. The EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, and the French minister Emmanuel Macron are to consider whether Europe has been pushed to a tipping point by the crisis and discuss recent terrorist attacks.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, is giving a keynote speech. Last year, he delivered an electrifying talk on the need to tackle violent extremism and the “monsters” of Islamic State.

Future of the European Union
One of the more important discussions at the WEF took place on the future of the European Union, which has been grappling with several challenges over the last two-three years, including the refugee crisis, the Ukraine civil war, the rise of terrorism and extremism, and the Greek economic crisis, to name a few.

French Prime Minister Manuel Vallssaid, “Terrorism must bring Europe closer together. It’s not just Paris that was struck,” referring to the November terrorist attack on the Fench capita. On the refugee crisis, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, “What’s happening in Aegean is a crisis: people losing their lives in the sea because traffickers are working there unimpeded.” He proposed a mechanism that “will help relocate refugees throughout the rest of Europe, in all EU states.”

This annual gathering of the global elite is a perfect opportunity to remind them about wealth inequality. Oxfam released a new report warning that wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small group of billionaires.

Save the Children will warn that the fourth industrial revolution risks deepening the gap between rich and poor. That is because automation can destroy job opportunities for those with few educational qualifications, hollowing out labour markets in the developing world.