World Economic Forum: Global cooperation has weakened from 2020
Business and government leaders urged to practise ‘coopetition’
Global cooperation was resilient in multiple dimensions from 2012 until 2020, but overall cooperation declined by 2% from 2020 to 2022, according to the World Economic Forum’s newly released Global Cooperation Barometer.
The latest Global Cooperation Barometer employs 42 indicators to measure five pillars of global cooperation between 2012 and 2022: trade and capital, innovation and technology, climate and natural capital, health and wellness, and peace and security.
The study, developed in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, reveals that global cooperation showed signs of strength during the years measured in pillars such as trade and capital, innovation and technology, and climate and natural capital.
However, the barometer also reflects the significant challenges the world has faced in the past three years, including reversals in global health cooperation and sharp increases in violent conflict, shown through declines in the barometer’s health and wellness and peace and security pillars.
The barometer release follows a year that was the hottest on record and saw escalating levels of conflict worldwide but also brought progress on climate action, trade agreements and innovation.
Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, noted: “The greatest challenges – and the most promising opportunities – for our planet, societies and economies are not bound by borders, which means the only way to address them is through cooperation.
“What the barometer shows is that cooperation on many issues is possible, even in the midst of competition and confrontation. In other words, leaders can work together despite not seeing eye-to-eye on everything.”
Bob Sternfels, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company, added: “It is clear that on some dimensions the world has become increasingly divided, yet the barometer shows that when you look at the whole picture, global cooperation has remained surprisingly robust over the last decade.
“We’ve seen progress in collaboration across multiple areas, with special cause for optimism on climate and nature and breakthroughs in frontier technologies that draw on global contributions to innovation.”
The Global Cooperation Barometer’s accompanying report, also newly released, presents a series of recommendations for business and government leaders, including identifying opportunities to deepen public-private partnerships in areas where they have critical operations and shared interests (e.g., R&D, harmonised regulation of AI and emerging technology).
In addition, the Global Cooperation Barometer’s accompanying report stated that leaders should reimagine cooperation and practise ‘coopetition’ (finding opportunities for collaboration despite broader competitive positions) and also use cooperation to beget cooperation, using instances of collaboration to not only advance interests in a specific area but also as an opportunity to deepen trust and explore where other alignment may exist.
The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Cooperation Barometer was launched ahead of the World Economic Forum’s 54th Annual Meeting, which is due to be held in Davos, Switzerland, from January 15-19, 2024.
Featured image: The Global Cooperation Barometer release follows a year that was the hottest on record and saw escalating levels of conflict worldwide. Image: Kyle Glenn