3 Ways Leaders Can Tackle Global Issues In A Fragmented World

Wadia Ait Hamza, Head of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Forum

The world continues to face several complex and interrelated challenges that require global leaders to work together and collaborate. From climate change and rising inequality to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues have far-reaching consequences that affect us all. In an increasingly fragmented world, we need to find comprehensive and coordinated solutions to these problems to ensure a brighter future for all.

One effective way leaders can address these challenges is to promote social cohesion within and between societies. Building social cohesion – connections and connections within a community – is critical to fostering trust, cooperation and resilience. By fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging, social cohesion can help reduce conflict, promote stability and enable communities to work together towards common goals.

How can leaders build social cohesion?

Here are three ways leaders can build social cohesion to address global challenges and combat fragmentation in the years ahead.

1. Promote dialogue and understanding

Leaders play a crucial role in promoting social cohesion through dialogue. They help create a sense of common purpose and unity that can inspire action to improve the state of the world. Building these necessary bridges between different groups and fostering understanding is possible when leaders create an open environment where people from different backgrounds can share ideas and opinions.

We saw this at the height of the pandemic when Young Global Leader (YGL) Maya Roy, Director of Partnerships at the Institute for Leaders for Change, developed Canada’s Feminist Recovery Plan, a comprehensive plan to remove the barriers that have made some groups more vulnerable. the effects of the pandemic. Ideas for the plan were fueled by simple conversations that brought together YGLs around the world, which also helped Maya organize her response strategy in real time.

“When you have a Telegram group with senior people from non-profit, private sector, supply chain management or biotech, I just realized I could connect the dots on trends across sectors,” Roy said. said

Similarly, YGL Camilla Hagen Sørli, board member of Canica Holding, was inspired to pursue sustainable business practices in her family company after speaking with teenage girls she encountered in a classroom at Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, who shared their dreams and goals despite uncertain future. Since then, the company has implemented sustainability as part of its overall strategy and encouraged others to follow suit.

“The YGL community gave me the confidence and knowledge to speak up and drive change,” said Sørli. By allowing leaders to listen and learn from each other, it is clear that dialogue can meaningfully foster deep understanding among diverse groups.

2. Prioritize cooperation and collaboration

In such a fragmented world, it is easy for different groups to prioritize their own needs over the needs of the greater good. But leaders can better address global challenges and find solutions if they work together and find common ground. In this way, leaders can solve important, complex problems that individuals or institutions find difficult to solve on their own.

We see this in action with one group, YGL, which created the 1t.org India Coalition to support the country’s 2030 commitment. restore 26 million hectares of cleared land and separate 2.5-3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. Directed by YGL Bhairavi. Jani, CEO of the SCA Group of Companies, the coalition is working closely with the World Economic Forum to help mitigate the effects of climate change, water scarcity and topsoil loss in India. This restoration is critical to the livelihoods of India’s 700 million rural people who depend on forests and agriculture.

Elsewhere, YGLs came together to form the Clean Air Alliance at COP26 last year. The initiative brought together 10 international companies in the first global private sector partnership to tackle air pollution. YGLs Eva Scherer, Global Head of Investor Relations at Siemens AG, and Jane Burston, Executive Director of the Clean Air Fund, helped business leaders commit to measuring their air pollution footprint and creating clean air delivery plans. These examples illustrate that by encouraging leaders to work together toward common goals, group action is encouraged and measurable progress is achieved.

3. Invest in education and training

Giving people the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world can help create greater social cohesion and a more resilient society. Investing in education and training opportunities, as well as supporting lifelong learning, can help develop leaders’ critical thinking skills and knowledge. It promotes understanding and respect between different groups, as seen in the success of our training modules.

For example, this year 40 YGLs gathered to participate in a unique leadership training module on racial equity in partnership with the University of Virginia. Over the course of four days, they explored the origins of anti-Black racism and developed strategies to promote racial equality in their organizations and communities.

According to YGL’s Molly Crockett, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, “the intuitive idea is that business leaders want to hear the business case for racial equality and diversity, but the moral case may ultimately be more effective.” Reflecting on their moral responsibility as leaders, YGLs developed action plans with accountability measures to make an impact in their spheres of influence.

We must prioritize social cohesion

World leaders have the power to create a more united, resilient and inclusive world by taking action to promote social cohesion. They can promote trust, cooperation and resilience within and between societies by promoting dialogue, prioritizing collaboration and investing in education. These efforts are critical to addressing the complex challenges facing the world today and empowering communities to work together to overcome fragmentation.

This article is part of World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023.

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