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Davos Forum to Tackle Climate, Economic Resiliency

USA Today | TWC
Published: January 23, 2013

The planet's largest annual gathering of corporate titans, heads of state, celebrities and thinkers -- the World Economic Forum -- kicks off Wednesday with a mission of re-energizing a global economy battered by shocks from both nature and the financial system.

The 43rd annual conference in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos will feature several leaders from recession-bruised Europe, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The meeting is taking place in a more stable economic environment than last year, when the debt crises of Greece and Spain threatened financial panic.

The conference will explore ways to better safeguard world economies vulnerable to unforeseen events -- such as Europe's debt crisis, the U.S. housing crash, Superstorm Sandy and Japan's earthquake -- and to propel them from the extended downturns resulting from such episodes. The theme: "Resilient Dynamism."

Getty Images

The Swiss resort of Davos, where the World Economy Forum will take place Jan. 23-27.

"We face a new reality of sudden shocks and prolonged global economic malaise, particularly in major economies experiencing economic austerity," Klaus Schwab, the 74-year-old founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said in a statement. "Future growth in this new context requires dynamism -- bold vision and even bolder action."

A report released by the forum Monday concludes that greening global economic growth is the only way to satisfy the needs of the world today and into the future. Global cooperation -- from both the public and private sectors -- is needed to drive development, increase natural resource productivity and greenhouse gas emissions, the report concludes.

Conference coordinators are using digital and social media more than ever to help Davos devotees follow proceedings. Main events, interviews and news conferences will be webcast, and event content and commentary will be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

The conference's more than 250 sessions will grapple with a head-spinning variety of momentous topics. Session titles include, "The past and Future of the Universe," ''The Next Generation Workforce," ''Shaping Syria's Future" and "Cancer: Myths and Truths."

(MORE: Sandy Stirs Climate Change Debate)

One recurrent theme is rampant joblessness around the globe, particularly among youth. A session called "Unemployed or Unemployable" aims to explore whether it's up to the jobless, employers or policymakers to solve the crisis.

Peter Corbett, 32, CEO of iStrategyLabs, is among about 50 young "global shapers" attending. He's speaking at several sessions, including one on how innovative types of collaboration can sidestep partisan gridlock.

"For (world leaders) to hear from a thirtysomething CEO about building entrepreneurial communities, something that they can put into practice -- how else does that happen?" Corbett says.

MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Sandy's Epic Devastation

Long Beach Island, N.J.

Long Beach Island, N.J.

Associated Press

In this aerial photograph, heavy equipment pushes sand to restore a barrier dune along the Atlantic Ocean on Long Beach Island, N.J., Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, after the region was pounded by Superstorm Sandy the previous week.

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