ISLAMABAD: The World Economic Forum (WEF) launched on Monday the Global Cooperation Barometer to measure the state of global cooperation. The barometer indicates that global cooperation was resilient in multiple dimensions from 2012 until 2020 but overall cooperation declined by 2 per cent from 2020 to 2022.

The Global Cooperation Baro­meter, developed in collaboration with McKinsey and Company, uses 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 barometer also indicates 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, it 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 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,” said WEF President Borge Brende. “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,” he said.

“It’s clear that on some dimensions the world has become increasingly divided, yet the barometer shows that when you look at the full picture, global cooperation has remained surprisingly robust over the last decade,” said Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company, Bob Sternfels. “We have 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,” he said.

Economic cooperation

The Global Cooperation Barometer’s accompanying report, also released on Monday, 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 like research and development, harmonised regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging technology.

The report says “Today’s economy is in a fragile state, with growth expected to be well below the historical average, according to IMF. Revitalising trade will be crucial to strengthening the economic outlook ahead and boosting livelihoods. However, the IMF has raised alarms about the possibility of global fragmentation, which could shave off 7pc of global GDP.

Similarly, technological innovation is key to boosting currently sluggish productivity growth, with generative AI holding extraordinary potential — $2.6 trillion to $4.4tr in additional annual value across industries, as estimated by the McKinsey Global Institute. The only way to unlock this benefit and manage undesirable consequences is through global coordination.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2024

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