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Tveit addresses accountability in global leadership at World Economic Forum

Tveit addresses accountability in global leadership at World Economic Forum

© Magnus Aronson/WCC

17 January 2017

While participating in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland from 17-20 January, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit urged the world’s leaders to be accountable to humanity for the sake of justice and peace for all.

“New expressions of polarizing populism are leading to greater division in our world and in our societies,” said Tveit. “We see more tribalism, nationalism, racism, and violence. The root causes of these trends can often be found in the negative effects of economic globalization – or of its radical opposite, economic protectionism, inequality and exclusion – with more and more people marginalized and left behind, creating ever greater gaps between the rich and the poor.”

The theme of the WEF this year is “Responsive and Responsible Leadership,” and in connection with the theme, Tveit reflected on the question: who is left behind?

“Appeasing the fear of one group by increasing the fear of another cannot be the solution,” he said. “These challenges require leadership accountable to the whole and one humanity for the sake of justice and peace for all. Real accountable relationships, not only to owners but also to employees, is a condition for a healthy business.”

Responsible global leadership today entails a much wider horizon of accountability, he continued. “Economic gains must provide the resources for education, jobs, health, and a healthy environment - for all. Taxes are common resources needed for sustainable development of a society, and should not be escaped or avoided," he said. “In a wider horizon of mutual accountability to humanity and the future of the one planet Earth, we can find much better solutions together than apart.”

Responsible leadership seems especially critical now, Tveit said. “All leaders in all sectors need to define and embody leadership based on mutual accountability among them to address the challenges of today and tomorrow. Accountable leadership cannot be built on half-truths or a post-truth approach.”

Accountability to God means accountability to all those created in the image of God, he added.

As the world faces dire problems related to climate change, violence against children and acts of terrorism, the true leaders of the world need the wisdom of one another, gained through open and even critical dialogue across interests and borders. “To commit to a vision of inclusivity and mutual accountability is a challenge for everyone, whatever sector we are in,” he said.

“Nevertheless, this is what it is required of global leadership in our time. We need to promote hope for all, not only for our own interests or those of companies, specific groups, or nations.”

Full speech by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Media invitation: Interview opportunities during World Economic Forum 2017