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World Economic Forum addresses civil society transformation

Seven working groups are being set up including those that focus on responsible digital transformation and group data and human rights

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A three-year initiative will help the civil society prepare for Industry 4.0
A three-year initiative will help the civil society prepare for Industry 4.0

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced an initiative aimed at helping civil society prepare for and respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

The three-year programme, Preparing Civil Society for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will seek to identify clear roles, responsibilities, strategies and skills to enable the social sector to transform itself as it aligns and responds to new societal and technological challenges.

 

Human-centred future

 

According to WEF, the civil society sector, which employs 350 million people worldwide, faces problems in leveraging innovation and providing solutions to challenges created by technological transformation.

 

The move, launched at the WEF’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, today, will support the transition of a sector that spends $2.2 trillion each year.

 

The initiative is receiving support from Pact and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) which have committed resources to the development of the platform.

 

“The world needs a vibrant, engaged and well-resourced civil society to grasp the opportunities and manage the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Nicholas Davis, head of society and innovation at WEF.

 

“Civil society organisations have the power and passion to help us shape a human-centred future, and it is essential that all sectors work to support them in doing so.”

 

The primary goal of the initiative will be to build a coalition of non-profit associations, donors, and public and private-sector partners committed to the sector’s reform.

“Civil society organisations have the power and passion to help us shape a human-centred future, and it is essential that all sectors work to support them in doing so"

Using the initiative as a platform, this coalition will contribute to seven working groups, each of which will be set up in 2019. They will be tasked with launching pilot phases and working with stakeholders to implement scalable solutions in the latter stages of the initiative’s lifetime.

 

The seven working groups are:

  • Minimising trade-offs in technology for good
  • Responsible digital transformation for social impact
  • Group data and human rights
  • Future of trustworthy advocacy and ethical technology
  • Practical digital security support for civil society
  • The future of non-profit work, talent and skills
  • Future civil society: new organisations, models and dynamics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“Digital and emerging technologies will shape the future of society. They must be harnessed for good. Protecting individuals, and children, in particular, will require civil society to deepen their understanding and democratise their use.” added Kate Hampton, CEO, CIFF.

 

Accompanying the launch of the initiative, WEF has also published a white paper, Civil Society in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Preparation and Response.

 

Informed by the findings of various social sector experts and practitioners and published in collaboration with Pact, the paper maps out the civil society innovation landscape, highlights how civil society organisations are responding to it, and critically assesses how the sector uses digital and emerging technologies.

 

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