Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Informal Gatherings

First Forty Years, pg 43: . . . the first Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders, which Davos regulars now usually refer to by the acronym IGWEL, [started in 1982]. This closed-door, off-the-record meeting allowed for informal dialogue, permitting participants to get to know each other, exchange ideas and work on ongoing issues and problems without having to produce a communiqué, treaty, press statement or any other documents at its conclusion. Today (2010) the IGWEL remains enormously attractive to participants as the only global framework for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and opinions of government leaders. In recent years, G20 countries have typically been represented by their head of government, as well as ministers in charge of foreign affairs, finance, economy, environment, technology, health or other portfolios.

 

Readers' Guide Comment on "the only global framework for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and opinions of government leaders"

The Davos environment does indeed provide a welcome place for leaders to meet. It is not, however, the only global forum for informal exchanges of ideas between heads of state. Every year the opening of the General Assembly provides heads of state and government an opportunity to be in a seminar ambiance, to socialize over lunches, and to converse informally at receptions. Throughout the year, other UN bodies create a similar space for interdisciplinary discussions between national leaders and ministers.

Additionally think tank retreats, university seminars, and civil society events provide opportunities for relaxed high-level intergovernmental dialogues and for cross disciplinary exchanges of ideas.

Related Idea: WEF Process, Fixes for the G20

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