Picture: AFP PHOTO
Picture: AFP PHOTO

As the World Economic Forum (WEF) kicks off this week in Davos, a poll commissioned by the forum shows a desire for global collaboration and participation.

The results of the poll, which were released on Monday, show an overwhelming number of respondents support multilateral co-operation and immigration, and reject the notion that countries’ best interests are achieved at the expense of others.

“The combination of climate change, income inequality, technology and geopolitics pose an existential threat to humanity. What we see with this research is that, while the international community’s capacity for concerted action appears constrained, the overwhelming desire of the global public is for leaders to find new ways to work together that will allow them to co-operate on these critical shared challenges we all face,” WEF founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab said.

The research is based on answers from 10,000 people from every region of the world and will be used in panel discussions and workshops this week.

“The findings can be viewed as an endorsement by the public of the key principles of the multilateral system,” reads the report.

According to the poll, 80% of respondents worldwide believe that all countries can benefit at the same time, rejecting the notion that national improvement is a zero-sum game.

In response to whether their country has a responsibility to help other countries in the world, 94% of South Asians answered positively compared with a global average of 72%. In contrast, only 61% of North Americans and 63% of Western Europeans agreed.

Europe is the only continent where people view immigrants as “mostly bad”, in contrast with North America, which is the second-most positive region with regards to immigration. The view of the North American respondents appears to be the antithesis of the anti-immigration policies of the US under president Donald Trump.  

France, Italy, Poland, Russia and Turkey stand out as countries especially pessimistic about new immigrants.

The majority of all respondents trust climate science, but 17% in North America express little to no trust.

menons@businesslive.co.za