Moving Beyond the Crisis: Mobilizing Change for Global Prosperity – An Overview of the Global Solutions Summit 2024

Photo credit: Bernhard Ludewig

The Global Solutions Summit, now in its eighth year, convened at ESMT Berlin on May 6-7, bringing together an enthusiastic and diverse group of over 1,000 policy experts, researchers, and practitioners from over 120 countries for two days of impactful dialogue and knowledge exchange. Featuring about 200 esteemed speakers, the event hosted luminaries such as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Federal Ministers Svenja Schulze and Robert Habeck, African Union Commissioners Amani Abou-Zeid and Albert M. Muchanga as well as Bill Gates, Anshula Kant, Margrethe Vestager and many more. Centered around the theme “Moving Beyond the Crisis,” this year’s discussions challenged participants to identify key barriers to solutions, conditions for effective change, and necessary steps for systemic transformation. The Summit fostered dialogue on multi-level stakeholder engagement—spanning academia, policy, civil society, and business—to achieve economic, social, and environmental well-being or, as GSI founder Dennis J. Snower puts it, “Human Flourishing.” 

Take a look at our photo gallery and video playlist to relive highlights of the Summit. 

Keynote highlights

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered a keynote address that underscored the importance of international cooperation in addressing global challenges. He emphasized that effective solutions can be found through collaborative efforts across various sectors. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared his excitement about the progress and potential of fields such as AI and biology. Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action & Vice Chancellor, spoke on climate neutrality and the steps Germany has taken to achieve this goal. Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, highlighted the impacts of loss and damage on vulnerable groups and the importance of establishing robust frameworks to counteract these effects. 

Keys to Enabling Systemic Change

In an emphatic opening address, GSI President Dennis J. Snower called for a focused understanding of the environmental consequences of humanity’s actions. He stressed the need for global governance to prioritize human flourishing and for a revived emphasis on sustainable economic activity. Bob Moritz, Global Chair of PwC, offered compelling insights during a panel on systemic change for people and the planet. He highlighted the urgency of the world’s challenges and urged governments and businesses to collaborate in changing the rules of the game for humanity’s benefit. 

Revived Calls for Collaborative Action

Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Managing Director at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), spoke about mobilizing global solidarity for the global commons. She stressed the importance of creating framework conditions that encourage necessary change. Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of Working Group II at the IPCC, and Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, discussed the challenge of achieving climate action and overcoming the tension among stakeholders with resources as they must “give up something to those without.” Heiko Thoms, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Finance, highlighted the need to leverage both public and private funds, encouraging more focus on blended finance.  

Harnessing Digital Transformation for Greater Good

With the evolution and growth of AI and digital technologies, speakers pondered how the digital transformation could play a part in building a human-centered future. Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and for Competition, emphasized the importance of harnessing AI to serve humanity. Helena Laurent, Director General of Consumers International, proposed a shift to a new model of consumer care in which business thinks thoroughly about consumer outcomes first in the design of products. Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO, echoed these points, highlighting the challenges of integrating AI into a human-centered future and the need for determined policy action. 

Recoupling Human Flourishing with Climate Action

A delegation from Think20 (T20) Brazil attended this year’s Summit, in line with the Brazilian G20 presidency. Luciana Mendes Santos Servo, President of the Institute for Applied Economic Research & T20 Brazil Coordinator, highlighted the priority of tackling climate change’s impact on vulnerable groups and addressing increasing inequalities. Anshula Kant, Managing Director, and Chief Financial Officer of the World Bank Group emphasized the importance of viewing health as an investment and highlighted the significance of human capital in developing thriving economies. Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization, expressed optimism and hope in the face of crises, which she viewed as an opportunity for rapid action towards sustainable goals. She emphasized the urgency of taking bold decisions to catalyze energy access and the leading role that the African continent must play in shaping the global green energy transition because, in her words, “no one is safe until everyone is safe.” To this end, Commissioner Abou-Zeid and Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, participated actively in various panel discussions and working sessions laying out African perspectives on issues such as reforms and priorities to overhaul climate finance and strengthen food sovereignty on the continent. 

Young Global Changers Took Center Stage

This year’s summit also saw another edition of the prestigious YGC Recoupling Awards, which recognize impactful, youth-led projects driving transformational change in communities worldwide. With a focus on business, social & climate action, and civic engagement, three outstanding winners were selected from 15 finalists:  

  • Priyal Agrawal from India, founder of StandWeSpeak, who is revolutionizing sexual and reproductive health education through an AI-powered platform for young Indians.  
  • SM Shaikat from Bangladesh, who is leading the charge through Urban Youth Councils to reinvent youth civic engagement there. 
  • Samia and Lamea Tanjin Tanha, also from Bangladesh, who are the driving force behind TransEnd Crafts, a unique e-commerce platform that empowers marginalized LGBTQI+ artisans.  

For the first time, the Summit featured exclusive meetings between Young Global Changers (YGCs) and special guests German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Bill Gates. Together, they discussed their insights and ideas for local solutions with global potential.  

Photo credit: Bernhard Ludewig

10th Issue of the GSI Journal Published

We were thrilled to unveil the tenth issue of the GSI Journal during the Summit. Read or download the entire issue on our website. Organizations can also reach out to our press team for hard copies. 

What’s Next? 

The next Global Solutions Summit will be held on May 5-6, 2025. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest updates. 

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