20 July 2020; 9am to 10.15am (EST); Opportunities for the Future We Want: Global Launch of the Future Possibilities Report Virtual Event

Opportunities for the Future We Want: Global Launch of the Future Possibilities Report Virtual Event

Date & Time 20 July 2020; 9am to 10.15am (EST)
Location Webex1 and UN WebTV
Global Launch of the Future Possibilities Report


While the end of the crisis caused by the COVID19 pandemic is not yet in sight, there is growing focus on the ways and means to build back better, by resetting the way we produce, consume, socialize and interact. The inaugural “2020 Future Possibilities Report” provides some of the first guidelines and benchmarks on how governments can prepare for such rapid change and will contribute to the important debate around the shape and form of the future economy. This special event, organized by the United Arab Emirates and the “UN75: 2020 and Beyond initiative,” provides an opportunity to share national approaches to future preparedness, as well as a consideration of transformational trends – from connectivity to self-improvement spending to renewable energy – that governments and multilateral institutions must be prepared to react to and capitalize on as they progress toward the UN’s centennial in 2045.

The Future Possibilities Report provides an analysis of the transformational trends that create opportunities and offers pragmatic solutions for governments (and other stakeholders) to leverage those trends. The findings can help countries better deliver on the decade of action on the Sustainable Development Goals and achieve our common future, in the context of the 75th anniversary of the UN. The report, commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Office of the UAE as a contribution to UN75, will be made available on the UN75 website.


The event convenes a mix of Government officials, corporate leaders and academics, as well as the UN’s lead for its 75th anniversary, to outline future opportunities and debate the combination of technology, innovation frameworks, talent development, and market governance that can harness the transformations for sustainable development and to achieve systemic change as a cornerstone of a global reset.

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and as we collectively deliberate on the future we need, contributors to the event will examine ways to achieve growth and systemic change and offer examples and pragmatic solutions to leverage these transformational trends. This is all the more timely as we seek to consider the future we want in time for the UN’s centennial in 2045 and the models, approaches and systems required to get there.

The Six Transformational trends in the Future Possibilities Report

Many global transformations are simultaneously under way. The Future Possibilities report identified six transformational trends emerging from a combination of new business models, technologies and changes in attitudes and behaviours. The criteria for selecting trends as transformational included their systemic nature, global relevance and likelihood of impact over the coming 5−10 years. None of these trends are making an impact in isolation, rather, they interact in many intertwined was. And yet, each of the six trends presents distinct types of opportunities for governments, the business sector and society in general to improve both lives and livelihoods. The six trends identified are as follows:

  1. The Exabyte Economy: As computing power and storage become cheaper and more efficient, and 5G technology is rolled out, future rises in connectivity will be driven more by devices than people. The resulting flow of data will further improve the capacity of AI-based systems to optimise processes and services and disrupt business models across a range of sectors.
  2. The Circular Economy: Growing public awareness of the need to reduce environmental impact will continue to open up new possibilities across value chains based on optimising the use of resources and reducing waste. The circular economy, recycling and upcycling will become more mainstream as new technological solutions become available.
  3. The Wellbeing Economy: Interest in physical and mental wellbeing is already huge and is set to grow considerably as new approaches to wellbeing are embedded at individual, organisational and community level. There will be multiple opportunities in this sector, particularly in high-income but also middle- and lower-income countries.
  4. The Experience Economy: The desire to “experience”, rather than to consume, is trickling down from high-end markets to mass markets. Chatbots will increasingly enable service personalisation, and 3D printing will expand opportunities to customise products. “Experience tourism” accounts for a growing share of the global travel market, and virtual reality is becoming more sophisticated and affordable.
  5. The Net Zero Economy: Emerging markets and data processing are increasing demand for energy, while countries are setting targets to reduce carbon emissions in greater numbers. Innovation in technologies, investment models and markets can be expected from battery technologies, electric vehicles, energy-efficient buildings and hydrogen-powered fuel cells.
  6. The Biotech Economy: Rapid progress in biomaterials, plant science and synthetic biology will lead to breakthroughs in areas such as biodegradable materials, resilient crops, fuel refining from agricultural waste and animal protein substitutes.

9:00 – 9:05 Welcoming Remarks - H.E. Ms. Lana Z. Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN

9:05 – 9:15 Launch of the Future Possibilities Report
- H.E. Ms. Ohood Al Roumi,  Minister of State for Government Development and the Future of the UAE
- H.E. Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Under-Secretary-General and Special Advisor to the Secretary General on the Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations

9:15 – 9:35 National Approaches to Future Preparedness 
Moderated by H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, UAE Permanent Representative to the UN  and Economic Coordinator of the Government 
- H.E. Mr. David Sengeh, Minister of Education and Chief Innovation Officer of Sierra Leone
- H.E. Ms. Pilar Garrido Gonzalo, Minister of Planning and Economic Policy of the Republic of Costa Rica and Economic Coordinator of the Government 
- H.E. the Hon. Peggy O. Serame Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana

9:35 – 9:50 Dialogue on Future Possibilities Report
Moderated by Herman Quarles van Ufford, UN75 Initiative
Featuring Members of the Report Advisory Panel:
- Mr. Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director for Global Indices, INSEAD
- Mr. Soumitra Dutta, Professor of Management, Cornell University
- Ms. Chantal-Line Carpentier, Chief of UNCTAD in New York

9:50 – 10:10 

Q&A with audience

10:10 – 10:15 Wrap Up: 
- USG Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Advisor to the Secretary General on UN75 
- H.E. Ambassador Lana Z. Nusseibeh, UAE Permanent Representative to the UN


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