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DAVOS, SwitzerlandA survey of business leaders gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week for the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, has found that a majority of leaders believe the next generation will live in a more economically prosperous, but riskier world.
WEF reports that just over two-thirds of those polled think the world will be a lot more or a little more prosperous. The same group of influential executives say, however, that the next generation will live in a more dangerous world, with 61% stating it would be a little or a lot less safe.
Energy security and climate change will be key themes for this year's meeting and this was reflected in the leap in concern among those leaders who responded to the poll about environmental protection.
Protection of the environment is a concern that one in five think leaders should concentrate on. This represents a big increase since last year's survey, when only 9% rated this as a priority.This poll of participantscalled the Voice of the Leadersasks participants the same questions each year relating to the state of the world.
The same questions are also posed in a worldwide survey of global citizens in the Voice of the People survey, the results of which were released last week.
The Voice of the People survey was undertaken in November-December 2006 and more than 53,000 people were interviewed.The global citizens were less optimistic than the leaders about economic prosperity. Only four out of 10 said that they believe that the next generation will live in a lot or a little more economic prosperity.
Protecting the environment has also become a major concern of the people according to the WEF survey group. It rose to second place as a priority this year, mentioned by one-in-five respondents. Last year it was only ranked the fourth most important priority and was mentioned by less than one in ten (9%) of respondents.
"It is clear from this survey that the leaders who will be gathering in Davos next week view the world and its problems in a different way than the wider global population. They share the same concerns about securityboth economic and personalbut they often have very different priorities. What is interesting, too, is to see how climate change is taking on more and more importancewith twice as many leaders questioned placing it as the most important global issue," said Peter Torreele, managing director of the World Economic Forum.
Both surveys can be found at www.weforum.org.