Every year at the beginning of the year a meeting is held in Davos, where political leaders and domain experts sit together and discuss the issues that are happening currently in our society. The meeting is the World Economic Forum, and the history of this meeting goes back to the 1970s—back then the current form of its structure began to take shape from its nascent years.
This meeting is important as it provides a platform for world leaders to bring up issues that are causing an impact on our globe. Many important decisions taken at the meeting have influenced leaders to make the right choices. We have prepared a detailed explanation of the World Economic Forum. So let us get started.
A Brief History of the World Economic Forum
The History of World Economic Forum was founded on 24 January in the year 1971. A German engineer, Klaus Schwab, founded this organization in the city of Canton present in Geneva, Switzerland. Schwab was a professor at the University of Geneva when he founded the World Economic Forum, However, Back then it was called European Management Forum and the name was changed in the year 1987. This was done as the committee wanted to broaden its reach to every other country because it aimed to resolve international conflicts.
The First Meeting was held at Davos Congress Centre, in February 1971. Schwab had Invited 450 Executives that were based in Western European firms. At this meeting, Schwab had intended to introduce the European delegates to American practices. Schwab had made this organization a non-profit one and held meeting in Geneva. Well, every World Economic Forum that happens Today takes place in Geneva, Usually, the forum is held in January.
At the second meeting in Davos, among the speakers, a head of the government was also present. This happened for the first time in the history of the European Management Forum. The head of the state was Pierre Werner, President of Luxembourg. From then on the meeting was just not focusing on management issues, it used to discuss economic and political issues as well. After 1974 political leader was also called in for the forum. With the introduction of politics and economic issues in the annual meeting, Political leaders used this platform to convey their political interests to the meeting.
However, this was not bad, many treaties were signed by political leaders of different countries, and this stopped some countries from starting a war. We can get evidence for this. In the year 1988 Greece and Turkey were going to start a war among themselves, regarding the jurisdiction of the Greek islands. This war was stopped with the signing of the Davos Declaration. If we look at the time of 1992, the president of South Africa, F. W. de Klerk met with Nelson Mandela for the first time outside of South Africa.
The World Economic Forum, which had taken place in October 2004, was on the news, infamously though, when the CEO and the Executive director of the world economic form resigned due to the allegation of corruption. The global corruption report stated that the executive director had taken around US$900,000 or even more than that, from a firm named Alcatel ( a French Telecommunication firm).
In the year 2015, the world economic forum even extended its invitation to the North Korean Government. However, the invitation was revoked as the North Korean government had a nuclear weapon test. The North Korean delegates protested about this sudden action that was taken by the world economic forum. However, the WEF Committee didn’t want to re-invite as the circumstances had changed and it would be difficult for any kind of discussion.
World Economic Forum: Another Aspect of its History
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, made history by giving a plenary speech at the inauguration of the annual meeting that happened in Davos in the year 2018. He mentioned three major setbacks that our world is currently facing Global Warming, Terrorism, and protectionism. Prime Minister Modi said in that meeting that these challenges could be dealt with if we work collectively.
In the year 2019, Jair Bolsonaro the president of Brazil had given an important speech, that mentioned the conservation of the Rain forest. He said that Brazill would always protect the rainforest, even if it is used for food production or export services. He mentioned that the Brazilian government is trying to get into the mainstream international world by adopting practices that were suggested by the OECD. In that meeting, it was discussed about the rapid climate change and the rising global warming that is getting out of hand. These were some of the major issues that were discussed in the meeting.
In the recent World Economic Forum that had taken place in the year 2021, December. It was difficult to conduct a meeting with the Pandemic Outbreak. In 2022, the annual meeting was focused on the Russia-Ukraine war and rapid climate change. The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, had given a speech at that meeting, he mentioned how grateful he was for the support that other countries had given to Ukraine in the time of War, he also mentioned that their country needs even more support for surviving the War.
The World Economic Forum annual meeting that was conducted in the year 2022, saw for the first time that any Russian government official had not taken place in that meeting. According to some articles published in The Wall Street Journal, the situation was described as the “Unraveling of Globalization”.
This year the world economic forum 2023 which took place in Davos, had its motto as “Cooperation In a Fragmented World”. The meeting was conducted from January 16 to 20.
What is World Economic Forum?
Well, the World Economic Forum is a committee that conducts discussions on economic and political issues happening around the world. Its headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The committee was earlier named European Management Meeting, where business delegates used to come and discuss. However, after the 1980s political leaders also started to join the meeting; with them included in the annual meeting, the forum had shifted its focus to Political and economic issues happening all over the world. Nowadays they have even included social and environmental concerns also.
The annual meeting is conducted in Davos, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum meeting happens in the Swiss ski resort most of the time. The Forum consists of important business officials and some political leaders from countries that are invited by the executive board of the World Economic Forum. These political leaders discuss the global issues that have become a challenge for the overall development of the world, mainly sustainable development. They even provide expertise in the financial inclusion of the unbanked population to know more click on how innovation happens in the financial inclusion movement and elsewhere.
In 2022, due to the Covid pandemic, the annual meeting was delayed for a few months. This committee is a non-profitable organization; it does not impose decisions on other countries, and it provides a platform for countries to raise their concerns and cooperate with other leaders and come to a decision. The World Economic Forum influences political leaders into making decisions that are towards sustainable development. Sustainable development includes preserving biodiversity, global warming, rapid climate change, and man-made disasters. The forum is financed by its core members, which consist of various business personalities and political leaders as well.
The World Economic Forum consists of members from all sorts of sectors. It has members from top companies, their CEOs, and founders. Some of the members come from the media industry, like some famous musicians or actors. Even some religious leaders are also members of this forum.
How Does the World Economic Forum Function?
The meetings that are held at The World Economic Forum have a very interactive environment. It does not function as a conference but rather a place where political leaders can express their concerns and those can be discussed by other leaders as well. Every Leader that is invited gets an equal chance to put their key points in front of the committee. This has been the motive of this committee since the beginning.
The World Economic Forum also keeps track of the progress that has taken place through this meeting, which helps the committee in being credible to bring an impact to this world. Each annual meetings that are held have a clear action plan that can get them the desired outcome.
Mainly The World Economic Forum targets concerns that are towards the preservation of the globe. They have several projects lined up that are working towards, global warming, climate change, health sectors, and sustainable urban development. They have partnered with big NGOs that are selected from across the globe, which helps them work towards these projects.
The World Economic Forum(WEF) also provides techniques on how the private and the public sector can collaborate so that the local people are benefitted, just like mobile banking where telecom companies partner up with fintech companies. The collaboration among them solves the query, for instance, what does mobile money transfer mean for financial inclusion?
This is done by working with world leaders present across the world. They come up with the problems in the meeting and the committee discusses them to find the appropriate solution that can benefit the country. The WEF does not hold any kind of power that they can impose on world leaders to make a decision; instead, they set up the meeting where they can discuss the problem and influence any country on taking steps that will be beneficial for their country and for the overall health of the globe.
The World Economic Forum Meetings
The World Economic Forum conducts 4 major meetings:
- The World Economic Forum meeting is conducted annually, at the beginning of the year. The meeting is held in Davos-Klosters-Switzwerland every year. The meeting discusses industrial advancement present globally or in the region.
- The Annual Meeting of the Champions. This meeting discusses the innovations in the technology industry. It keeps track of the advancement of science. The meeting is considered in the People’s Republic of China.
- The next meeting, The Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils is conducted in the United Arab Emirates. The meeting brings forward people who are a member of some of the leading knowledge communities. They discuss the major challenges that Our earth is going to face shortly.
- At the Industry Strategy Meeting, in this meeting Industry leaders from across the globe take part. They discuss the problem an industry faces in its functioning. How the industries can grow while conserving our environment. These are some of the issues the committee discusses in the annual meeting.
On top of all these meetings, the World Economic Forum conducts regional and local meetings. These kinds of meetings focus on some of the local and regional issues. NGOs working in those kinds of areas help the committee look into the issues and sort them out. The refugee issue in some countries is been taken care of by projects led by the WEF they will be looking at the future of refugee financial inclusion.
The World Economic Forum Conducts continuous workshops and seminars, to help regional people with their economic and political issues. The Local people are given relief from the ongoing conflict in their areas. WEF has always brought effective results with their constant relief programs that are run by the joint efforts of the committee and local NGOs.
How Does a World Economic Forum Program Work?
In fact, the organization is a consortium of many different sub-organizations with different ideologies yet trying to fulfill human requirements. The meetings that are conducted by the World Economic Forum, follow the following steps:
1. Thorough Insights
Every Meeting That is Conducted by the World Economic Forum has a particular vision that covers a broad section of things.
To influence political leaders into making the right decisions, the committee keeps a record of every detail about the significant issue that is taking place in the world. There is a research team that takes care of finding and verifying the information on issues. The issues can be:
- WAR by other countries
- Gender Equality
- Technological Advancement
There are Groups in the committee that look after the issues that are taking place. They discussed how those issues can affect our globe, and what their consequences could be. The council consists of business leaders, activists, and professors. They even discuss the challenges regional industries would be facing with global problems. This part of the committee is called the Network of Global Future Councils.
2. With Result-driven Projects
The World Economic Forum consists of members from every sector of the industry. The members that initiate projects hail from many other countries and aim that every project has a positive impact on society. The Forum aims to collaborate with the private and the public sector So that the stakeholders can gain from it. Each project is made to be sustainable to deliver an impact all over the world. Currently, 50 new projects are active. These projects are targeted at solving the issues the world is facing at the moment, be it international issues or local regional issues—the politics behind mobile money in Ethiopia, is one such example of a local one. The forum plans on resolving issues at all levels.
3. Meetings Done Virtually
It is not possible every time for world leaders to come together at the annual meeting. In times of any pandemic, it is not practical for every member of the forum to sit together and discuss an issue. When there is geopolitical tension between countries, leaders of the respective nations would not be willing to take part in a meeting together. This is why The tech team of the World Economic Forum developed a platform called “Top Link” where political leaders can take part remotely in a meeting.
The discussion that takes place vis the platform Top link, all the details, and the action plan are processed through the transformation Maps. So, a transformation map lets the meeting get experts’ advice on the topics that are being discussed. The transformation map consists of people from various backgrounds who are an expert in their domain. It consists of people from the industries, technological, agricultural, and business sectors.
What Does the World Economic Forum Do?
The World Economic Forum offers a platform for world political leaders to come together and discuss the pressing issues that are impacting our world negatively. The leaders can discuss the problem and come to an understanding of what needs to be done. With the help of this meeting, cultures of different countries are brought forward to tackle common problems. The platform even provides a medium for world leaders to interact with domain experts to come up with a functional plan, that will give positive results upon initiating. An annual meeting is always conducted in Davos, apart from that even regional meetings are also conducted with partnering up with local NGOs. The forum functions in the following way:
1. Economic Research
Economic Research is the starting step for the forum. The research is conducted by the Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance. They research the obstacles the world economy faces. There are various reports that they publish which contain the respective area’s economic reports. Some examples of these kinds of reports are Global Competitiveness Report, The Lisbon Review, and the Africa Competitiveness Report. Based on these reports the committee discusses how to provide sustainable economic growth to the areas where there is an economic crisis. The main aim of the committee is to eradicate poverty and spread prosperity.
2. Global Issues
The forum provides world political leaders a platform where they can raise issues that have an adverse effect on their country. The meeting consists of experts, which guide or influence the political leaders in making the right choice. Currently, there are several problems within a country including a lack of health infrastructures, sustainable economic developments, and developments in environmental sustainability. Keeping this in mind the forum provides key insights to the political leaders so that they can make an informed decision.
3. Environmental Sustainability
It is really important to make this globe stay alive in the future. There are sustainable farming techniques that need to be adopted by countries to conserve the environment. The food supply should be increased, and the growth should be sustainable to keep the number consistent. Today almost 1 billion people starve due to lack of food.
4. Social Development
With social development people get a high standard of living. With just economic progress, the whole society can’t continue for a long time. It is not sustainable with just economic development. Financial education needs to be spread to every people because they should understand how the financial system works to better work around it.
5. Financial System
The financial system needs to be developed sustainably so that it remains strong in times of economic depression. They should try to include a lot more people so that they can use basic financial products and get involved with the financial system. In times of a disaster like the Covid-pandemic, the financial system should prepare a strategy to handle the crisis. Banks should better analyze while giving out loans by introducing AI-built risk analyzers. They can make a calculated decision and can stop giving out bad loans.
Who are its Members?
The World Economic Forum consists of members from 1000 leading business companies and 200 from small enterprises that are mainly located in developing countries. Then there are members who are experts in various sectors. These are the experts that five key influential information to the political leaders to make an informed decision. These experts are part of the technological, entertainment, religious, industry, and business domains. The partners of the committee are the members of the company that fund the annual meeting. These companies are strongly inclined towards the betterment of society and the Earth. They are active members who fund the projects that are initiated by the World Economic Forum.
1. Strategic Partners
The strategic partners include members from the top 100 companies that support the forum. These individuals follow the initiatives taken by the forum. They work towards the betterment of society and the earth. With their expertise in the business, they bring in key insights that help political leaders taking the right decisions regarding the advancement of their business industry. The strategic partners have a say in the functioning of the forum, they discuss their agendas and how the forum would start to resolve the problem.
2. Industry Leaders as Partners
These members help the committee in making decisions that impact the industries. The members consist of people that are leaders in the industry, they know about the problems industry faces. They help in making decisions about the growth of industries. Sustainable growth of industries is important for conserving this earth, the industries should practice methods that do not cause any harm to our earth. With the growth of industries, jobs are generated. Unemployed people get jobs, which results in the whole economic growth of the nation.
The World Economic Forum 2023
The World Economic Forum 2023 was conducted in Davos in the month of January from 16 to 20. Like always the forum will focus on Sustainability, conservation of the earth, geopolitics due to globalization, and sustainable usage of energy. Well, many experts hope that the meeting brings solutions to the problems rather than just the details of the problem. With the right solutions through the combined efforts of all the members, we can be strong and tackle any challenges that we face. We have listed out some of the most important initiatives the meeting will take about. Most of the initiatives target sustainable growth and economic strengthening.
1. Strong Government and Financial System
In the past, we have faced some of the most significant issues that have gravely affected our economy. We have witnessed the entire lockdown of nations due to the Covid pandemic, and we have witnessed the Ukraine-Russia war that has caused a dent in the global economy. Our governmental body and the financial bodies must be prepared for events like this; they should anticipate situations like this and stay prepared.
2. Restructuring of Globalization
As we have seen that there is a War that is occurring between Ukraine and Russia, and there are a lot of consequences due to this. There has been a change in globalization. There is a difference in perspective between the US government and the Chinese government, and due to this a lot of changes has been taken in place of trading. So, the meeting should find out what could be the impact due to this in the future and how others can other country be interdependent.
3. Increased Parity
The meeting will focus on the equality of all races and genders. All genders including the LQBTQ community should get equal opportunities and rights. There should be a fair wage between genders; the government should strictly follow no discrimination. The WEF plans on running new projects that will aim toward the financial inclusion of people that are still unbanked.
4. Space innovations
With technological advancement, scientists have found ways in navigating through space. We have started our expedition into planets that are far from the Earth and the moon. The forum seeks in growing the space programs so that scientist does not feel any kind of problems in working. The WEF also plans on collaborating with the private and public space agency sectors. With this, there will be transparency in the process and the government can also get benefited from innovations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q 1. What is Davos meeting all about?
At the beginning of every year at Davos, the World Economic Forum annual meeting is held. The meeting provides a platform for business, industry, and political leaders to share their insights and make decisions that are towards sustainable growth and the conservation of this earth. The meeting was started by German engineer Klaus Schwab in 1971. In the beginning, the meeting was aimed at business and industries, after 1980 the meeting included political leaders, with an introduction to them. The meeting also discusses economic and geopolitical issues in countries.
Q 2. What is the benefit of the World Economic Forum?
The World Economic Forum Provides a platform for world leaders to discuss issues that are negatively impacting their countries. The forum consists of people that are experts in various domains. They are leaders in the business, technological, and agricultural industries. These members and political leaders discuss global and regional issues, and they come up with solutions. The WEF conducts projects and held seminars that help in resolving the problems a country faces.
Q 3. What are the World Economic Forum principles?
The World Economic Forum follows the following principles, independence, impartiality, moral integrity, and intellectual integrity. The forum follows these principles while moving on with any projects or meetings. Forum protects its status and reputation by following these principles.
The World Economic Forum was created by Klaus Schwab in 1971, back then it was called the European management meetings. However, after the 1980s political leaders also started to join the meeting as well. There has been a huge impact on our society due to the annual meetings that are held in Davos. For example, the war between Greece and Turkey was stopped due to the treaty that was signed in this meeting.
The meeting does not impose decisions onto the political leaders to make choices; a series of discussions with the members of the committee helps the political leader understand the consequences of the problem and influences them to make an informed decision. The core members of the committee consist of experts in various sectors, such as business, technology, economy, and agriculture. The World Economic Forum 2023 discussed the changes in globalization and environmental sustainability.