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The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental and lobbying organisation based in
Cologny Cologny () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History Cologny is first mentioned in 1208 as ''Colognier''. The oldest trace of a settlement in the area is a Neolithic lake side village which wa ...
,
canton of Geneva The Canton of Geneva, officially the Republic and Canton of Geneva (french: link=no, République et canton de Genève; frp, Rèpublica et canton de Geneva; german: Republik und Kanton Genf; it, Repubblica e Cantone di Ginevra; rm, Republica e ...
, Switzerland. It was founded on 24 January 1971 by
Klaus Schwab Klaus Martin Schwab (; born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny, Geneva Canton, Switzerland, is an I ...
. The foundation, which is mostly funded by its 1,000 member companies – typically global enterprises with more than five billion
US dollar The United States dollar (symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy), object, or wikt:relationship, relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond wha ...
s in turnover – as well as public subsidies, views its own mission as "improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas". The WEF is mostly known for its annual meeting at the end of January in
Davos , neighboring_municipalities= Arosa, Bergün/Bravuogn, Klosters-Serneus, Langwies, S-chanf, Susch , twintowns = } Davos (, ; or ; rm, ; archaic it, Tavate) is an Alps, Alpine resort town and a Municipalities of Switzerland, munici ...

Davos
, a mountain resort in the eastern
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerl ...

Alps
region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 3,000 paying members and selected participants – among which are investors, business leaders, political leaders,
economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy. Within this field there are m ...
s, celebrities and journalists – for up to five days to discuss
global issues A global issue is any issue (problem, risk) that adversely affects the global community and environment, possibly in a Global catastrophic risk, catastrophic way, including environmental issues, political crisis, social issues and economic crisis ...
across 500 sessions. Next to Davos, the organization convenes regional conferences in locations across Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and India and holds two additional annual meetings in China and the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia. It is located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares borders with Oma ...

United Arab Emirates
. It furthermore produces a series of reports, engages its members in sector-specific initiativesPigman. pp. 41–42. and provides a platform for leaders from selected stakeholder groups to collaborate on multiple projects and initiatives. The Forum suggests that a globalised world is best managed by a self-selected coalition of
multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporation, corporate organization that owns and controls the production of goods or services in at least one country other than its home country. Control is considered an important aspect of an MNC, to distingui ...
s,
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
s and civil society organizations (CSOs), which it expresses through initiatives like the "Great Reset" and the "Global Redesign". It sees periods of global instability – such as the
financial crisis A financial crisis is any of a broad variety of situations in which some financial assets suddenly lose a large part of their nominal value. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many financial crises were associated with banking panics, and many ...
and the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified from an outbreak in the Chinese city of ...
– as windows of opportunity to intensify its programmatic efforts. The World Economic Forum and its annual meeting in Davos are criticised regarding the public cost of security while having amassed several hundred million Swiss francs in reserves and not paying federal taxes, the formation of a wealthy
global elite In political theory, political and sociology, sociological theory, the elite (French ''élite'', from Latin ''eligere'', to select or to sort out) are a small group of powerful people who hold a economic inequality, disproportionate amount of wea ...
without attachment to the broader societies, undemocratic decision processes, gender issues, a lack of financial transparency, unclear selection criteria, the environmental footprint of its annual meetings, the corporate capture of global and democratic institutions, the non-accreditation of critical media outlets, institutional whitewashing initiatives and the appropriation of global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic to set through its own agenda. As a reaction of criticism within Swiss society, the Swiss federal government decided in February 2021 to reduce its annual contributions to the WEF.


History

in his role as the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, 2008 Image:Børge Brende at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2008.jpg, left, Børge Brende, managing director and current president of the World Economic Forum, at the opening press conference in 2008 in Cape Town, South Africa The WEF was founded in 1971 by
Klaus Schwab Klaus Martin Schwab (; born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny, Geneva Canton, Switzerland, is an I ...
, a business professor at the
University of Geneva The University of Geneva ( French: ''Université de Genève'') is a public research university located in Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge, Chêne-Bougeries, Cologny, Lancy, Grand-Saconnex, Pregny-Chambésy, Vernier, Switzerland ...

University of Geneva
. First named the European Management Forum, it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and sought to broaden its vision to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts. In February 1971, Schwab invited 450 executives from
Western European Western Europe is the region of Europe farthest from Asia, with the countries and territories included varying depending on context. After the beginning of foreign exploration in the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept ...
firms to the first European Management Symposium held in the
Davos Congress Centre The Davos Congress Centre is the major convention centre in Davos, Switzerland. It opened in 1969 and has undergone major transformations and extensions in 1979, 1989 and 2010. It has hosted the meetings of the World Economic Forum since 1971. Re ...

Davos Congress Centre
under the patronage of the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes an ...

European Commission
and European industrial associations, where Schwab sought to introduce European firms to American management practices. He then founded the WEF as a nonprofit organization based in
Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge, Chêne-Bougeries, Cologny, Lancy, Grand-Saconnex, Pregny-Chambésy, Vernier, Switzerland, Vernier, Veyrier , website = geneve.ch Geneva ( ; french: Genève ; frp, Genèva ; german: link=no, Genf ; it, G ...

Geneva
and drew European business leaders to
Davos , neighboring_municipalities= Arosa, Bergün/Bravuogn, Klosters-Serneus, Langwies, S-chanf, Susch , twintowns = } Davos (, ; or ; rm, ; archaic it, Tavate) is an Alps, Alpine resort town and a Municipalities of Switzerland, munici ...

Davos
for the annual meetings each January. The second European Management Forum, in 1972, was the first meeting at which one of the speakers at the forum was a head of government, President
Pierre Werner Pierre Werner (29 December 1913 – 24 June 2002) was a Luxembourgian politician in the Christian Social People's Party (CSV) who was the 18th Prime Minister from 1959 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1984. Training and early activities Pierre Wern ...
of
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
. Events in 1973, including the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed-exchange rate mechanism and the Yom Kippur War, saw the annual meeting expand its focus from management to economic and social issues, and, for the first time, political leaders were invited to the annual meeting in January 1974. Political leaders soon began to use the annual meeting as venue for promoting their interests. The ''Davos Declaration'' was signed in 1988 by
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A contin ...

Greece
and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; the B ...

Turkey
, helping them turn back from the brink of war. In 1992, South African President F. W. de Klerk met with
Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; ; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's fi ...

Nelson Mandela
and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the annual meeting, their first joint appearance outside South Africa. At the 1994 annual meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres Shimon Peres (; he, שמעון פרס ; born Szymon Perski; 2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016) was an Israeli politician who served as the List of Presidents of Israel, ninth President of Israel (2007–2014), the Prime Minister of Israel (tw ...

Shimon Peres
and PLO chairman
Yasser Arafat Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini ( , ; ar, محمد ياسر عبد الرحمن عبد الرؤوف عرفات القدوة الحسيني; 4 / 24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yass ...

Yasser Arafat
reached a draft agreement on
Gaza Gaza may refer to: Places Palestine * Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea ** Gaza City, a city in the Gaza Strip ** Gaza Governorate, a governorate in the Gaza Strip United States * Gaza, Iowa, an ...
and
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a State of Palestine, Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat ...

Jericho
. In October 2004, the World Economic Forum gained attention through the resignation of its CEO and executive director over the undeclared receipt of more than US$900,000 in consultancy fees from the French telecommunications firm Alcatel.
Transparency International Transparency International e.V. (TI) is a German registered voluntary association A voluntary group or union (also sometimes called a voluntary organization, common-interest association, association, or society) is a group of individuals who ente ...
had highlighted this incident in their Global Corruption Report in 2006. In January 2006, the WEF published an article in its ''Global Agenda'' magazine titled "Boycott Israel", which was distributed to all 2,340 participants of the Annual Meeting. Following the publication,
Klaus Schwab Klaus Martin Schwab (; born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny, Geneva Canton, Switzerland, is an I ...
described the publication as "an unacceptable failure in the editorial process". In late 2015, the invitation was extended to include a North Korean delegation for the 2016 WEF, "in view of positive signs coming out of the country", the WEF organizers noted. North Korea has not been attending the WEF since 1998. The invitation was accepted. However, WEF revoked the invitation on 13 January 2016, after the 6 January 2016 North Korean nuclear test, and the country's attendance was made subject to "existing and possible forthcoming sanctions". Despite protests by
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tum ...

North Korea
calling the decision by the WEF managing board a "sudden and irresponsible" move, the WEF committee maintained the exclusion because "under these circumstances there would be no opportunity for international dialogue". In 2017, the WEF in Davos attracted considerable attention when, for the first time, a head of state from the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billion ...
was present at the alpine resort. With the backdrop of
Brexit Brexit (; a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "portmanteau (luggage) A portmanteau is a piece of luggage, usually made of leather and opening into two equal parts. Some were large, upright, and hinged at the back and ...
, an incoming
protectionist Protectionism is the economic policy The economic policy of governments covers the systems for setting levels of taxation, government budgets, the money supply and interest rates as well as the labour market, nationalization, national o ...
US administration and significant pressures on
free trade zone A free-trade zone (FTZ) is a class of special economic zone A special economic zone is an area in which the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. SEZs are located within a country's national borders, and their ...
s and
trade agreement A trade agreement (also known as trade pact) is a wide-ranging taxes, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. It exists when two or more countries agree on terms that help them trade with each other. The most common tra ...
s,
Paramount leader The paramount leader also named supreme leader () of the Chinese Communist Party ) , anthem = "The Internationale" , seats1_title = National People's Congress (13th National People's Congress, 13th) , seats1 = , ...
Xi Jinping Xi Jinping ( ; , ; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (China), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (Chin ...

Xi Jinping
defended the global economic scheme, and portrayed China as a responsible nation and a leader for environmental causes. He sharply rebuked the current populist movements that would introduce tariffs and hinder global commerce, warning that such protectionism could foster isolation and reduced economic opportunity. In 2018, Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi Narendra Damodardas Modi ( ; born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician serving as the 14th and current Prime Minister of India The Prime Minister of India (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration, IAST: ), offici ...

Narendra Modi
gave the plenary speech, becoming the first head of government from India to deliver the inaugural keynote for the annual meet at Davos. Modi highlighted
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known event ...

global warming
(climate change), terrorism and protectionism as the three major global challenges, and expressed confidence that they can be tackled with collective effort. In 2019, Brazilian President
Jair Bolsonaro Jair Messias Bolsonaro (; born 21 March 1955) is a Brazilian politician and retired military officer who is the 38th president of Brazil. 2018 Brazilian general election, Elected in 2018 as a member of the conservative Social Liberal Party (Bra ...

Jair Bolsonaro
gave the keynote address at the plenary session of the conference. On his first international trip to Davos, he emphasized liberal economic policies despite his populist agenda, and attempted to reassure the world that
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, ...
is a protector of the
rain forest Rainforests are forest A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological func ...

rain forest
while utilizing its resources for food production and export. He stated that "his government will seek to better integrate Brazil into the world by mainstreaming international best practices, such as those adopted and promoted by the
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to sti ...

OECD
". Environmental concerns like extreme weather events, and the failure of
climate change mitigation Climate change mitigation consists of actions to limit global warming and Effects of global warming, its related effects. This involves reductions in human emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) as well as activities that reduce their concentration ...
and
adaptation In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechani ...
were among the top-ranking global risks expressed by WEF attendees. In 2020, the Swiss police made the public aware that two "Russian spies", one of whom was disguised as a plumber, had travelled to Davos with diplomatic passports prior to the Annual Meeting. The Russian Embassy in
Bern ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern Bremgarten bei Bern is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corpora ...
denied having carried out "preparatory work" for spying on the World Economic Forum. The 2021 World Economic Forum was due to be held from 17 to 20 August in
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...

Singapore
. However, on 17 May the Forum was cancelled; a new meeting will take place in the first half of 2022 instead with a final location and date to be determined later in 2021. In late December 2021, The World Economic Forum said in a release that pandemic conditions had made it extremely difficult to stage a global in-person meeting next month; transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant and its impact on travel and mobility had made deferral necessary.


Organization

Headquartered in Cologny, the WEF also has offices in New York, Beijing and Tokyo. In January 2015, it was designated an NGO with "other international body" status by the Swiss Federal Government under the Swiss Host-State Act. On 10 October 2016, the WEF announced the opening of its new Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. According to the WEF, the center will "serve as a platform for interaction, insight and impact on the scientific and technological changes that are changing the way we live, work and relate to one another". The World Economic Forum claims to be
impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to ...
and that it is not tied to any political, partisan, or national interests. Until 2012, it had
observer status Observer status is a privilege granted by some organizations to non-members to give them an ability to participate in the organization's activities. Observer status is often granted by intergovernmental organizations (IGO) to non-member parties and ...
with the
United Nations Economic and Social Council The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; french: Conseil économique et social des Nations unies, ) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tha ...

United Nations Economic and Social Council
, when it was revoked; it is under the supervision of the
Swiss Federal Council The Federal Council (german: Bundesrat, french: Conseil fédéral, it, Consiglio federale, rm, Cussegl federal) is the seven-member executive council that constitutes the federal government of the Swiss Confederation and serves as the collecti ...
. The foundation's highest governance body is the foundation board. The managing board is chaired by the WEF's president, , and acts as the executive body of the World Economic Forum. Managing board members are Børge Brende, Julien Gattoni, Jeremy Jurgens, Adrian Monck, Sarita Nayyar, Olivier M. Schwab, Saadia Zahidi, and Alois Zwinggi.


Board of trustees

The WEF is chaired by founder and executive chairman Professor
Klaus Schwab Klaus Martin Schwab (; born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny, Geneva Canton, Switzerland, is an I ...
and is guided by a board of trustees that is made up of leaders from business, politics, academia and civil society. Members of the board of trustees (past or present) include:
Mukesh Ambani Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani (born 19 April 1957) is an Indian billionaire businessman, and the chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), a Fortune Global 500 The ''Fortune'' Global 500, also known as ...

Mukesh Ambani
,
Marc Benioff Marc Russell Benioff (born September 25, 1964) is an American internet entrepreneur, with a net worth of $10.4 billion . He is the founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, an enterprise cloud computing company. As of June 2021, Benioff had an ...
, ,
Mark Carney Mark Joseph Carney Order of Canada, OC (born 16 March 1965) is a Canadian economist and banker. He is Vice Chairman and Head of Impact Investing at Brookfield Asset Management as of October 2020. He served as the Governor of the Bank of Canada fro ...

Mark Carney
, Laurence D. Fink,
Chrystia Freeland Christina Alexandra Freeland (born August 2, 1968) is a Canadian politician who has served since 2019 as the tenth deputy prime minister of Canada and as the minister of finance since 2020. Freeland has held a number of portfolios over her te ...
, ,
Fabiola Gianotti Fabiola Gianotti (; born 29 October 1960) is an Italian experimental particle physicist Particle physics (also known as high energy physics) is a branch of physics that studies the nature of the particles that constitute matter and radiation. ...
,
Al Gore Albert Arnold Gore Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Gore was Bill Clinton's running mate in their Bill Clinton presidential ...

Al Gore
, ,
José Ángel Gurría José Ángel Gurría Treviño, also known as Ángel Gurría, (born 8 May 1950) is a Mexican people, Mexican economist and diplomat. Since 1 June 2006, he has been the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmen ...
, André Hoffmann,
Christine Lagarde Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde (; née Lallouette, ; born 1 January 1956) is a French politician, businessperson and lawyer serving as President of the European Central Bank since 1 November 2019. Between July 2011 and September 2019, she serv ...
,
Ursula von der Leyen Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen (; ' Albrecht; born 8 October 1958) is a German politician and physician who has been President of the European Commission since 1 December 2019. Prior to her current position, she served in the Cabinet of Germany ...

Ursula von der Leyen
,
Jack Ma Jack Ma Yun (; born 10 September 1964) is a Chinese business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group Alibaba Group Holding Limited, also known as Alibaba Group and Alibaba. ...
,
Yo-Yo Ma Yo-Yo Ma (born October 7, 1955) is an American cellist. Born in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175, ...

Yo-Yo Ma
,
Peter Maurer Peter Maurer (born 1956) is a Swiss diplomat who has been serving as the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) since 1 July 2012. Maurer was born in Thun, Switzerland. Education Maurer studied History and International ...
, Luis Alberto Moreno, Muriel Pénicaud, , , , ,
Klaus Schwab Klaus Martin Schwab (; born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny, Geneva Canton, Switzerland, is an I ...
,
Tharman Shanmugaratnam Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Tamil: தர்மன் சண்முகரத்தினம்; born 25 February 1957) is a Singaporean politician. He was appointed as the Senior Minister of Singapore & Coordinating Minister for Social Policies ...
,
Jim Hagemann Snabe Jim Hagemann Snabe (*October 27, 1965 in Egedal) is a Danish businessman and is currently the Chairman The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board, committee, or deliber ...
,
Feike Sijbesma Feike Sijbesma (born 1959) is a Dutch business executive who served as CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board of DSM (company), DSM from 2007 until 2020. He helped the Dutch government from March till September 2020 as special voluntary corona envo ...
, Heizo Takenaka, Zhu Min.World Economic Forum Announces New Board of Trustees
World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny, Geneva Canton, Switzerland, is an International non-governmental organization, international NGO, founded on 24 January 1971. The WEF's mission is stated as "committed to improving the state of ...

World Economic Forum
, press release of 25 August 2016.


Membership

The foundation is funded by its 1,000 member companies, typically global enterprises with more than five billion dollars in turnover (varying by industry and region). These enterprises rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country and play a leading role in shaping the future of their industry and/or region. Membership is stratified by the level of engagement with forum activities, with the level of membership fees increasing as participation in meetings, projects, and initiatives rises. In 2011 an annual membership cost $52,000 for an individual member, $263,000 for "Industry Partner" and $527,000 for "Strategic Partner". An admission fee cost $19,000 per person. In 2014, WEF raised annual fees by 20 percent, bringing the cost for "Strategic Partner" from CHF 500,000 ($523,000) to CHF 600,000 ($628,000).


Activities


Annual meeting in Davos

The flagship event of the World Economic Forum is the invitation-only annual meeting held at the end of January in Davos, Switzerland, bringing together chief executive officers from its 1,000 member companies, as well as selected politicians, representatives from
academia An academy (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolin ...
,
NGOs upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the launch of the "Europe in a suitcase" project by two NGOs (the EGI and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation), which aims to increase ...
, religious leaders, and the media in an
alpine Alpine may refer to: Places * Alps, a European mountain range * Alpine states, associated with the mountain range, or relating to any lofty mountain areas * Mountainous or alpine; the mountains. Australia * Alpine, New South Wales, a Northern Vill ...

alpine
environment. The winter discussions ostensibly focus around key issues of global concern (such as the
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is the process of foreign relations ...

globalization
, capital markets, wealth management, international conflicts, environmental problems and their possible solutions). The participants also take part in role playing events, such as the Investment Heat Map. Informal winter meetings may have led to as many ideas and solutions as the official sessions. At the 2018 annual meeting, more than 3,000 participants from nearly 110 countries participated in over 400 sessions. Participation included more than 340 public figures, including more than 70 heads of state and government and 45 heads of international organizations; 230 media representatives and almost 40 cultural leaders were represented. As many as 500 journalists from online, print, radio, and television take part, with access to all sessions in the official program, some of which are also
webcast A webcast is a media presentation distributed over the Internet using streaming media Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or ...
. Not all the journalists are given access to all areas, however. This is reserved for white badge holders. "Davos runs an almost caste-like system of badges", according to BBC journalist Anthony Reuben. "A white badge means you're one of the delegates – you might be the chief executive of a company or the leader of a country (although that would also get you a little holographic sticker to add to your badge), or a senior journalist. An orange badge means you're just a run-of-the-mill working journalist." All plenary debates from the annual meeting also are available on YouTube while photographs are available on
Flickr Flickr (pronounced "flicker" ) is an American image hosting and video hosting service, as well as an online community An online community, also called an internet community or web community, is a community whose members interact with each othe ...

Flickr
.


Individual participants

Some 3,000 individual participants joined the 2020 annual meeting in Davos. Countries with the most attendees include the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
(674 participants), the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
(270),
Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_t ...

Switzerland
(159),
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...

Germany
(137) and
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest ...

India
(133). Among the attendees were heads of state or government, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, heads or senior officials of international organizations) attended the annual meeting, including:
Sanna Marin Sanna Mirella Marin (; born 16 November 1985) is a Finnish politician who has been the Prime Minister of Finland since 10 December 2019. A member of the Social Democratic Party, she has been a member of the Parliament of Finland since 2015 an ...

Sanna Marin
(
prime minister of Finland The prime minister of Finland ( fi, Suomen pääministeri, literally main minister or head minister, , literally minister of state) is the leader of the Finnish Government. The Prime Minister is Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ...
),
Ursula von der Leyen Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen (; ' Albrecht; born 8 October 1958) is a German politician and physician who has been President of the European Commission since 1 December 2019. Prior to her current position, she served in the Cabinet of Germany ...

Ursula von der Leyen
(
president of the European Commission The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decision ...
),
Christine Lagarde Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde (; née Lallouette, ; born 1 January 1956) is a French politician, businessperson and lawyer serving as President of the European Central Bank since 1 November 2019. Between July 2011 and September 2019, she serv ...
( ECB president),
Greta Thunberg Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg (; born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish environmental activist who is internationally known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation Climate change mitigation co ...
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climate activist Individual and political action on climate change can take many forms. Many actions aim to build social and political support to limit and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Atmosphere of Earth, atmosphere, with the goal ...
),
Ren Zhengfei Ren Zhengfei (; born 25 October 1944) is a Chinese entrepreneur and engineer. He is the founder and CEO of Shenzhen-based Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and second largest manufacturer of smartphones. ...
( Huawei Technologies founder),
Kristalina Georgieva Kristalina Ivanova Georgieva-Kinova ( bg, Кристалина Иванова Георгиева-Кинова; born 13 August 1953)) is a Bulgarian economist serving as chair and managing director of the International Monetary Fund The Inte ...
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Bollywood actress Hindi cinema, often known as Bollywood and formerly as ''Bombay cinema'', is the Indian Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). The term is a portmanteau of "Bombay" and "Cinema of the United States, Hollywood". The ...

Bollywood actress
), George Soros (Soros Fund Management, investor) and Donald Trump (president of the United States). An analysis by ''The Economist'' from 2014 found that the vast majority of participants are male and more than 50 years old. Business accounts for most of the participants' background (1,595 conference attendees) with the remaining seats shared between government (364), NGOs (246) and press (234). Academia, which had been the basis of the first annual conference in 1971, had been marginalised to the smallest participant group (183 attendees).


Corporate participants

Next to individual participants, the World Economic Forum maintains a dense network of corporate partners that can apply for different partnership ranks within the forum. For 2019, Bloomberg L.P., Bloomberg has identified a total of 436 listed corporates that participated in the Annual Meeting while measuring a stock underperformance by the Davos participants of around -10% versus the S&P 500 during the same year. Drivers are among others an overrepresentation of financial companies and an underrepresentation of fast-growing health care and information technology businesses at the conference. ''The Economist'' had found similar results in an earlier study, showing an underperformance of Davos participants against both the MSCI World Index and the S&P 500 between 2009 and 2014.


Summer annual meeting

In 2007, the foundation established the Annual Meeting of the New Champions (also called Summer Davos), held annually in China, alternating between Dalian and Tianjin, bringing together 1,500 participants from what the foundation calls Global Growth Companies, primarily from rapidly growing emerging countries such as China,
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest ...

India
, Russia, Mexico, and
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, ...
, but also including quickly growing companies from developed countries. The meeting also engages with the next generation of global leaders from fast-growing regions and competitive cities, as well as technology pioneers from around the globe. The Premier of the People's Republic of China, Premier of China has delivered a plenary address at each annual meeting.


Regional meetings

File:Felipe Calderon Hinojosa - 2007 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos.jpg, upright=0.75, Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, speaking during ''Latin America Broadens Its Horizons'', a session at the 2007 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum Every year regional meetings take place, enabling close contact among corporate business leaders, local government leaders, and NGOs. Meetings are held in Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The mix of hosting countries varies from year to year, but consistently China and India have hosted throughout the decade since 2000.


Young Global Leaders

The group of Young Global Leaders consists of 800 people chosen by the WEF organizers as being representative of contemporary leadership, "coming from all regions of the world and representing all stakeholders in society", according to the organization. After five years of participation they are considered alumni.


Social entrepreneurs

Since 2000, the WEF has been promoting models developed by those in close collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, highlighting social entrepreneurship as a key element to advance societies and address social problems. Selected social entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the foundation's regional meetings and the annual meetings where they may meet chief executives and senior government officials. At the Annual Meeting 2003, for example, Jeroo Billimoria met with Roberto Blois, deputy secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, an encounter that produced a key partnership for her organization Child helpline international.


Research reports

The foundation also acts as a think tank, publishing a wide range of reports. In particular, "Strategic Insight Teams" focus on producing reports of relevance in the fields of competitiveness, global risks, and scenario planning, scenario thinking. The "Competitiveness Team" produces a range of annual economic reports (first published in brackets): the Global Competitiveness Report (1979) measured competitiveness of countries and economies; The Global Information Technology Report (2001) assessed their competitiveness based on their IT readiness; the Global Gender Gap Report examined critical areas of inequality between men and women; the Global Risks Report (2006) assessed key global risks; the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Global Travel and Tourism Report (2007) measured travel and tourism competitiveness; the Financial Development Report (2008) aimed to provide a comprehensive means for countries to establish benchmarks for various aspects of their financial systems and establish priorities for improvement; and the Global Enabling Trade Report (2008) presented a cross-country analysis of the large number of measures facilitating trade among nations. The "Risk Response Network" produces a yearly report assessing risks which are deemed to be within the scope of these teams, have cross-industry relevance, are uncertain, have the potential to cause upwards of US$10 billion in economic damage, have the potential to cause major human suffering, and which require a multi-stakeholder approach for mitigation.Global Risk Report 2009
World Economic Forum.
In 2020, the forum published a report named: "Nature Risk Rising". In this report the forum estimated that approximately half of the global GDP is dependent highly or moderately on nature and 1 dollar spent on nature restoration yields 9 dollars in profit.


Initiatives


Health

The Global Health Initiative was launched by Kofi Annan at the annual meeting in 2002. The GHI's mission was to engage businesses in public-private partnerships to tackle HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and health systems. The Global Education Initiative (GEI), launched during the annual meeting in 2003, brought together international IT companies and governments in Jordan, Egypt, and India that has resulted in new personal computer hardware being available in their classrooms and more local teachers trained in e-learning. The GEI model, which is scalable and sustainable, now is being used as an educational blueprint in other countries including Rwanda. On 19 January 2017 the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global initiative to fight epidemics, was launched at WEF in Davos. The internationally funded initiative aims at securing vaccine supplies for global emergencies and pandemics, and to research new vaccines for tropical diseases, that are now more menacing. The project is funded by private and governmental donors, with an initial investment of US$460m from the governments of Germany, Japan and Norway, plus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.


=2020 meeting

= Between 21 and 24 January 2020, at the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 outbreak, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, CEPI met with leaders from Moderna to establish plans for a COVID-19 vaccine at the Davos, Switzerland, Davos gathering, with a total global case number of 274 and total loss of life the virus at 16. The World Health Organization, WHO declared a global health emergency 6 days later.


Society

The Water Initiative brings together diverse stakeholders such as Alcan Inc., the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, USAID India, UNDP India, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Government of Rajasthan, and the NEPAD Business Foundation to develop public-private partnerships on water management in South Africa and India. In an effort to combat corruption, the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) was launched by CEOs from the engineering and construction, energy and metals, and mining industries at the annual meeting in Davos during January 2004. PACI is a platform for peer exchange on practical experience and dilemma situations. Approximately 140 companies have joined the initiative.


Environment

In the beginning of the 21st century, the forum began to increasingly deal with environmental issues. In the Davos Manifesto 2020 it is said that a company among other: * "acts as a steward of the environmental and material universe for future generations. It consciously protects our biosphere and champions a circular, shared and regenerative economy." * "responsibly manages near-term, medium-term and long-term value creation in pursuit of sustainable shareholder returns that do not sacrifice the future for the present." * "is more than an economic unit generating wealth. It fulfils human and societal aspirations as part of the broader social system. Performance must be measured not only on the return to shareholders, but also on how it achieves its environmental, social and good governance objectives." The Environmental Initiative covers climate change and water issues. Under the 2005 G8 Summit, Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, the government of the United Kingdom, U.K. government asked the World Economic Forum at the 31st G8 summit, G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to facilitate a dialogue with the business community to develop recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This set of recommendations, endorsed by a global group of CEOs, was presented to leaders ahead of the G8 Summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, Japan held in July 2008. In 2016 WEF published an article in which it is said, that in some cases reducing consumption can increase well-being. In the article is mentioned that in Costa Rica the GDP is 4 times smaller than in many countries in Western Europe and North America, but people live longer and better. An American study shows that those whose income is higher than $75,000, do not necessarily have an increase in well-being. To better measure well-being, the New Economics Foundation's launched the Happy Planet Index. In January 2017, WEF launched the 'Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy' (PACE), which is a global public private partnership seeking to scale circular economy innovations. PACE is co-chaired by Frans van Houten (CEO of Philips), Naoko Ishii (CEO of the Global Environment Facility, and the head of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the International Resource Panel, Circle Economy and Accenture serve as knowledge partners. The Forum emphasized its 'Environment and Natural Resource Security Initiative' for the 2017 meeting to achieve inclusive economic growth and sustainable practices for global industries. With increasing limitations on International trade, world trade through national interests and trade barriers, the WEF has moved towards a more sensitive and socially-minded approach for global businesses with a focus on the reduction of carbon emissions in China and other large industrial nations. Also in 2017, WEF launched the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for the Earth Initiative, a collaboration among WEF, Stanford University and Pwc, PwC, and funded through the Mava Foundation. In 2018, WEF announced that one project within this initiative was to be the Earth BioGenome Project, the aim of which is to sequence the genomes of every organism on Earth. The World Economic Forum is working to eliminate plastic pollution, stating that by the year 2050 it will consume 15% of the global Emissions budget, carbon budget and will pass by its weight fishes in the world's oceans. One of the methods is to achieve circular economy. The theme of the 2020 World Economic Forum annual meeting was 'Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World'. Climate change and sustainability were central themes of discussion. Many argued that GDP is failed to represent correctly the wellbeing and that fossil fuel subsidies should be stopped. Many of the participants said that a better capitalism is needed.
Al Gore Albert Arnold Gore Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Gore was Bill Clinton's running mate in their Bill Clinton presidential ...

Al Gore
summarized the ideas in the conference as: "The version of capitalism we have today in our world must be reformed". In this meeting the World Economic Forum: * Launched the Trillion Tree Campaign an initiative aiming to "grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees over the next 10 years around the world - in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change". Donald Trump joined the initiative. The forum stated that: "Nature-based solutions – locking-up carbon in the world’s forests, grasslands and wetlands – can provide up to one-third of the emissions reductions required by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement targets," adding that the rest should come from the heavy industry, finance and transportation sectors. One of the targets is to unify existing reforestation projects * Discussed the issue of climate change and called to expanding renewable energy, efficient energy use, energy efficiency change the patterns of Resource consumption, consumption and remove carbon from the atmosphere. The forum claimed that the climate crisis will become a climate apocalypse if the temperature will rise by 2 degrees. The forum called to fulfill the commitments in Paris Agreement. Jennifer Morgan (Greenpeace executive), Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace, said that as to the beginning of the forum, fossil fuels still get three times more money than climate solutions. At the 2021 annual meeting UNFCCC launched the 'UN Race-to-Zero Emissions Breakthroughs'. The aim of the campaign is to transform 20 sectors of the economy in order to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions. At least 20% of each sector should take specific measures, and 10 sectors should be transformed before COP 26 in Glasgow. According to the organizers, 20% is a tipping point, after which the whole sector begins to irreversibly change.


= Coronavirus and green recovery

= In April 2020, the forum published an article that postulates that the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to the destruction of nature. The number of emerging diseases is rising and this rise is linked to deforestation and species loss. In the article, there are multiple examples of the degradation of ecological systems caused by humans. It is also says that half of the global GDP is moderately or largely dependent on nature. The article concludes that the recovery from the pandemic should be linked to nature recovery. The forum proposed a plan for a green recovery. The plan includes advancing circular economy. Among the mentioned methods, there is green building, sustainable transport, organic farming, urban open space, renewable energy and electric vehicles.


Global Future Councils

The Network of Global Future Councils meets annually in the
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United Arab Emirates
and virtually several times a year. The second WEF annual meeting was held in Dubai in November 2017, when there were 35 distinct councils focused on a specific issue, industry or technology. In 2017 members met with representatives and partners of WEF's new Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Ideas and proposals are taken forward for further discussion at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January.


Global Shapers Community

The Global Shapers Community, an initiative of World Economic Forum, selects young leaders below 30 years old based on their achievement and potential to be change agents in the world. Global Shapers develop and lead their city-based hubs to implement social justice projects that advance the mission of World Economic Forum.


Future of Work

In regards to the Future of Work, the 2020 WEF set the goal of providing better jobs, access to higher quality education and skills to 1 billion people by 2030.


The Great Reset

In May 2020, the WEF and the Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince of Wales's Sustainable Markets Initiative launched "The Great Reset" project, a five-point plan to enhance sustainable economic growth following the global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. "The Great Reset" was to be the theme of WEF's Annual Meeting in August 2021. According to forum founder Schwab, the intention of the project is to reconsider the meaning of capitalism and capital. While not abandoning capitalism, he proposes to change and possibly move on from some aspects of it including neoliberalism, and free-market fundamentalism. The role of corporations, taxation and more should be reconsidered. International cooperation and trade should be defended and the Fourth Industrial Revolution also.


Criticism


Physical protests

During the late 1990s, the WEF, along with the G7, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund, came under heavy criticism by anti-globalization activists who claimed that capitalism and globalization were increasing poverty and destroying the environment. About ten thousand demonstrators disrupted a regional meeting of the World Economic Forum in Melbourne, obstructing the path of two hundred delegates to the meeting. Small demonstrations are held in Davos on most but not all years, organised by the local Green Party ''(see Anti-WEF protests in Switzerland, January 2003)'' to protest against what have been called the meetings of "fat cats in the snow", a tongue-in-cheek term used by rock singer Bono. After 2014, the physical protest movement against the World Economic Forum largely died down, and Swiss police noted a significant decline in attending protesters, 20 at most during the meeting in 2016. While protesters are still more numerous in large Swiss cities, the protest movement itself has undergone significant change. Around 150 Tibetan people, Tibetans and Uyghurs, Uighurs protested in
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Geneva
and 400 Tibetans in
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against the visit of China's paramount leader
Xi Jinping Xi Jinping ( ; , ; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (China), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (Chin ...

Xi Jinping
for the 2017 meeting, with subsequent confrontations and arrests.


Growing gaps in wealth

A number of NGOs have used the World Economic Forum to highlight growing inequalities and wealth gaps, which they consider not to be addressed extensively enough or even to be fortified through institutions like the WEF. Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of the anti-poverty confederation Oxfam International co-chaired the 2015 meeting, where she presented a critical report of global wealth distribution based on statistical research by the Credit Suisse, Credit Suisse Research Institute. In this study, the richest one percent of people in the world own forty-eight percent of the world's wealth. At the 2019 meeting, she presented another report claiming that the gap between rich and poor has only increased. The report "Public Good or Private Wealth" stated that 2,200 billionaires worldwide saw their wealth grow by 12 percent while the poorest half saw its wealth fall by 11 percent. Oxfam calls for a global tax overhaul to increase and harmonise global tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals.


Formation of a detached elite

The formation of a detached elite, which is often co-labelled through the neologism "Davos Man", refers to a global group whose members view themselves as completely "international". The term refers to people who "have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the élite's global operations" according to political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, who is credited with inventing the neologism. In his 2004 article "Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite", Huntington argues that this international perspective is a minority elitist position not shared by the nationalist majority of the people. The Transnational Institute describes the World Economic Forum's main purpose as being "to function as a socializing institution for the emerging global elite, globalization's "Mafiocracy" of bankers, industrialists, oligarchs, technocrats and politicians. They promote common ideas, and serve common interests: their own." In 2019, the ''Manager Magazin'' journalist Henrik Müller argued that the "Davos Man" had already decayed into different groups and camps. He sees three central drivers for this development: * Ideologically: the liberal western model is no longer considered a universal role model that other countries strive for (with China's digital totalitarianism or the traditional absolutism in the Persian Gulf as counter-proposals, all of which are represented by government members in Davos). * Socially: societies increasingly disintegrate into different groups, each of which evokes its own identity (e.g. embodied through the Brexit vote or congressional blockades in the USA). * Economically: the measured economic reality largely contradicts the established ideas of how the economy should actually work (despite economic upswings, wages and prices e.g. barely rise).


Public cost of security

Critics argue that the WEF, despite having reserves of several hundred million Swiss francs and paying its executives salaries of around 1 million Swiss francs per year, would not pay any federal tax and moreover allocate a part of its costs to the public. Following massive criticism from politicians and the Swiss civil society, the Swiss federal government decided in February 2021 to reduce its annual contributions to the WEF. As of 2018, the police and military expenditures carried by the Federal Government stood at 39 million Swiss francs. The ''Aargauer Zeitung'' argued in January 2020 that the additional cost borne by the Kanton Graubünden stand at CHF 9 million per year. The Swiss Green Party summarised their criticism within the Swiss National Council that the holding of the World Economic Forum has cost Swiss taxpayers hundreds of millions of Swiss francs over the past decades. In their view, it was however questionable to what extent the Swiss population or global community benefit from these expenditures.


Gender debate

Females have been broadly underrepresented at the WEF, according to some critics. The female participation rate at the WEF increased from 9% to 15% between 2001 and 2005. In 2016, 18% of the WEF attendees were female; this number increased to 21% in 2017, and 24% in 2020. Several women have since shared their personal impressions of the Davos meetings in media articles, highlighting that issues were more profound than "a quota at Davos for female leaders or a session on diversity and inclusion". The World Economic Forum has in this context filed legal complaints against at least three investigative articles by reporters Katie Gibbons and Billy Kenber that were published by the British newspaper ''The Times'' in March 2020.


Undemocratic decision making

According to the European Parliament's Think Tank, critics see the WEF as an instrument for political and business leaders to "take decisions without having to account to their electorate or shareholders". Since 2009, the WEF has been working on a project called the Global Redesign Initiative (GRI), which proposes a transition away from intergovernmental decision-making towards a system of multi-stakeholder governance. According to the Transnational Institute, Transnational Institute (TNI), the Forum is hence planning to replace a recognised democratic model with a model where a self-selected group of "stakeholders" make decisions on behalf of the people. Some critics have seen the WEFs attention to goals like environmental protection and social entrepreneurship as mere window dressing to disguise its true plutocracy, plutocratic nature and goals. In a ''The Guardian, Guardian'' opinion piece, Cas Mudde said that such plutocrats should not be the group to have control over the political agendas and decide which issues to focus on and how to support them. A writer in the German magazine ''Cicero (magazine), Cicero'' saw the situation as academic, cultural, media and economic elites grasping for social power while disregarding political decision processes. A materially well-endowed milieu would in this context try to "cement its dominance of opinion and sedate ordinary people with maternalistic-paternalistic social benefits, so that they are not disturbed by the common people when they steer". The French ''Les Echos (France), Les Echos'' furthermore concludes that Davos "represents the exact values people rejected at the ballot box".


Lack of financial transparency

In 2017, the former ''Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung'' journalist Jürgen Dunsch criticized that financial reports of the WEF were not very transparent since neither income nor expenditures were broken down. In addition, he outlined that the foundation capital was not quantified while the apparently not insignificant profits would be reinvested. Recent annual reports published by the WEF include a more detailed breakdown of its financials and indicate revenues of CHF 349 million for the year 2019 with reserves of CHF 310 million and a foundation capital of CHF 34 million. There are no further details provided to what asset classes or individual names the WEF allocates its financial assets of CHF 261 million. The German newspaper ''Süddeutsche Zeitung'' criticised in this context that the WEF had turned into a "money printing machine", which is run like a family business and forms a comfortable way to make a living for its key personnel. The foundation's founder Klaus Schwab draws a salary of around one million Swiss francs per year.


Unclear selection criteria

In a request to the National Council (Switzerland), Swiss National Council, the Swiss Green Party criticised that invitations to the annual meeting and programmes of the World Economic Forum are issued according to unclear criteria. They highlight that "despots" such as the son of the former Libyan dictator Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi had been invited to the WEF and even awarded membership in the club of "Young Global Leaders". Even after the beginning of the Arab spring in December 2010 and related violent uprisings against despot regimes, the WEF continued to invite Gaddafi to its annual meeting.


Environmental footprint of annual meetings

Critics emphasise that the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is counterproductive when combating pressing problems of humanity such as the climate crisis. Even in 2020, participants travelled to the WEF annual meeting in Davos on around 1,300 private jets while the total emissions burden from transport and accommodation were enormous in their view.


Corporate capture of global and democratic institutions

The World Economic Forum's "Global Redesign" report suggests to create "public-private" United Nations (UN) in which selected agencies operate and steer global agendas under shared governance systems. It says that a globalised world is probably best managed by a coalition of
multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporation, corporate organization that owns and controls the production of goods or services in at least one country other than its home country. Control is considered an important aspect of an MNC, to distingui ...
s,
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
s and civil society organizations (CSOs), which it expresses through initiatives like the "Great Reset" and the "Global Redesign". In September 2019, more than 400 civil society organizations and 40 international networks heavily criticised a partnership agreement between WEF and the United Nations and called on the UN Secretary-General to end it. They see such an agreement as a "disturbing corporate capture of the UN, which moved the world dangerously towards a privatised global governance". The Dutch Transnational Institute think tank summarises that we are increasingly entering a world where gatherings such as Davos are "a silent global coup d'etat" to capture governance. In December 2021, the Dutch government published its past correspondence with representatives of the World Economic Forum, showing extensive influence of the WEF on matters of Dutch policy. The documents, which among others called for the Netherlands to take the lead in implementing the Great Reset, were officially made available by the Dutch government.


Non-accreditation of critical media outlets

In 2019, the Swiss newspaper ''WOZ Die Wochenzeitung, WOZ'' received a refusal of its accreditation request for the Annual Meeting with the editors and subsequently accused the World Economic Forum of favoring specific media outlets. The newspaper highlighted that the WEF stated in its refusal message that it [the Forum] prefers media outlets it works with throughout the year. ''WOZ'' deputy head Yves Wegelin called this a strange idea of journalism because in "journalism you don't necessarily have to work with large corporations, but rather critique them". Michael Burkard, secretary general of the Swiss journalists' professional association "Impressum", criticised the WEF's decision as "highly disturbing". He sees the risk that other companies operating in exposed areas will copy this strategy and deny critical journalists access to their general meetings or other information events, should the WEF get away with this strategy.


Institutional initiatives

In addition to economic policy, the WEF's agenda is in recent years increasingly focusing on positively connotated activist topics such as environmental protection and social entrepreneurship, which critics see as a strategy to disguise the organisation's true plutocracy, plutocratic goals. In a December 2020 article by ''The Intercept'', author Naomi Klein described that the WEF's initiatives like the "Great Reset" were simply a "coronavirus-themed rebranding" of things that the WEF was already doing and that it was an attempt by the rich to make themselves look good. In her opinion, "the Great Reset is merely the latest edition of this gilded tradition, barely distinguishable from earlier Davos Big Ideas. Similarly, in his review of ''COVID-19: The Great Reset'', ethicist Steven Umbrello makes parallel critiques of the agenda. He says that the WEF "whitewash[es] a seemingly optimistic future post-Great Reset with buzz words like equity and sustainability" while it functionally jeopardizes those goals. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research investigated the sociological impact of the WEF. It concluded that the WEF do not solve issues such as poverty, global warming, chronic illness, or debt. The Forum has, according to the study, simply shifted the burden for the solution of these problems from governments and business to "responsible consumers subjects: the green consumer, the health-conscious consumer, and the financially literate consumer."


Appropriation of global crises

In December 2021, the Catholic Cardinal and former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) Gerhard Ludwig Müller criticised in a controversial interview that people like WEF founder Schwab were sitting "on the throne of their wealth" and were not touched by the everyday difficulties and sufferings people face e.g. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, such elites would see crises as an opportunity to push through their agendas. He particularly criticised the control such people would plan exercise on people and their embracement of areas such as transhumanism. The Central Council of Jews in Germany, German Central Council of Jews condemned this criticism, which is also linked to Jewish financial investors, as anti-Semitic.


Controversies


Controversy with Davos municipality

In June 2021, WEF founder Klaus Schwab sharply criticised what he characterized as the "profiteering", "complacency" and "lack of commitment" by the municipality of Davos in relation to the annual meeting. He mentioned that the preparation of the COVID-related meeting in Singapore in 2021/2022 had created an alternative to its Swiss host and sees the chance that the annual meeting will stay in Davos between 40 and 70 per cent.


Controversy on usage of Davos name

As there are many other international conferences nicknamed with "Davos" such as the "Davos of the Desert" event organised by Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative Institute, the World Economic Forum objected to the use of "Davos" in such contexts for any event not organised by them. This particular statement was issued on 22 October 2018, a day before the opening of 2018 Future Investment Initiative (nicknamed "Davos in the desert") organised by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.


Alternatives


Open Forum Davos

Since the annual meeting in January 2003 in Davos, an ''Open Forum Davos'', which was co-organized by the Swiss Reformed Church, Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, is held concurrently with the Davos forum, opening up the debate about globalization to the general public. The Open Forum has been held in the local high school every year, featuring top politicians and business leaders. It is open to all members of the public free of charge.


Public Eye Awards

The Public Eye Awards have been held every year since 2000. It is a counter-event to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Public Eye Awards is a public competition of the worst corporations in the world. In 2011, more than 50,000 people voted for companies that acted irresponsibly. At a ceremony at a Davos hotel, the "winners" in 2011 were named as Indonesian palm oil diesel maker, Neste Oil in Finland, and mining company AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa. According to Schweiz aktuell broadcast on 16 January 2015, a public presence during the WEF 2015, may not be guaranteed because the massively increased security in Davos. The Public Eye Award will be awarded for the last time in Davos: ''Public Eyes says Goodbye to Davos'', confirmed by Rolf Marugg (now ''Landrats'' politician), by not directly engaged politicians, and by the police responsible.Gianluca Galgani: WEF ohne Kritiker
. Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, 16 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2015.


See also

* Bilderberg meeting * Event 201 * World Youth Forum * 2009 Davos incident * Asian Leadership Conference * Boao Forum for Asia * Davos process * Eurofi * European Business Summit * Horasis * International Transport Forum * Istanbul World Political Forum * St. Petersburg International Economic Forum * World Knowledge Forum


References


Sources

* David Bornstein (author), Bornstein, David (2007). ''How to Change the World – Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas''. Oxford University Press (New York City). . 358 pages. * Barbara Kellerman (academic), Kellerman, Barbara (1999). ''Reinventing Leadership – Making the Connection Between Politics and Business''. State University of New York Press (Albany, New York). . 268 pages. * Mike Moore (New Zealand politician), Moore, Mike (2003). ''A World Without Walls – Freedom, Development, Free Trade and Global Governance''. Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England; New York City). . 292 pages. * Geoffrey Allen Pigman, Pigman, Geoffrey Allen (2007). ''The World Economic Forum – A Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Global Governance''. Routledge (London, England; New York City). . 175 pages. * David Rothkopf, Rothkopf, David J. (2008). ''Superclass – The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making''. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York City). . 376 pages. * Klaus Schwab, Schwab, Klaus M.; Hein Kroos, Kroos, Hein (1971). ''Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau''. Verein Dt. Maschinenbau-Anst. e.V. Maschinenbau-Verl (Frankfurt om Main, Germany). . * Michael Wolf (economist), Wolf, Michael (1999). ''The Entertainment Economy – How Mega-Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives''. Random House (New York City). . 336 pages.
"Behind the Scenes at Davos"
broadcast 14 February 2010 on ''60 Minutes''
´How to Open the World Economic Forum´ – Matthias Lüfkens in Interview with 99FACES.tv

"Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World"
launched May 2010, Doha, Qatar


External links


WEF Board of Trustees
* *
"Klaus Schwab and Prince Charles on why we need a Great Reset"
at World Economic Forum * Klaus Schwab i
"A Conversation with Henry Kissinger on the World in 2017"
at World Economic Forum {{Authority control World Economic Forum 1971 in economics 1971 establishments in Switzerland Advocacy groups Davos Foundations based in Switzerland Organisations based in Geneva Organizations established in 1971 Global economic conferences Lobbying organizations