The Annual Meeting 2006 is characterized by the quality of its business participation. This year 735 of the 2,340 participants are chief executives or chairmen – the highest ever since the World Economic Forum was launched in 1971. The participants will address this year’s overall theme “The Creative Imperative”.175 public figures, including 15 heads of state or government, 60 cabinet ministers, 21 ambassadors, and 65 heads or senior officials of international organizationsmore than 490 participants from civil society including:
The clear emphasis of the five-day meeting is on human imagination, innovation and the creativity necessary to address the major challenges the world is facing. Participants will kick off the meeting with “The Big Debate”, an interactive town hall-style plenary session designed to thrash out the five sub-themes of the Annual Meeting, which range from “The Emergence of China and India” and “The Changing Economic Landscape” to “New Mindsets and Changing Attitudes”, “Creating Future Jobs” and “Regional Identities and Struggles”.
Most of the 244 sessions, workshops, panel discussions, lunches and dinners, will be interactive to foster collaborative approaches to resolving issues. As such, the Annual Meeting is not a conference in the traditional sense, but the flagship of the Forum's larger set of activities – including regional meetings, task forces and initiatives – that engage top leaders from business, politics, religious groups and non-governmental organizations to shape the global, regional and industry agendas.
This year a quarter of the sessions are broadcast – often live – on Swiss television and major international channels, and also webcast – live or taped – on the World Economic Forum’s website. For the first time, a dozen key debates can also be downloaded as podcasts or audioblogs. In an effort to open up the discussions, every single participant has been asked to post a blog on the Forum blog at www.forumblog.org
Facts and Figures
Over the course of the five-day Meeting, over 2,340 participants from 89 countries will gather in Davos. Around 50% are business leaders, drawn principally from the Forum's members – 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across economic sectors.
This year more than 735 chairmen and CEOs from the world’s leading companies are participating. More than 132 companies from the Fortune 500 and 94 from the FT Most Trusted companies are actively taking part.
Other major categories of participants from around the world include:
- 31 heads of non-governmental organizations
- 13 union leaders
- 154 leaders from academic institutions and think tanks
- 272 media leaders and fellows23 religious leaders of different faiths233 reporters from the world’s leading media organizations.
To realize its vision of being a catalyst for action in the public interest, the World Economic Forum organizes issue-specific task forces and initiatives devoted to developing new solutions, expanding common ground among different stakeholders, or mobilizing additional effort on important problems. Developments on the following initiatives will be announced at this World Economic Forum Annual Meeting:
Global Health Initiative
The goal of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) is to facilitate and stimulate greater business engagement in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. To achieve this goal, the Global Health Initiative works closely with the World Economic Forum's member companies as well as UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria and the World Health Organization's Stop TB and Roll Back Malaria partnerships. A broad range of NGOs and other members of civil society, as well as governments, have also joined the efforts of the Global Health Initiative. The GHI provides a unique platform for dialogue, partnership and action on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria involving both the private and the public sectors. It coordinates a community of more than 230 companies that confront similar fundamental health challenges to their operations. In particular, the Global Health Initiative provides a forum to share experiences, to define generally accepted standards and to act as an advocate for the private sector.
Disaster Resource Network
The Disaster Resource Network (DRN) is a Swiss-registered, non-profit foundation with the mission of helping to mobilize the resources of the international business community for the benefit of individuals affected by disaster. The Disaster Resource Network makes it easier for businesses to donate talent, in-kind goods or financial support to disaster relief and recovery operations in developing countries, and to ensure that their help is delivered in a coordinated, effective and transparent manner. The Disaster Resource Network was instrumental in providing more than 6 million Swiss francs of support to the people of Pakistan and India after the recent South Asia earthquake.
Global Education Initiative
Business leaders at the Annual Meeting 2003 launched an ambitious initiative aimed at advancing education through new collaborative sustainable models of public-private partnership (PPP). As a result, the Jordan Education Initiative was launched in the summer of 2003. Since then, similar ground-breaking initiatives have been launched in the Palestinian Territories (2005) and Rajasthan (2005) and encouraging discussions are under way to establish an Egyptian Initiative. This year, we will celebrate the progress, discuss the lessons learned, and share the vision and plans for the future of education reform in these countries and other regions around the world.
Global Governance Initiative
The Global Governance Initiative monitors the efforts of governments, the private sector, international organizations and civil society to meet the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration related to poverty and hunger, peace and security, health, education, the environment and human rights. This year's report finds that while global efforts to reach the goals improved on some fronts in 2005 – notably for poverty and hunger, peace and security, education and health – the environment and human rights actually lost ground. Overall, the Global Governance Initiative's report finds that the world is still investing less than half the effort needed to meet the Millennium Declaration goals, and world leaders must redouble their attempts to get efforts back on track to meet the goals by 2015.
Global Greenhouse Gas Register
The Global Greenhouse Gas Register, kicked off at the Annual Meeting 2004, now represents 16 global companies, constituting over 800 million tons of CO2-equivalent emissions per year – more than 5% of the world total. The aim is for the Register to work with partners to become the world’s pre-eminent repository for corporate "carbon footprints", while reducing the costs of fragmentation associated with companies preparing and disclosing information to different stakeholders.
Global Risk Network
The purpose of the Global Risk Network, a collaboration between the Forum and some of its strategic and academic partners, is to identify and assess current and emerging global risks; study the links between them and assess their likely effect on different markets and industries; and advance the thinking around more effective mitigation of global risks. At the Annual Meeting the Global Risk Network will release its Global Risks 2006 report.
Over the course of its 35-year history, the World Economic Forum has achieved a proud record of accomplishment in advancing progress on key issues of global concern. Among the highlights:
· 2005: The Annual Meeting 2005 highlights the themes of debt relief in Africa and poverty in Africa, central issues of Great Britain’s G-8 presidency. In addition, the Forum works closely with the G-8 presidency on global warming – setting up a business advisory council consisting of leading CEOs from Forum member companies.
· 2003: At the World Economic Forum’s Extraordinary Annual Meeting in Jordan, under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, the Arab Business Council is established in the aftermath of the war in Iraq to provide an important forum for shaping future prosperity and security in the Middle East.
· 2003: A regionwide US-Middle East Free Trade Zone is launched to open trade between the US and Arab nations. Consisting of more than 50 of the region’s top business leaders, the Council is set to create cooperative action among leading members of the Arab corporate sector to enhance the competitiveness of the Arab region and to facilitate its integration into the global economy.
· 2002: The Forum provides a platform for the creation of a Disaster Resource Network, leveraging engineering and transportation industry firms’ resources to assist with disaster relief efforts.
· 2002: The Annual Meeting 2002 serves as a platform for Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to announce the creation of a Canadian $500 million fund for Africa to support the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development through the implementation of the G-8 Africa Action Plan.
· 2002: The Gates Foundation announces a contribution of US$ 50 million for AIDS prevention in Africa, including US$ 20 million to fund the trial of a promising microbicide that could offer women a breakthrough in protection against HIV/AIDS.
· 2000: Recommendations from the Global Digital Divide Task Force are submitted to the G-8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit 2000; most of the proposals are adopted during the Summit and have become part of its final communiqué.
· 2000: At the Annual Meeting, World Health Organization Secretary-General Gro Harlem Brundtland announces a Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
· 1999: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announces the "Global Compact," to give "a human face to the global market" at the Forum's Annual Meeting.
· 1994: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat reach a draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho at the Annual Meeting in Davos.
· 1992: South African President F. W. de Klerk meets with Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the Annual Meeting, their first joint appearance outside South Africa and a milestone in the country's political transition.
· 1989: North and South Korea hold their first ministerial-level meetings at the Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos; at the same meeting, East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl meet to discuss German reunification.
· 1988: Greece and Turkey turn back from the brink of war by signing the "Davos Declaration" at the Forum's Annual Meeting.
1979: The Forum becomes the first non-governmental institution to initiate a partnership with China's economic development commissions, spurring economic reform policies in China