Switzerland hosts the world’s élite, global leaders, corporate leaders, scholars, and civil society meetings on an annual basis via World Economic Forum. This year’s World Economic Forum was the 50th anniversary of the platformsse, so how was the yearly event, and what effect does this have?

What is the importance of Davos?

Davos is the Swiss mountain resort famous for the annual meetings of the World Economic Forum. The forum contains over 1.000 of the world’s biggest corporations and involves several thousand corporate and political members. It is a non-governmental organization.

Klaus Schwab founded the World Economic Forum 1971, a German economist, as the European Management Forum, to support better management by taking more critical players – including employees or governments – into account in European businesses.

Later, it was broadened as a dialog forum and was started to be called by its current name, World Economic Forum in 1987, and in 2015 was recognized as an international platform. At the four-day event, which began on 21 January, there were at least 600 public speakers this year.

There are six access levels, distinguished by a participant badge’s color. White is the highest and offers access to most activities and talk; orange is for media, gray is for partners, and the lowest read simply a “hotel badge,” so you won’t go to any of the activities.

What is the role of the World Economic Forum?

Traditionally, the participants debated economic problems, and the forum has also been discussing broader global concerns for the past three decades. Leaders from China, India, and Brazil have participated in the forum in recent years.

There’s another theme every year. Prosperous development is the theme for 2020 under the slogan ” Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.” This year’s priorities include tackling climate change and biodiversity, reducing long-term debt, preventing a ‘technological war,’ inspiring a billion eligible people over the next ten years, and building bridges in global hotspot dispute resolution.

The event has also been a forum for international speeches and negotiations. In 1988 an agreement was signed by Greece and Turkey prohibiting the countries from going to war. In 1992, at their first visit outside South Africa, Nelson Mandela met the South African President, Frederik de Klerk.

How do the critics react to the World Economic Forum?

To critics, Davos seems like an elitist forum meant to business leaders as a networking platform. The World Economic Forum has argued that many participants come from NGOs. Numerous human rights groups attend the conference, and since 2014 the non-profit group Oxfam International has been releasing an annual report on injustice and global poverty.

In 2018 at least 82% of the world’s wealth exceeded the world’s wealthiest 1 % of the population, the international poverty-focused organization said. The organization shows that extreme inequalities must come to an end.