The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
It was founded in 1971 by Klaus M Schwab, a business professor in Switzerland and is based in Geneva.
The World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. The Forum is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Government.
The World Economic Forum holds between five and ten regional meetings per year, enabling close contact between corporate business leaders, local government leaders and NGOs. The mix of regions varies from year to year, but the meetings in Africa, China and India have been held consistently over the past decade.
Some of its major achievements
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.
2006: Trade officials meeting at the Annual Meeting 2006 agree to accelerate talks to achieve a world trade deal. Some 25 trade ministers agreed to move on all key issues - agriculture, services and manufacturing - at the same time.
• The Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis (2006-2015) is launched by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Bill Gates at the Annual Meeting 2006. The project - a coalition of over 400 organizations – aims to treat 50 million people and prevent 14 million tuberculosis deaths worldwide over the next ten years.
• The Annual Meeting 2006 gives sports leaders a voice. They presented their ideas on sport as a personal and social development tool, and called for new efforts to increase the impact of sport on society. Press release.
2005: The World Economic Forum works closely with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, to set his G-8 policy priorities of poverty alleviation in Africa and climate change. The Annual Meeting 2005 served as a platform for Mr Blair to launch his G-8 agenda.
• An advisory board created and led by the World Economic Forum helps shape Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair’s G-8 climate change agenda. The board, consisting of 24 global company chiefs, presented to G-8 leaders at their annual summit a statement calling on governments to establish ‘’clear, transparent and consistent price signals’’ through the creation of a long-term policy framework that includes all major emitters of greenhouse gases.
• Over 350 business leaders at the World Economic Forum’s Africa Economic Summit sign a declaration endorsing the Commission for Africa’s recommendations for the multibillion dollar aid plan. The letter was presented to G-8 leaders at their annual summit.
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 the future of prosperity and security in the Middle East.
• A region-wide US-Middle East Free Trade Zone is launched to open trade with the US and between 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.
• 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.
• Additionally, 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.
• 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 FW de Klerk meets 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.