|DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 25JAN09 - Aerial photo of Davos, the biggest tourism metropolis of the Swiss alps, captured shortly before the opening of the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday, January 25, 2009. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Andy Mettler|
The World Economic Forum will hold its 39th Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland this week. The overarching theme of the meeting, which will take place from Wednesday January 28th to Sunday February 1st, is Shaping the Post-Crisis World.
Over the course of the five-day meeting, more than 2,500 participants from 96 countries will convene in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, including a record 41 heads of state or government. Key finance, foreign affairs, trade and energy ministers will join heads of non-governmental organisations, social entrepreneurs and religious leaders at the Meeting. Around 60% of the participants are business leaders drawn principally from the Forum's members – 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across all economic sectors.
As well as looking at the immediate crisis and ways to stabilise and relaunch the global economy, the Annual Meeting programme also pinpoints a number of interrelated global risks including climate change, food and water security. The Meeting will also consider the institutions that the world needs to cooperate and confront global challenges and will look to improve the ethical value base for business as a constructive social actor.
Speaking at a press conference at the World Economic Forum’s headquarters in Geneva, Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab said last week: “The Annual Meeting 2009 is one of the most crucial in the near 40 year history of the World Economic Forum. The extraordinary participation in terms of political and business leaders and other stakeholders demonstrates that our Annual Meeting will be the place where key actors can address both a crisis of unprecedented scope and, at the same time, the sort of world we collectively want to see emerging once the crisis is over. What we are experiencing is the birth of a new era, a wake-up call to overhaul our institutions, our systems and, above all, our way of thinking.”
The WEF said the Meeting’s programme will follow six programmatic tracks that are high on the global agenda in 2009. These include Promoting Stability in the Financial System and Reviving Global Economic Growth; Ensuring Effective Global, Regional and National Governance for the Long Term; Addressing the Challenges of Sustainability and Development; Shaping the Values and Leadership Principles for a Post-Crisis World; Catalysing the Next Wave of Growth through Innovation, Science and Technology; and Understanding the Implications on Industry Business Models.
This year, in partnership with YouTube and MySpace, the World Economic Forum has launched on-line video forums (www.youtube.com/davos), (www.myspace.com/myspacejournal) with the aim of creating a broad dialogue with a wider public. Each of the social networks asked their members to respond to key questions drawn from the Annual Meeting programme.
Among the record number of world leaders taking part in the Annual Meeting, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will address participants on the opening day. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany, Germany; Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister; and Premier Taro Aso of Japan will also address sessions of the Meeting. Public figures include 41 heads of state and government, 17 ministers of finance, 19 central bankers, 22 trade ministers, 16 ministers of foreign affairs, 15 ministers of environment and energy, 9 EU commissioners and the heads of 30 international organisations.
New York Governor David Patterson will also be at Davos. His handling of the filling of Hillary Clinton's US Senate seat, has drawn a torrent of criticism.
The New York Daily News comments today:'His continued travels around the world have further raised eyebrows - especially his decision to go to ski-mecca Davos, Switzerland, this week for an economic conference - when he's calling for $1.7 billion in budget cuts, some by Feb. 1.
"If the guy doesn't want to be considered an accidental governor, he should stop acting like one," said a Democratic lawmaker. "He doesn't command respect. A lot of people believe he won't be around past next year."'
The fired former Merrill Lynch boss John Thain, will miss Davos this year.
Thainwho took a salary, bonus and benefits worth $83 million in 2007 from the New York Stock Exchange and had the best-paid chauffeur in New York, who took home an annual $230,000, was reported to have irritated Bank of America's chief Ken Lewis for insisting on going ahead with a visit to Davos, even though the bank had banned such trips. There were also much bigger irritants that prompted Thain's firing and the Goldman Sachs alumni can watch the Davos proceedings from any one of his five homes – an apartment on Park Avenue, a ten-acre estate adjoining Westchester Country Club and properties in Rye and Harrison, New York as well as one at the upmarket ski resort in Vail, Colorado. The London Times says his new office fittings at Merrill Lynch, included an $87,784 rug, the same amount for two chairs and, for all those crossings out and downward profit revisions, a $1,405 waste paper basket. All-in all, not bad loot for a hired hand of 53, who never had to bother with the risk and hassle of setting up a business himself!