The World Economic Forum annual meeting begun in snow-smothered Davos with the World Council of Churches head urging the participants to renew its commitment to multilateral cooperation for the longer-term good of all people.
The Jan. 15-19 forum convened under the theme "Rebuilding Trust."
The event is frequently criticized as a talk show for global elites bu critics from the left and right of the political specturm.
WCC's Rev. Jerry Pillay reflected that trust is the essential ingredient without which human societies—and the global community—cannot function.
"However, in today's divided and increasingly conflictual world, it is a commodity in critically short supply," said Pillay.
"While some of those in attendance in Davos are themselves drivers of inequality, injustice, and division, we want to believe that many others are genuinely committed to exercising their considerable influence to promote a greater measure of justice and peace in the world."
The rich and powerful of the world are descending on the picturesque Swiss Alpine resort town of Davos for the WEF meeting.
The annual meeting is at a time of devastating wars in Gaza and Ukraine, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence that are causing as much excitement as worry, a catastrophic debt crisis amid an economic slowdown, and a deterioration in the health of the planet, DW.com reported.
"Bashing Davos is a piece of cake. As the super-rich jet into the Swiss ski resort this week to rub shoulders at the annual World Economic Forum, eyes will be rolling," Lucy Burton commented in The Telegraph newspaper based in London on Jan. 15.
"From the VIP partying to the private jets and the £32 hot dogs, mocking the 'Davos Man' hot-footing it around this 'schmoozathon' is all too easy. Money, power, greed – former shadow chancellor John McDonnell's Davos speech 'warning the global elite' in 2018 that their fun will soon be over must have written itself," wrote Buron.
She noted that the threat never came to pass and Davos is still going strong, with members of Britain's opposition Labour party saying the plan is to replace the memory of their member McDonnell attacking the rich and 'making a nuisance of himself' at the Swiss resort.
More than 2,800 participants expected to appear at the five-day event including more than 60 heads of state and government. The theme of this year's meeting of global political and business leaders, celebrities and prominent social activists is "Rebuilding Trust."
"The theme is a direct response to the erosion of trust that is evident in societies and among nations," WEF Managing Director Mirek Dusek said during a media briefing.
Rebuilding trust will be an essential precondition for progress, Pillay observed.
"Given the unprecedented constellation of global crises – especially of climate, conflict, and economic inequality – there is an urgent need for cooperation and action, rather than division and unconstructive competition," he said.
The WEF annual meeting gathers key decision-makers in the fields of politics, economics and business.
"The power of this gathering must be leveraged for rebuilding trust and the renewal of commitment to multilateral cooperation in facing these crises, not only in the short-term interests of a privileged few but for the longer-term good of all people and our common home," said Pillay.