World Economic Forum (WEF)

World Economic Forum (WEF) is a non-profit organisation that was founded in January 1971. WEF is based in Cologny-Geneva, Switzerland and was formed with an initiative to improve the states of the world. This organisation was formerly known as the European Management Forum. 

World Economic Forum is an important topic for the IAS Exam. IAS aspirants can also download the notes PDF at the end of this article.

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Background of WEF

Formerly known as the European Management Forum, the World Economic Forum (WEF) was founded by Klaus Schwab in the year 1971. The organisation changed its name to the World Economic Forum in the year 1987 with a vision to provide a platform for resolving international conflicts. During the year 1971, Klaus Schwab invited 444 executives from Western European firms to attend the first European Management Symposium that was held in the Davos Congress Centre.

This meeting was held under the European Commission and European industrial associations with an aim to introduce the European firms to American management practices. Later, Klaus Schwab founded the World Economic Fund as a nonprofit organization and conducted the annual meetings each January to draw European business leaders to Davos.

To know more in detail about the European Union, visit the linked article

This annual meeting gave the political leaders a platform to promote their interests. Recently, in the year 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attended the annual meeting at Davos and addressed the economic policies of Brazil. He assured that Brazil will be the protector of the rainforest and also a resource for food production and export. Environmental concerns like extreme weather events and the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation were among the top-ranking global risks expressed by WEF attendees.

To know more about the World Economic Forum (WEF) refer to the table given below:

World Economic Forum (WEF)
Year of Formation 1971
Founder of WEF Klaus Schwab
WEF Headquarters  Cologny, Switzerland
Purpose of Formation International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation

WEF and India

Soon several countries joined the organisation with an aim to improve the states of the world. In the year 2018, PM Narendra Modi attended the annual meeting at Davos as the first head of state from India. He gave a plenary speech addressing three major global issues faced by India. These challenges included global warming (climate change), terrorism and protectionism. 

Structure of the World Economic Forum (WEF)

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is headquartered in Cologny, Switzerland and also has its offices in New York, Beijing and Tokyo. As per the Swiss Host-State Act, WEF was designated as an NGO with ‘other international body’ status by the Swiss Federal Government.  A new centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution was announced by the WEF on October 10, 2016, which will provide a platform for interaction, insight and impact on the scientific and technological changes that will soon change the way we live, work and relate to one another.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is also funded by 1,000 member companies that are global enterprises having more than five billion dollars in turnover. These enterprises have a leading role to play and rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country. 

Initiatives under the World Economic Forum (WEF)

Some of the initiatives that were taken as a part of the World Economic Forum are discussed below: 

  • A global initiative for epidemics was launched at WEF in Davos on 19 January 2017. This initiative was named Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which aims to secure vaccine supplies for global emergencies and pandemics and to research new vaccines for tropical diseases. 
  • Also in the year 2017, WEF launched the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for the Earth Initiative which is a collaboration between WEF, Stanford University and PwC. The initiative is funded through the Mava Foundation and in 2018, WEF announced that one project within this initiative was to be the Earth BioGenome Project with an aim to sequence the genomes of every organism on Earth. 

World Economic Forum (WEF):- Download PDF Here

You can know more about the topics asked in the exam by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page and also refer to the links given below for more articles.

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