Jan 26 (Reuters) - The world’s business and political elite will hold its annual meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos this week in the shadow of the global financial crisis.
Here are some key facts on the World Economic Forum:
— Over 2,500 participants from 96 countries will gather in Davos. Over 55 percent are business chiefs, drawn principally from the Forum’s Members and the 1,000 foremost companies from around the world and across economic sectors.
— Also attending are around 250 public figures, including 41 heads of state or government, 60 ministers, 30 heads or senior officials of international organizations and 10 ambassadors.
— Fifty heads or representatives of non-governmental organizations will also attend, as well as 225 media leaders, 215 figures from academic institutions and think tanks, 10 religious leaders of different faiths and 10 trade unionists.
— The World Economic Forum, founded in 1971 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.
1979 - The Forum becomes the first non-governmental institution to initiate a partnership with China’s economic development commissions.
1988 - Prime Ministers Andreas Papandreou of Greece and Turgut Ozal of Turkey embark on a peace initiative, setting up a crisis “hot-line” and vowing to avoid war.
1994 - Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat talk late into the night over the delayed Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho and one aide talked of “an atmosphere of compromise”.
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.
— Annan called on business leaders to set global labour, human rights and environmental standards and said, “We have to choose between a global market driven only by calculations of short-term profit, and one which has a human face.”
2001 - Microsoft Corp boss Bill Gates pledges $100 million to help develop an African AIDS vaccine which could be ready within five years.
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.
2005 - Actress Sharon Stone raises $1 million in five minutes for malaria at the Davos summit, while Britain’s Tony Blair shared a platform with rock star Bono and world’s richest man Bill Gates to pledge aid to Africa.
2006 - The international dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, militant attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria and Russia’s gas disputes with its neighbours raised the profile of energy supply security.
— Trade ministers from around the world said there was a new sense that progress had to be made on all outstanding issues relating to the so-called Doha round of talks, which aim to help poor nations out of poverty by lowering trade barriers.
— Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda unveiled a five-year, $10 billion fund to support efforts in developing countries to combat global warming.
— The Forum Member companies and the U.N. launched initiatives to facilitate broader and deeper private sector support of humanitarian relief operations.
— Some key ministers gave the Doha talks new impetus when they agreed at Davos, against a background of concern about the global economy, to meet later with a view to reaching a final trade deal that would add confidence by the end of 2008. Trade ministers did get close to a major breakthrough at a meeting in Geneva in July, but that effort collapsed over a farm trade dispute between the United States and India. (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;)