Finding an answer on how to rebuild the public’s trust in political institutions and business companies is the main challenge of the 2003 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
This year's World Economic Forum meeting (from 23-28 January in Davos) will bring together thousands of business executives, academics and political leaders to discuss the theme of building trust in institutions, companies and NGOs. A preparatory survey of 36,000 people, organised by Gallup International and Environics International, showed a dramatic lack of trust by the general public in democratic institutions (parliaments and governments), as well as in global and national companies. The survey showed that the public has the highest trust in the armed forces, NGOs and the United Nations.
The alarming figures confirm a similar survey published in 2002 by Edelman PR Worldwide and Strategy One. The Edelman report concluded that NGOs had strengthened their brands and earned "a seat at the table". It urged businesses to engage in more communication with stakeholders "with speed, dexterity, transparency, and interactivity".
The Davos Summit will be meeting under very high security measures. More than 9.6 million euros have been foreseen to secure the safety of the participants. Several EU Commissioners will be attending the meeting.
At the same time as the Davos Summit, the yearly World Social Forum is organised in Porto Alegre Brazil as the anti-capitalist counterpart to the Swiss meetings. The Porto Alegre summit aims to promote alternatives to the current economic and world system under the motto "Another world is possible". A second anti-WEF is held simultaneously in Davos from 23-27 January. This fourth international conference "Public Eye on Davos" will be opened by Oscar Lafontaine, the former German finance minister, with a speech on the social and environmental responsibilities of big business.