1 of 2 | The logo of the World Economic Forum is pictured on a window of the Congress Center in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday at the start of 53rd annual meeting of the WEF. Photo by Laurent Gillieron/EPA-EFE
Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The annual World Economic Forum got underway in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday as thousands of world leaders gathered under the theme "cooperation in a fragmented world."
The theme is a nod to multiple geopolitical crises currently gripping the planet, most-notably Russia's war in Ukraine, which is entering its second year.
"So much is at stake we really need to find solutions on the wars and conflicts. We also have to secure that we don't go into recession and we have ten years of low growth as we had in the 1970s," World Economic Forum President Børge Brende said during Monday's opening ceremony.
More than 2,700 leaders from 130 countries are now in the resort town in the Swiss Alps for the latest edition of the week-long summit, where discussions focused on climate change are expected to dominate the program. The WEF was founded in Geneva in 1971.
The program itself features five key pillars. They include addressing the current energy and food crises and high-inflation, low-growth, high-debt economy, as well as a new system for harnessing frontier technologies, current social vulnerabilities and a discussion on current geopolitical risks.
"The richest 1% grabbed two-thirds of all new wealth since 2020. So that's double, almost double, what 99% of humanity had in terms of new wealth during that time," Oxfam International Executive Director Gabriela Bucher said in a statement.
More than 50 finance ministers, 19 central bank heads, 30 trade ministers, and 35 foreign ministers are also attending the meeting.
Joining the politicians and bureaucrats are more than 1,500 business leaders and 90 innovators -- the forum's largest-ever such contingent.
The presence of industry leaders at the event is stoking fears of "greenwashing" among climate activists.
"Oil and gas CEOs are invited into the forum to greenwash their businesses," Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate told reporters in the days leading up to the conference. "It's not hard to be cynical about the prospects for climate justice after spending a week there."
Those sentiments are expected to be front-and-center among environmentalists at Davos this week. Hundreds of such activists are expected to protest against global companies attending the summit.
Swiss authorities tightened security but have cautioned that demonstrators could attempt to block the main highway leading to Davos. Thousands of additional security personnel are on the ground in the town, setting up checkpoints on routes into the resort town, and restricting traffic on certain roads in the center, officials said.