The WEF process marks a departure from the post-WWII planning process. 1 Whereas the 1940s process was government-led, the WEF process is a government/corporate hybrid undertaking with the corporate side in the driver’s seat. While the post-WWII planning process was driven by the major concerns to avoid a repetition of WWII and the Great Depression, the WEF's starting point was solely in the economic sphere, not as a reaction to military engagements in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The WEF took on the task of opening up a dialogue on the next phase of global governance with enthusiasm. The World Economic Forum secured the necessary financing for this undertaking from the Governments of Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland, and Tanzania. It invited various specialized Davos-sponsored bodies, notably their Industry Partners, Young Global Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs sub-groups, to propose ideas. 2 They convened regional summits during 2009 and sponsored three country hearings 3 on global and regional governance. All the while, WEF coordinated some 60 crisis-defined expert panels to come up with specific, thematically focused recommendations. 4 The expert panels involved more than 700 experts completed their work in the fall of 2009. The final report was released in Doha on May 30-31, 2010. 5 The World Economic Forum estimated that one-third of the 1500 participants in the process were from the private sector. 6 WEF made the Global Redesign Initiative 7 a significant theme of the 2010 and 2011 Annual Meetings in Davos. The annual Davos retreat and WEF's various regional meetings provided an opportunity to “test [ideas] with ministers, CEOs, heads of NGOs and trade unions, leading academics and other members of the Davos community.” 8
For the 2012 Annual retreat, the World Economic Forum released their seventh edition of Global Risks. 9 In their measured Global Risk Landscape, the three most likely events were chronic fiscal imbalances, severe income inequality, and rising greenhouse gas emissions; the three most serious identified impact events were major systemic financial failure, the water supply crisis, and food shortage crisis. Reflecting this risk assessment, the agenda of the 2012 meeting included a continuing discussion about global governance and its many interrelated themes.
The Readers' Guide welcomes comments with alternative examples or counter examples and commentary – critical or otherwise – of the above interpretation of the context of GRI project.